so like my friend was asking me how i have nice sketchbooks ( which i dont imo ) and i???? guess i had some tips so i figured id share

  • Don’t worry so much about the finished product. Chances are, you won’t really have one. Sketchbooks are used for sketching - ie. warming up, practicing, jotting ideas down, etc. It’s the same principle as doodling – you’re just doing it to do it, you don’t have anything in mind. 
  • Don’t skip a page unless it is absolutely necessary. A lot of sketchbooks are filled with a lot of gestures, quick sketches, etc, and have pages that feel like they have too many drawings in it, and that’s likely because the artist didn’t bother to skip a page. Fill your pages with drawings, notes, etc! 
  • If you DO skip pages, always go back and fill the empty spaces in. It’s a good exercise too in terms of utilizing space and composition, but you also get to develop your skills in association – I have a lot of pages with hands and feet, and when I fill in the spaces I don’t add a head or an eye; I add more feet / hands. 
  • Play with different mediums!! Most sketchbooks can handle pencils, charcoals, markers, watercolors, inks, etc. Experimenting with different mediums on a certain page is a really great way to add variety and color to your sketchbook.
  • Try doing thumbnails for a few scenes or layouts, or stick a reference picture in one page and draw it in the other page. Knowing how to do the human body is great, but try adding variety by drawing other things. Place the human body in a situation, hell, place lots in a situation. 
  • Treat your sketchbook like a journal yo!!! Writing in your sketchbook is rlly fun, and so is pressing flowers between pages or sticking ref pictures or insp pictures on other pages. Have an artist you really like? Have their art pasted in your sketchbook to look back to.

Paul Thek notebooks

From Paul Thek: Diver, A Retrospective:

Thek [was] an avid keeper of journals, producing over a hundred between 1969 and 1980. Complex and varied, the journals form an intimate and often intense portrait of an energetic mind. Most are written in ordinary school notebooks, with routine accounts of Thek’s days punctuated by emotionally raw passages of self-reflection, analysis of his closest (and, at times, most troubled) personal relationships, and as time progressed, evidence of a growing paranoia. In perfect script, he copied page after page of writings that he admired by Saint Augustine, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, William Blake, and others. Copying was clearly a meditation for him, a spiritual exercise and, as such, an antidote to anxiety and to what he knew was his own pettiness and anger. But the journals are full of moments of joyful exuberance and artistic bravura as well: celebrations of sex, silly word games, and a range of visual expression, from simple marks and comic sketches to intimate, exquisite watercolors of the sea.

Here’s a video showing more of Thek’s notebooks:

Filed under: Paul Thek

I thought this would be a cool picture.

These are all my sketchbooks from the beginning of grade seven, until now, april of grade eight.

17 sketchbooks, on top of all sorts of other kinds of drawings and paintings, digital art, sculpting, drawing on loose paper, 17 (mostly 100 page) completed sketchbooks, and the one im working in right now.

When i say that the only reason im good is because i practice, i seriously mean it. And here’s the proof. 

Practice your drawing, or dancing, or writing, or anything. You will get better, you will succed. All you need is practice.

Over a year and a half, I have filled 17 sketchbooks,  gotten into an art school, won an art contest, improved a fuckton. Not because of ‘natural talent’ or whatever shit your pulling. Because of the 1700 peices of scribbled on paper you see right there.

I’m proud. 

sketchbook inspiration master post

One of the main questions people ask me is ‘how do you stay inspired?’ or 'how do you choose what to draw?’ so I thought I’d answer all of these questions with one very long-winded and possibly vaguely repetitive post that I’m calling my sketchbook inspiration master post. Hopefully it helps some of you lot stay creative and draw more!

