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Tips and Ideas for Filling a Sketchbook

Below is a list of various topics/themes/prompts/medium explorations to try out in your sketchbook.

  1. Every Day Matters Challenges by Danny Gregory, Over 300 mini assignments for sketchbooking:, such as:
    • 128 – Draw a view through a doorway from one interior room to another.
    • 122 – Draw something where shade is a prominent part of the subject
    • 14 – Draw what you see in the morning when you get up
    • 216 – Draw your inner critic
    • 311 – Draw something that you need two of to make a set
    • 232 – Draw the last thing you bought
  2. Draw a tree:
    • …inside a bounding box, drawing the negative spaces between the branches/leaves and coloring in the negative space.
    • …then fill it out as your family tree.
    • …then fill it out as your friend tree/circle.
    • …then use it to describe your thought process on a topic of your choice.
  3. Create a visual recipe by drawing how to make your favorite food without the use of words.
  4. Come up with a familiar subject/everyday item. In 3 stages, abstract this to create an unrecognizable object/image.
  5. Trace the outline of your hand:
    • ….then draw in all the features and wrinkles using colored pencil and/or pen.
    • (or your friends’ hands)…and write how you met them/where they are from/etc around or inside the hand.
  6. Google your least favorite food. Write down its nutrition content/ingredients/origin and describe its flavor, texture, etc. with small, diagrammatic drawings to illustrate.
  7. Draw a letter from your favorite typeface. Label the parts of the letterform.
  8. Go to the 3rd floor of the library and pick out a random book. Draw something related to what is on page 5, 37, or 59. If it is just text, read the text and sketch what it reminds you of.
  9. Draw your teeth in 3 different ways, mediums, or techniques.
  10. Draw a tattoo or clothing design you wish you had.
  11. Do rubbings of 3 different textures using various colored pencils/crayons. Then use black pencil or ink to turn one into a pattern by emphasizing certain areas.
  12. Search the digital library at The Sketchbook Project for a keyword(s) that come to mind, then do your own drawings based on the results.
  13. Go watch the NASA live stream views or still image gallery and do drawings based on what you see. OR

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