Even though some of us are still cursing the snow outside our windows, the spring season is officially here! In addition to fresh starts and spring cleaning, the pages of your sketchbook can be a great place to infuse a little life or try something new. Below are five tips for spicing up your daily drawing habit:

  1. Text. You probably already spend time writing in your sketchbook or labeling drawings but have you ever tried playing with words from somewhere else? Whether you tear a page out of an old magazine or use something quotable that’s been printed on another material, adding text can enhance your subjects or serve as a fun and interesting background to whatever is in front of you.
    Chris McCloud incorporates pages from an old book in her caricatures.

    Chris McCloud incorporates pages from an old book in her caricatures.

  2. Collage. The word literally means “to glue.” In this case, it can be text as mentioned above, or images taken from somewhere else. Incorporate a favorite photograph in a drawing or let a found image be the starting point for your composition. See where someone else’s image leads you in your own drawing. You can even use collage to incorporate ephemera from a certain day or adventure like ticket stubs or receipts.
    Jutta Wenz uses a museum brochure to document an adventure.

    Jutta Wenz uses a museum brochure to document an adventure.

  3. Framing. Play with framing by adding borders to your page before you begin your drawing. Let these lines serve as limits to your drawing and see how you can work with them. Create your borders in a different medium or try a new material like washi tape to play with boundaries on your page.
    Christine Murray uses washi tape for a border.

    Christine Murray uses washi tape for a border.

  4. Challenge! Do you find yourself searching for assignments or things to draw in between classes? If our weekly email assignments aren’t enough, try an art challenge led by artists online including some of our stellar fakulty. If you use social media, you can find art challenges periodically posted by students in our closed Facebook group. If you want more guidance and structure, you can check out some titles like Veronica Lawlor’s One Drawing a Day.
    Veronica Lawlor's One Drawing a Day

    Veronica Lawlor’s One Drawing a Day

  5. Rework. Do you have a drawing that you really don’t like? Maybe there is a page in another sketchbook of yours that you avoid like the plague. Take something old and rework it. Whether that means hacking it apart and reassembling or tearing out a piece of it and using that as a starting point on a new page, breathe new life into a drawing you gave up on awhile ago. If you’re happy with everything in your sketchbooks as is, then try taking an uncommon material and working that into a drawing surface!
    Zeynep Erdal Caner uses grocery bags as drawing surfaces.

    Zeynep Erdal Caner uses grocery bags as drawing surfaces.

Give one of these a try if your sketchbook needs a boost. Even if a technique doesn’t stick or you are unhappy with a result, the process will have you looking at your next page in a new way!

Filed under categories: Tips