  1. Collect every piece of scrap paper that you can find for a week - junk mail, shopping lists, old envelopes, post-it notes, cinema/bus/train tickets, receipts, everything. Make them into a hastily bound notebook. Stop worrying about ruining your sketchbooks, about blank white pages being intimidating. There is nothing intimidating about an old shopping list. 
  2. Time yourself. 2 minutes. Draw whatever’s in front of you. When the two minutes are up, you have to stop, whether you’re finished or not, whether you like the drawing or not. 
  3. Nobody will want to look at your sketchbooks, probably. We all have this ego that thinks people will be fascinated but they’re generally not. So stop worrying if it’s good. 
  4. Stop worrying if it’s good anyway. Some of the best pages aren’t 'good’. They’re interesting and creative and have tons of texture or are really minimal with beautiful colours. They’re not just 'good’. 
  5. Draw the ingredients of your food before you eat it. This has the added benefit of vegetables being more interesting to draw than junk food. 
  6. Listen to an audio book and try to fill a sketchbook in the time it takes to listen. Don’t worry about what you’re filling it with, just fill it. (Can’t afford audiobooks? has a great collection of classics for free!)
  7. Take a pad of post-it notes. When you’re at school, or at work, or eating your dinner, doodle and draw all over them. When you get home, take your post-it drawings and dot them through a sketchbook. Cut bits off of them if you don’t like them, but try to use them all. 
  8. Draw nudes. Draw them badly. Take pictures of yourself nude and draw them, draw pornstars, draw art nude references. Draw nudes from famous paintings. Draw them in biro, in pencil, in charcoal, in paint. Draw them in two minutes, then five. Then take an hour.
  9. Change up the size of your sketchbook. Go from tiny to A3 and back again. Make yourself a circular one, one with strange proportions. Don’t get stuck in using the same size/make all the time. Experiment.
  10. Take five different sorts of art supplies - pens, ink, charcoal, highlighters etc. and make 20 sheets of marks and patterns. Cut them up and use them to collage in your sketchbook.
  11. Draw the most technical picture of a bike that you possibly can. Wait two months and try again. Watch how your work changes.
  12. Take 5 photos next time you go out. When you get home, use them as a basis for sketchbook pages - draw the actual picture, just use the colours, whatever you want. 
  13. Draw words. Don’t write them, draw them. Copy fonts from your computer, do bubble writing, 3d writing. 
  14. Make repeated patterns. Draw a shape and repeat it over pages and pages. Then try and make each page different. 
  15. Write lists out in your sketchbook - ideas of what to draw, books to read, projects to do, places to go. Draw over some, leave some as they are. 
  16. Buy a magazine with colourful, glossy pictures. read it once and then cut/tear out anything that catches your eye. Stick them sporadically through a sketchbook befre you start it. 
  17. Draw without taking the pen/pencil/whatever off of the paper. Draw what’s in front of you this way, draw your breakfast, draw your outfit, draw your face. 
  18. Write lists of what you want to draw. Write them at work, at school, waiting for the bus. Compile them into one long list to work through. 
  19. Draw your jewellery. If you don’t have jewellery, draw your parent’s, draw your partner’s, draw your best friends. Remember that it doesn’t have to look like jewellery when you’re finished. 
  20. Pick three different pens/pencils - preferably ones you don’t often use and use them, and only them, to do 5 drawings. And then another five. 
  21. Different papers give different effects with the same pen/paint/whatever. Experiment with as many as you can find. 
  22. Write notes next to your drawings. Things to try, what you like about it, the first thing that pops into your head. 
  23. Copy famous art. Change the colour scheme, crop parts out, change it however you like. 
  24. Cover five sheets of paper with stream of consciousness writing. Then tear the pages up and use them to collage into your sketchbook.
  25. Doodle constantly, even if it’s shite. 
  26. Challenge yourself to draw ten drawings of something you find hard to draw. Draw them badly if you have to, but draw all ten. Then draw ten of something else you find difficult. I’ve done this with hands, peacocks, lions. 
  27. Draw people while you’re talking to them. Maybe not in like, a job interview, but with just conversations with friends. Remember that the drawings don’t have to be good.
  28. Sit down at your desk/sofa/kitchen table/bed and pick up the first fifteen things that you can reach/are closest to you. Draw them all on the same page. 
  29. Make stamps and dot them over the pages. You can make them out of erasers, out of potatoes, out of styrofoam. 
  30. If you don’t draw landscapes very often, go outside and start. If you don’t draw people, go outside and start. Drawing in public places is great because everything is moving and you have to be fast- no time to worry if each line is perfect. 
  31. Pick a book/magazine/newspaper, anything so long as it has pictures in it. Go through it and use every single image as the basis for a drawing. You might just take the colours, you might crop it, or you might copy it in detail. Your choice. 
  32. Draw a mug, a chair, an open book, a plant, and a swing. 
  33. Draw patterns, try using different colours together that you wouldn’t usually, use paint with coloured pencils, experiment. 
  34. Go to charity shops or carboot sales. They often have things like packs of old/foreign stamps for cheap prices which are great for sticking in your sketchbook. Sometimes that might mean that you accidentally stick a priceless stamp in, but that’s the price you’ve gotta pay for art. 
  35. Sit down with a cup of tea and no distractions and really think over what you want to achieve with your art. Take half an hour to think it over, jot down any ideas and then let yourself loose. Sometimes a step back is all you need.
  36. Pick 5 tiny things (bugs, buttons, safety pins, pennies, tiny flowers) and draw patterns of them all over pages of your sketchbook. Draw them until you could draw them in your sleep. 
  37. Take an old magazine, tear each page out and paint random patterns/words/pictures messily over all of it. Cut them up and stick them in.
  38. Draw with your left hand. 
  39. Pick 2 colours at random and paint 5 landscapes with them in 1 hour. 
  40. Make a cake and draw for the entire time it takes for it to cook. Reward yourself with cake afterwards. 
  41. Try to draw adverts/TV shows from your childhood from memory. Write about them and the memories that go with them afterwards. 
  42. Draw the same bug/piece of jewellery/whatever ten times without tracing it. Try to get them as similar as humanly possible. 
  43. Stop writing feel-good quotes over every page of your art journal. Write things that are gritty and honest and true to yourself, not things that have nothing to do with your own life but sound nice and pretty.
  44. Write as many feel-good quotes as you like. Ignore me. It’s your sketchbook/art journal, not mine! You can do what you like in it. And it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it.
  45. Ignore all of your lists and draw anything you feel like! Lists are v. useful but you don’t have to stick by them rigidly.
  46. You can still do things when you’re feeling uninspired. Eg. cut out random shapes from cool papers and put them in a bag to use later when you are feeling inspired.
  47. Finished painting something and have some leftover paint? Use it up painting patterns/words/doodles on scrap paper or magazine pages.
  48. Draw things you’re scared of. Analyse how they’re made, the intricacies of them. 
  49. Paint the sky outside your bedroom window every day for a year.
  50. Draw your OOTD. Do it once a month, every day, or whenever you just super like what you’re wearing. 
  51. Use different sorts of paper. Try sketching on newspaper or old receipts, try painting on photo paper or glossy magazines. It might not always work, but you might find a great combo in there. 
  52. Grow a plant from seed and draw it in each stage of growth. 
  53. Draw fanart of your favourite TV show. Or your least favourite TV show. Or any TV show. It doesn’t have to be good fanart.
  54. Get books out of the library on different drawing/painting/printing techniques. Try them all out! You don’t have to follow their instructions perfectly, just use them for a starting point. 
  55. Pick an ancient culture. Draw/paint/collage 10 things based on that culture. The architecture, the costume, the food, the laws, obscure medical facts - anything!

