drawing prompts

Tips: Drawing Prompts to Break Up Your Sketchbook Routine


Do you find yourself relying on the same subject matter day in and day out? Have you completed all of your Sketchbook Skool assignments to find yourself returning to the same scenes around you? While there’s nothing wrong with sketches of your dog or cat (we love those!), we put together a list of drawing prompts to get you out of your old habits and to try something fresh. These ideas were adapted from Sketchbook Skool courses, our online community, and ideas we have collected from artists we know and love.

  • Try a new take on your personal history. Gather up some old photographs of your family and try to recreate some of the images in your sketchbook. If you don’t have access to any family photos, grab a handful of photos from a local antique shop and make up a narrative. One of our students tried this with photos of her own and created one composite drawing that incorporated her into a scene from decades before featuring her relatives.
  • In honor of Danny Gregory‘s new book, Art Before Breakfast, try drawing something the moment you wake up. Whether it’s a 5-minute sketch of your pillow or your table spread before you sip that coffee, show us what you see before breakfast.
  • Revisit your hometown or the house you grew up in on paper. This could be a sketch of a cityscape, an architectural drawing from memory of a house you lived in, or even a map of all of your old haunts.
  • Happy feet. Draw your feet donning your favorite socks or shoes, or if you have exhausted your shoe collection, draw your feet in someone else’s shoes.
  • The Westminster Dog show began this week. In honor of all of the hounds taking the stage, draw your pet. If it happens to be a dog, use the hashtag #DrawYourDog online to share it with other dog sketchers who have been active this week!
  • Change your perspective by drawing with someone much younger, or much older. Some of our students have shared how their views change when they set out to draw with their child or grandchild. Others draw with their elderly relatives.
  • Draw during your lunch break, at work or home. Are there things in your surroundings you don’t typically see when you draw in your free time on the weekends or in the evenings?
  • Draw in the waiting room of your next appointment. Skip the magazines and really take a look around at the room itself or the other people waiting in it.
  • Draw your Monkey/inner critic. What keeps you down from drawing? Do a portrait of the monkey on your back or whatever it is that stops you.
  • Draw a recipe. It can be a family recipe or something you tried for the first time this week. Capture it in pictures instead of words and chances are, you will remember it better!
  • Draw for a cause. Sketchbook Skool student Carol Lowne draws to promote charitable organizations that she cares about like Operation Kindness and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
    Pick one and give it a try, or better yet, try all of them this month and see where they take you!
2 mins

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