Fill your sketchbook with the contents of your cupboards

5 Ways to Fill Your Sketchbook


Filling an empty sketchbook with all new drawings doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Learn 5 tips to fill a new sketchbook page by page and remember that the drawing you make will always be better than the drawing you didn’t make at all. 

Buying a brand new sketchbook can feel so exciting. A new beginning! Something fresh! Bright white pages that will inspire you every time you open the sketchbook, pen in hand.

With art supplies at the ready, you open your empty sketchbook. But instead of feeling inspired, you feel overwhelmed by the blank pages that stare back at you. How will I ever fill all that

The key to completing a sketchbook is taking it page by page. Each drawing is a milestone and the joy is in the process, not the end result.

How to fill your sketchbook?

So how do you fill a sketchbook page by page? Here’s are my 5 tips to overcoming the overwhelm of a blank sketchbook.

Fill your empty sketchbook with a collection drawing
Art by Koosje Koene

1. Make a ‘collection’ page of everyday snippets

Capturing details instead of the big picture is such a great way to overcome the inner critic, feeling overwhelmed, or not knowing what to draw or where to begin. Instead of trying to fill a blank page with one drawing, fill it with small snippets. You can do it throughout your day, or come up with a collection of things to draw.

The things you eat in a day, the clothes you are wearing. 10 things from the pantry. Random things around the house. All the clutter you have cleaned up in a day…

Everything goes. All these snippets add up to a wonderful and fun visual story.

Details add a lot of life to an empty sketchbook.
Art by Koosje Koene

2. Look for details in a larger scene

Maybe drawing a whole scene is too intimidating, so look for just a small piece of the scene and start to draw that.

How do you draw a beach? Start by drawing a few shells. Capture your garden by drawing a single flower, or a few overlapping leaves, or the negative space made by fence posts.

Don't overthink the things around you as great subjects for your empty sketchbook page.
Art by Koosje Koene

3. Don’t overthink what to draw

What to draw? You can find the answer in everyday things: your keys, your wallet, the contents of your bag, a favorite coffee mug. All these very mundane things are actually very personal, and tell a little part of your story.

Don’t worry if the subject of your drawing is meaningful. By drawing it, you make it meaningful.

Fill an empty sketchbook
Art by Koosje Koene

4. Procrastinate on everything but making art

Draw the clutter instead of cleaning it up. Sit down, take a moment, look at it and draw it. 

Get out your crayons and sit next to the sink to draw the dirty dishes before washing them. Paint all the ingredients of the dish you’re about to prepare. Draw your desk before opening your email inbox. 

Draw your car instead of washing it. Draw every item on the grocery shopping list – you’ll have a much more fun shopping list once you are going to the store!

Fill an empty page of your sketchbook without overthinking
Art by Koosje Koene

5. Don’t be precious about your empty sketchbook

A sketchbook has many pages, so don’t be too precious about them. Sometimes you may feel hesitant to start a drawing, because what if you mess up?

Whenever I feel that way I tell myself the drawing that I make will always be better than the drawing I didn’t make at all.

And even more important: you then will have missed out on the enjoyable process of drawing. If you don’t love the result, just turn the page. On to the next drawing!

I have many more idea starters like these. And I’d love to spend a couple of hours with you to draw together and to share these ideas with you. Will you join me in the next live online workshop, Koosje’s Killer Sketchbook Filler?

5 Ways to Fill Your Sketchbook 1

4 mins

Stay up to date with the latest news from Sketchbook Skool!

Did you enjoy this blog post?  
It helps us a lot if you share it!
creative habits

How to Start

I could start with a humorous anecdote, maybe something self-deprecating —I’ve been doing a fair amount of that sort of self-flagellation lately. Maybe about the time I fell asleep in the library in college and was so embarrassed when I was awoken by another student that….

Read More »

Everyday Matters – Profile of Catherine Youngren

Welcome to a new series from Sketchbook Skool about what making art means in our lives, as told by members of our Spark community.  “Making art gives me balance.” When life became turbulent, Catherine Youngren found stability in her sketchbooks. Art by Catherine Youngren I just retired from my work as a commercial interior designer

Read More »

Student Profile: Tammy Murdock

My name is Tammy Murdock, I am an enthusiastic artist who does illustration, collage and hand lettering. I love wonky lines, splatters of paint, earl grey tea, warm socks and drawing outside the lines. I live in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island and I have been an artist since I held my first crayon. When

Read More »