Mostly, just don’t worry about it being good and don’t put pressure on yourself because of this. I’ll be adding to this list when new ideas come to me, so it’s probably going to get a lot longer! If anyone has great ideas that should be on here, send me a message.

(I’ve condensed all of the ideas on the reblogged ones onto this first one as it was getting v. messy. It just means a few different versions of this will be going around, some longer than others. And you can also see the whole thing on my main blog here if you prefer!)

That’s what five years of unbroken sketchbook work looks like (minus April 20, 2013).

Five years ago, I decided I’d try to force myself to fill at least one page of my sketchbook each day, no matter what else was going on. Two years ago, I upped it to two pages a day; drawing a single page could be done in ~5 minutes and got a little too easy. If it doesn’t feel at least a little difficult, it doesn’t feel like anything, and it’s not even possible to enjoy yourself.

Since about July, I’ve been forcing myself to make at least one of the pages a comic. I got into this thing to draw more comics, and I’d spent many years filling pages with similar howling faces or drawings from catalogs and not drawing any comics. So now I push myself in this way, as well.

Drawing comics with the drawings reinvigorated my interest for a while. When you have something that you do every day you can’t help but improve. Then you get bored. Then you try new things and improve. Then you get bored. Daily work is the best solution that I’ve worked out to make the big emotional swings of that cycle to drop down to a low discomforting blips. You become too slippery for your own emotional melodrama to grab on.

If you’re not regularly chipping away at the work you want to do toward your capital-D Dream each day, your Dream quickly fills up venom sacs of guilt and shame. Ugh, I should really get back to doing____, I’m such a lazy piece of shit, I’ll never be a ______, you’ll think and then your eyes are there and not in your skull and in the moment where you are alive.

It’s annoying sometimes and painful other times, but the sketchbook’s a place in my life I have a small foundation for confidence: no matter what else happens, I’ll fill up a couple of pages today. It’s a private space I have to visit every day. I have to check in. I have to look. I have to make marks about the day. How it was to be alive for me. It has weight and worth to me.

Here’s how the stack looked last year and what I was feeling about it.

Here’s how it looked the year before that.

If there is a thing you like to do, find a way to do a little bit of it each day. Don’t overdo it–maybe it’s only 5 minutes worth for the first three years–because some days you will be drunk, tired, sick or in Personal Circumstances. This is not a way to get famous, it is just a way to practice and to care for yourself.

