Benefits of Keeping a Sketchbook

What are the benefits of keeping a sketchbook? Why do people find keeping a sketchbook so uplifting? Here we have it straight from the artist’s mouth!


“I always carry a sketchbook around with me, and often draw people on the trains and undergrounds in London. Usually in this situation you only get a minute or two to draw someone. It is great practice. I think of it like how musicians play scales. Drawing is the basic principle of art, and you need to keep practising.” Claire Stringer

“I have started using sketchbooks only recently, as at times I can get inspired but I do not have the time to actually paint, so it is easier to open my sketchbook and start playing with images, texts and collage… I do love making these pieces of work, it really relaxes me and gives me time to think about possible paintings.” Nadia Addonizio

“For me, sketchbooks make me more observant. Then I see there are answers everywhere – and the world seems full of possibilities”

“Being an illustrator, everything I draw comes from something that started in my sketchbook. It’s like my brain-dump for everything I need to get out of my head and onto paper so I can start sorting it out and making images. I’m a compulsive doodler so having something handy to scribble on is a must so my sketchbook comes everywhere with me (even if I don’t intend to use it; my SB has even come to job interviews with me!). My sketchbook tends to just be drawn in black ink; a lot of people use their sketchbooks to play with colour and technique but mine is purely used to get down images and characters. I like to work out colour as I’m doing the final illustration, whether I’m digitally colouring or painting.

I think keeping sketchbooks is not only a great way to store and collect ideas, but also as a kind of diary. Looking back through some of my older sketchbooks, I can remember exactly what I was doing and thinking at the time. I rarely date anything in my books so it’s nice to get a pang of sudden memory looking at certain things. I also love looking through other people’s sketchbooks as I think it gives you a rare look at someone and how they work in their most basic state. Sometimes I enjoy the process an image has gone through in someone’s sketchbook rather than the finished piece!”  Jessica Bradley

“… to create a personalised space through creating and maintaining a sketchbook journal in which can be expressed ideas, thoughts and feelings which, if necessary, will remain confidential to the person concerned, and shared whilst they are creating it. This gives an opportunity for self expression in the making of a constant flow of ideas and transformative thoughts.”

” They help to broaden experience, use of materials and add to the development of enquiry for individuals and for the group as a whole”

“I’m very keen on getting all sorts of people to use sketchbooks for all aid memoire as well as to express their artistic ability”

“I want everybody who is interested in visual language & communication to recognise how important keeping records of their thought-processes are: To see sketchbooks as their own “personal visual playgrounds”; places where it’s possible to be entirely uninhibited”

“I currently have a sketchbook diary blog. Usually I have a sketchbook as a creative outlet for periods of time where I wish to record ideas for future use and development – in this case the sketchbook replaced finished artwork as I was in a very busy period – It was then a natural progression to not only have a creative place for developing ideas but actually those ideas were complete in themselves for sharing so the sketchbook diary became my current work. ‘FOR THOSE IMAGES UNPLANNED, DOODLED, MISCELLANEOUS, UNFINISHED, LIKE UNCOMPLETED SENTENCES, UNEXPLAINED GLANCES, TACTIC THOUGHTS, PREGNANT PAUSES, THE UNEXPLAINED REMARK, MARK MAKING, SCRIBBLE, CREATIVE MINDLESSNESS…’ (Quote from Blog) all of which and more, help me in allowing space for creative things to emerge, and are in fact part of the foundations of creative thought and giving voice to them.”Geraldine Walsh

” I’ve seen how journal writing can be beneficial when moving through difficult times”

“[sketchbooks] make the mundane memorable and help you enjoy what is around you”

This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1100 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.

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