10 x Creative Sketchbook Exercises

Here are 10 x ten minute sketchbook starters! 

1. Make a shy drawing – feel shy when you draw, move only your fingers or wrist, draw quietly without making a noise… imagine you are a mouse!

2. Make a loud drawing – use dark or bright drawing materials, make vigorous marks, drawing quickly. It should be the drawing which is noisy – not the person!

3. Draw, collage or paint a pattern inspired by the words: “twirling, growing, happy”. The “pattern” must cover the whole page and go to all the edges. Change the words…


Over printing

4. Draw ants, spiders, bugs, butterflies. Draw only very small creatures on your page, all over your page. Place a piece of tracing paper over your page of creatures, and draw the lines they would have made as they flew or walked – but don’t just use normal pencil lines – use dotted lines, soft lines, scribble lines, curly lines, shy lines… Don’t draw so many lines your creatures are covered, and think where the lines are going. Use sellotape to stick the tracing paper over your drawing of creatures on one side (to make a page which you can turn).

5. Sitting in your place, look around the room. Fix your eyes on a corner of the room which is far away, and start drawing your version of it on your paper. Don’t worry if you can’t see detail – get your impression down on paper. Draw out from the corner you have chosen – remember the “corner” might not be an actual corner of the room, but a corner created by a shelf, or window or bookcase, or curtain… Fill your page. make up the perspective – it doesn’t have to be accurate here.

6. Get some lego (or other similar elemental toy), and draw the elements on your page. Have them close to you so you can touch them and turn them over before you draw them, so you really know what they’re like – but don’t start building with them (yet). Use colour as well as pencil. Design a few lego shapes of your own. Felt tip pens work well for this.


Lego sketches

7. Build with the lego (or similar) for just a minute or so, and then draw what you have built.

8. Choose a paragraph out of a story book and read it out loud. Write it on a board too so it can be seen. Re-write the story on a sketchbook page, replacing words with images wherever possible. Be as inventive as you can. Next time: change the story, the genre, or even listen to music.

9. Let you tongue feel what your teeth feel like, and feel what your gums are like, (don’t put your fingers in your mouth). Then make a drawing about what you think your mouth/teeth/gums feels like (not looks like).

10. Put a board in the classroom and invite pupils to write their suggestions for ten minute starters…

This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.