Sketchbook Drawing Ideas

When you’re feeling stuck for sketchbook drawing ideas, we take a look at how to fill a sketchbook in a way that inspires you and serves your drawing practice…

Drawing Ideas & prompts for your sketchbook

Drawing Ideas & prompts for your sketchbook

Once you’ve decided that you want to keep an art sketchbook and bought, made, and/or personalised your sketchbook, then you’re ready to start drawing in yours.

Sadly, this is all too often when we get that blank-page-blank-mind feeling, and we feel stuck to know how or where to start… all out of sketchbook drawing ideas to get going…

This is a perfectly normal way to feel.

Often we can just bite the bullet and get started somewhere, anywhere, with some inspiration that we’ve noted in our daily lives or some other drawing exercise we’re working on.

I’ve lots of drawing ideas and exercises in the pages of this website for you to follow as you develop your drawing learning…

And also a whole course of drawing instruction too.

Here are 20 sketchbook drawing ideas and prompts to get you started…

  • “Outside my window…”

  • “My toes”

  • Seasonal nature – collecting leaves, feathers, seedheads, or flowers. What’s in bloom now?

  • “I found this today” – a photo or collected item from your day

  • Rocks, pebbles, and shells

  • “My breakfast”

  • A bottle or vase

  • “Inside my art box”

  • Looking up

  • In the news

  • Night

  • “Last weekend, I…”

  • “My pet”

  • “What’s on TV?” – use your favourite shows as a drawing prompt

  • “I wish I was…”

  • “An artist I admire”

  • Houseplants

  • Patterns in my house

  • Fruit

  • “I wish I didn’t have to…”

  • “I want to explore…”

Drawing quick sketches in my sketchbook of flowers and leaves - your sketchbook can be messy and immediate

How to use the sketchbook drawing ideas

Some of the sketchbook drawing ideas are simple drawing practice – draw what you see – but some I’ve left more open-ended for you to explore in your own way.

Try to choose something that’s personal and meaningful for you else your sketchbook drawing will become more of a chore than a pleasure.

Where the prompt is clearly of something to draw, you can focus in on the bit that interests you.

For example, if you like, spot one thing you find interesting, unusual, or noteworthy for you, and draw that, rather than drawing the whole scene.

Where the prompt is less concrete, get started by writing out the prompt in your sketchbook.

Sit with it for a moment, say it out loud. What comes immediately to mind? A word? An emotion or feeling? A mental connection to another word, place, thing, or event? Another feeling?

Bird sketch and fantasy tree doodle - searching for inspiration in a sketchbook

Write down any words that come to mind as they float into your head and allow the connections and feelings to come for you, writing them into your sketchbook.

Your sketchbook is not just a place for drawing, it’s a place for working things out – a place not for fully-formed ideas but a place for ideas to form, for ideas in progress.

It’s okay if little or nothing comes up that inspires you. Try something else – or follow an avenue of thoughts to see where they lead.

Any one idea, word, thought, or feeling can ignite that spark of inspiration… a tiny increase in your heart rate that tells you you’ve found something that excites you, that’s meaningful, interesting, and purposeful for you.

Using found images to inspire drawing - images used are licensed for use to make art from

Using found images to inspire drawing - images used are licensed for use to make art from

Follow it and see where it goes…

Is it a doodle? Do you need to research imagery? Find it, print it, cut it out, and stick it in your sketchbook…

Analyse it:

  • Why did you choose it?

  • What appeals?

  • What does it mean?

  • What are its colours?

  • What do you notice about it?

Write it all down in your sketchbook.

Practice drawing or doodling. Feel free and see where your sketchbook takes you.

It might just be the kernel of an idea that might go no further for now. It might be something you can return to at a later date when flicking back through your sketchbook in search or inspiration or an ‘a-ha’ moment.

It might be a tiny spark that you feel you want to nurture and grow, and it will start to give your art meaning. It may even help you to understand your own personality and your own important needs in life.

Our drawing and art is so personal and we need to feel free to open our hearts and our minds to explore the route that feels right to us…

Using a sketchbook to draw ideas and doodles that I can develop into full drawings at a later date. A sketchbook is a place for working things out and exploring ideas.

Using a sketchbook to draw ideas and doodles that I can develop into full drawings at a later date. A sketchbook is a place for working things out and exploring ideas.

Just trust your instinct, be curious, and allow yourself to follow the themes and techniques that feel right for you.

I hope that these sketchbook drawing ideas and prompts have helped you to get started or to get unstuck with your sketchbook. I have more information about finding inspiration here…

Enjoy your sketchbook time. It’s a book just for you to help you to create your art.

If you feel like it’s not working for you at the moment, change it up a little bit and find a way that makes it work for you.

Essential drawing skills course in feedback or DIY versions

Essential drawing skills course in feedback or DIY versions

Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills Course

If you’re enjoying the website content but just need a little more help with your drawing…

Or if you want more drawing exercises and creative prompts to fill your sketchbook…

Then you might enjoy my Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills Online Course…

It’s entirely self paced…

And full of lots of drawing goodness to develop your drawing skills and the creative confidence to draw in your own way…

You can find out all about it here…

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