This post may contain affiliate links as mentioned in our disclosure. This site is not connected with, affiliated with, approved by, or endorsed by the Urban Sketchers organization.
Are you feeling unmotivated, bored, or stagnant with your art? Do you find yourself avoiding your sketchbook like the plague? Sometimes we need to shake up our routine to feel excited about art again.
Try one or all of these 5 ideas that prolific artists use to spice up your own sketchbook. There is no right or wrong way to create art. So grab your sketchbook and get inspired.
1. Pick the same object repeatedly.
For artist Liz Steel, sketching coffee cups is a staple in her sketchbooks. She spends so much time in coffee shops, that it came naturally to paint what was in front of her. Over time, she has accumulated a massive amount of teacup sketches that define her style.
By sketching the same object found in different locations, you are able to build a link among your art. What do you come across often and appreciate the form of? Shopping bags? Graffiti? Pick an everyday object or subject to sketch and keep an eye out for it wherever you go. You’ll soon have a series collection in your sketchbook to look back on.
2. Stick to a limited palette of color.
It can be overwhelming when you get a new set of paints or markers. There are some sets of paint that come with 72 colors! That’s not necessary for sketching. Some artists have a palette with 12 colors. Others choose only 3. The more limited colors you choose, the more creative you are forced to be.
So try starting with a warm color and a cool color. Try complementary colors. Mix up what colors you use. You may surprised at what you are able to create with just a handful of colors.
3. Implement a fade.
There’s no need to feel rushed to finishing a sketch. In fact, you can add more focus to a sketch by leaving white space. This effect can be especially impactful for landscapes.
Next time you are sketching, decide to focus on one point and allow the rest of the scene to fade. This can be accomplished by making the color saturated on the focal point and diluting the color on the non focal points.
4. Combine multiple images into one.
The method is often called “double exposure” in photography, where two images overlap. This technique of overlapping sketches can be tricky. It is difficult to know exactly where to place objects so that the finished piece doesn’t look overcrowded.
Start with just line drawings of two objects in one piece. As you start to add color (if you choose to add color), don’t overlap the colors. If you do, it could make the colors too muddy. Add selective color on parts you want to highlight.
The final piece is wholly original and very fun to look at!
5. Go BIGGER or smaller.
If you have been sketching in primarily one size for a long time, consider going bigger or going smaller. Lots of artists stick to whatever size their sketchbook is, but changing the size of your sketch will require some creativity.
Some artists like Alvero Castagnet like to sketch on a large sheet of watercolor paper on location. He’s able to use a large paintbrush to start and then go into finer details to finish.
A painting as large as his will require more water and space to paint. It also will take more time, but you can capture more buildings and people in larger sketches.
Another artist Katie Woodward, does her sketches on tiny postage stamp sized pieces of paper. An advantage of this style is that it requires very little supplies to use so you aren’t carrying a lot with you. You can also finish a sketch in a very short amount of time and therefore create more of them in shorter time. And by sketching so small, you can focus on one particular point of interest.
Have you tried any of these sketchbook ideas?
What other techniques have you tried?