Be An Artist: Get a Sketch Book Today

[Be An Artist is a new series of posts I am starting – each gives a quick, actionable tip to help you start making art today]

The artists most valuable tool is his sketch book.

It is also a good test of your commitment to art.

One of the two most important things I need to do every day is draw. (the other is to write, which I’m doing now)

I actually didn’t get any time for drawing yesterday. I spent the entire weekend in front of my computer writing the emails and recording some audio content I am going to send you when you sign up for my newsletter.

By the end of the day yesterday I was pretty fried, and didn’t get to it. I should have though.

Anyway, enough about me, onwards to you!

What do you need?

Getting started with a sketch book is pretty low overhead. It doesn’t require much. For about $20, you can be in and out of the art store with everything you need.

Required items:

  • A sketch book
  • Some pencils
  • A pencil sharpener

That’s it.

Take some time when you are buying your sketch book. You are going to be stuck with it for a while, so make sure it is something you like. Don’t get too nice of a sketch book though, I don’t want you to have something so nice that you are hesitant to “mess it up”.

I use regular old pencils that I you can get anywhere, and a cheap plastic pencil sharpener, the kind you can get at your local drug store.

Glenmorangie Bottle - Ink and Colored Pencil

Glenmorangie Bottle - Ink and Colored Pencil

For Over Achievers

For those of you that aren’t satisfied with mere graphite, here’s a few more things you can get to spice up the sketch book.

  • Eraser
  • Colored Pencils
  • Oil Pastels
  • Pens/Markers

This will give you the ability to mess around with some color, and do more in depth drawings in your sketch book.

What to draw?

Good question. It doesn’t matter though.

I even draw myself - Oil Pastel Sketch

I even draw myself - Oil Pastel Sketch

An artist’s sketchbook is for herself, not for others. It is a tool to improve and hone the skills an artist needs. to this end, it doesn’t matter what you draw, it only matters that you draw.

I like to draw whatever is around me.

If I am drinking a cup of coffee, I’ll draw that. If I am sitting on my bed, looking at my desk, I’ll draw that. If I just bought a bottle of Scotch, I’ll draw that.

The what isn’t as important as the how. The point of the sketch book is to improve the skills of seeing, processing what you see, and turning that into line.

Create a habit

The best way to make sure that you draw on a regular basis is to make it part of your daily routine.

I draw in the evenings, after I get home from work. I draw for an hour. I either make it the first thing I do when I get home from work, or the last thing I do before I go to bed.

I need this sort of structure and habit, but another structure might work better for you. It does take effort though to make it happen.

You will be pleased with the work you do, as long as you stick with it, and your progress will amaze yourself.

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The images in this post are from my Flickr account. Check it out by clicking here. There’s not much on it yet, but I am starting to fill it up.

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