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Sketchbooks: What I've Been Drawing and How it Feeds my Paintings and Illustrations

Updated: 23 hours ago

How I get unstuck when I'm stuck for ideas to draw or in a rut.

This week I am talking about my sketchbooks, their importance and what I've been sketching recently.

They are really good for helping me move out of a rut or if I'm stuck for ideas. So let's take a look; what's so good about sketchbooks anyway?

Why Keep a Sketchbook Anyway?

Keeping a sketchbook handy is so useful to document and make note of images, words, colours, life that interest you. I often take my sketchbooks on holiday and draw the scenes that peak my interest. They help me process the world (like a visual notetaking kind of thing!) and I love diving back into my sketchbooks after a holiday and turning them into bigger illustrations.

I've not always been good at keeping sketchbooks and I know not everyone uses them. I'm still not regularly sketching, but when I do, I always feel much better for it! The ideas flood in and in the process off drawing one particular thing leads to other ideas and more drawings - sometimes they are related to the initial subject, sometimes they are off on a tangent! Some of my most recent sketches are currently being worked up into paintings! A lot of sketches inspire illustrations too.

Where to Sketch?

I draw wherever I can and I have sketchbooks everywhere. I have a sketchbook in my bag, one on the side of the sofa and a few on and around my desk! Most recently my drawings have been at my desk. I do love to draw outside though because it's so much more accurate than drawing from a photo that you take to sketch from later. I do take quick photos to draw from too sometimes. They're imperfect and I don't draw directly from them - it's more just to remind me of detail that I want to use in an illustration - movement, colour, shape, composition.

"Drawing Outside Feels Good. Here’s the maths:

The feeling of flow while drawing + The extra boost of being in the elements = Happy human!" – Helen Stephens

Drawing outside is a lot of fun and I recommend checking out Helen Stephens' #walktosee on Instagram. There is nothing like scribbling down what ya see while you're exploring outside.

Drawing from memory is also great. Sometimes I don't get to sketch outside but I see something I want to draw or a colour scheme I want to take note of. When I get home, I get my sketchbook out and draw what I can remember. Sometimes you might forget smaller details of what you saw, but what happens instead is that you remember the parts that were most important to you and there is a charm in that too.

So what have I been drawing recently?

I LOVE architecture especially when it's set in a beautiful landscape. Recently a house that I love that is nearby to us went up for sale. Unable to draw it from life, I chose the next best thing and looked up the details of the house online. I was able to draw views of the house that you can't see from the road which was great - that's where the best views are!! I soon ended up down a rabbit hole of looking at houses for sale in our local area and sketching gorgeous houses with beautiful gardens, with amazing views of the landscapes and some with overrun gardens as I went along.

Going to give it a go?

So that's why I love to sketch and if you're stuck for inspiration or motivation to get going, grab a sketchbook or some scrap paper (no need to be precious!), a pencil and draw whatever you fancy (don't think about it too much, even the view at your desk or out of your window will work just fine!). I promise you'll feel better for it! Even if I don't like what I've drawn, I always feel like I've moved passed the block.

I hope that's given you a little insight on how I generate new ideas or clear a creative block! To see more of my sketchbook pages, head to

I'll be back in a couple of weeks.

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