Storyboard Sketchbooks

Ok so you guys remember this sketchbook everyone was raving about because it had perfect boxes for doing composition sketches and storyboards and was less than 2 bucks? Unsurprisingly they’re no longer available on the muji website so I was hunting around for an alternative that wasn’t moleskine (I hate how expensive those are) And I found this site  They are a publisher based in SoCal that makes a variety of simple sketchbooks with different page layouts for a ton of different uses. Their Sketch In Blue series of notebooks are specifically made for artists who utilize storyboards in their work and are available in different aspect ratios, number of panels to a page, and with or without narration lines. They carry three different sizes of these notebooks as well, a 4x6 pocket size, a US standard 8.5x11 and a horizontal 8.25x6

I don’t think these are too well known because it was hard to find a picture of the physical book, but I do know they are paperback with a very simple binding and are fold-able/flexible and each one has 120 pages. They are all linked to their respective page on amazon and the few that had reviews were good ones. They are $8-9 dollars which isn’t too bad. I cant say with certainty how great these are cause I haven’t gotten one but I’d say I’m definitely thinking about it, and it’s nice to see an option with so many varieties to choose from specifically made for this purpose.

A Full Book of Sketches

“Where do you get your ideas?”

Whenever I’m asked this question, I usually answer something evasive or non-committal. Not today. Today I will reveal my most valuable creative resource, the hidden place from which all ideas originate: the sketchbook.

Keeping is a sketchbook is simple and routine. It’s a collection of thoughts, images, and observations inked on smooth white paper. It’s a portable catalog of past ideas. By revisiting these ideas later, they can be expanded upon, revised, reinterpreted, or ignored entirely. 

This is how my comics look in their most basic, elemental form - the sketchbook page:

The text is barely legible. The drawings are often incomprehensible to anyone but myself. The rhymes are way too obvious (though this probably won’t change before the final published comic).

When I jot ideas in my sketchbook, what’s important is speed. I want to put an idea on paper before I have time to second guess it. Layout, proportions, drawing above a third-grade level - there will be many more hours to address these problems. 

Often my sketchbook comics have an immediacy that appeals to me more than my polished, finished work. Here’s a sketch that I adapted for a published comic. Despite the vast differences in appearance between this page and my digitally colored work, I think it stands okay on its own:

There are many artists I admire (Roz Chast, Quentin Blake, Jean-Jacques Sempé, etc.) whose work has the looseness and energy of an initial sketch. When I grow up, I want to be one of these artists. Until then, I’ll keep striving for it in my sketchbooks.

Life drawing is another important (though often more challenging) aspect of sketchbook keeping. It sounds easy - walk around looking at things. Draw what you find interesting. But I get hung up by cold weather that stiffens my fingers. I get nervous drawing in public. Inevitably, someone will peek over my shoulder at a half-rendered drawing of a building and ask, “Are you an architecture student?” And I love sketching in art museums, but this attracts much attention from ink-prohibiting museum staff.

Despite these challenges, getting outside and drawing can be relaxing, inspiring, and meditative. Here are some pages of life drawing from my sketchbook that inspired my comic “My Favorite Things.”

I’ve compiled them here, but these images were taken from two to three years of sketchbooks, on trips (Chicago and Santa Fe) and at home (Denver and Wichita). You don’t have to live in an exotic location or take a foreign vacation to fill a sketchbook. The place where I live is flat, empty, and boring at first glance, but it’s a great place to get some thinking done.

Visually interesting things are everywhere - even in the American Midwest. For instance, buildings:


And birds:

No matter the demands of the project I’m currently working on, I’ve found it’s necessary not to neglect my sketchbook. It’s the place where I plant the seeds of future work.

So get out into the world, fix your eyes to the small details, and put your pen to the paper. I hope you’ll find the process of sketchbook-keeping as creatively essential as I have.

One final piece of advice: Beware of Geese.


Due to the amount of demand for my ERASE (ERASE) collection I’m now offering it along with a bundle of my last 4 sketchbooks (the…ahem… VIRILE BEAST MODE COLLECTION as it were) on a “Pay what you think is fair basis”. All of these collections are currently rare and OUT OF PRINT. 

To download : CLICK HERE 

If you enjoy, then please do spread the word… 

-Jason Latour


GIVEAWAY! Craftsy’s “Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday” Online Class.

As part of their sponsoring Supersonic this week, the very awesome Craftsy is giving away one of their fantastic online classes, Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday!”

The online class, which is a $30 value, is taught through 7 awesome HD video lessons that never expire, teaching you the ins and outs of keeping a sketchbook.  Sketchbooks are perhaps the most important item in an artist’s arsenal.  I know I could spend the rest of my days looking through just artist’s sketchbooks and be happy and this online class tells you everything about making one of your own.  From choosing what kind of sketchbook is right for you all the way to composing in the field and location sketching.

To enter for your chance to win just click the link below and register or log in to Craftsy:

GIVEAWAY: “Sketchbooks: Drawing the Everyday.”