Art Discussion

How many sketchbooks have you filled in your lifetime? And what subject matter do you fill them with?

By Suzanne Gibbs


  • Elle Greene artist
    Elle Greene (@elleisgreene) Plus Member
    06/29/2018 @ 2:34pm

    At a rate of 1 or 2 a year for a bit less than 30 years, plus some ambitious years, probably 30 to 40. Most of them are still in storage somewhere, too! I look through them often. They're all spiral bound or black, I've noticed. The subject matter varies by time period, but it's usually doodles, ideas, half-drawn concepts. I essentially have years and years of collected potential and very few finished thoughts. I definitely use words and hand drawn text much more as I get older. That's what makes looking back so delightful - my sketch books read like a diary of images, not an art portfolio. I think I'll pull some out tonight...

  • Lauren Konopacki artist
    Lauren Konopacki (@lettermore) Plus Member
    06/29/2018 @ 2:50pm

    @elleisgreene it would make for a cool continuous project to upload your favorites from each sketchbook over the years..i would love to see the progression!

  • Lauren Konopacki artist
    Lauren Konopacki (@lettermore) Plus Member
    06/29/2018 @ 2:54pm

    My guess for myself would probably be about 20 in my life? I have about 5 going right now that I begin to fill, and then i get impatient and buy a new type of sketchbook but I'm always bouncing around. One is a watercolor sketchbook, one is a sketchbook with multicolored pages, one is a square moleskine-ish sketchbook, one is my doodle addicts sketchbook, and the last one is a plain mixed media. I fill it with everything from elaborate drawings, random hand-lettering, "phone doodles" as I like to call them, or even just my to-do list for the day.

  • Elle Greene artist
    Elle Greene (@elleisgreene) Plus Member
    06/30/2018 @ 5:44pm

    @laurendoodlecode I like the suggestion! It's one more excellent reason to clear out old art stuff. I usually have many different sketchbooks in progress at once, too. Unfortunately I have a habit of starting a page or two in each of the nicer, 'special purpose' sketchbooks and then I get a cheap sketchpad that gets all my attention after that. Just started a bullet journal that serves that "catch all" function, too. Phone doodles are the best!

  • Katherine Carr artist
    Katherine Carr (@gydasyellowroses)
    07/02/2018 @ 4:51pm

    I am fairly new to the whole art journaling world so I have only filled around 8 or so. I fill them up with many topics as I don't keep a regular journal so I tend to express my feelings in these books. Most often I fill them with interactions that have made an impact on me, feminist ideals, and past loves.

  • Darlene K Campbell artist
    Darlene K Campbell (@Darlene)
    07/03/2018 @ 11:51am

    Hi Susanne, good to see you here too! I never used sketchbook h lols until I joined Sketchbook Skool. I still don't use them regularly as I tend to revert back to using loose sheets of paper then I put them in a portfolio, binder or folder. I have about a dozen actual sketchbooks. Usually no themes. Cheers-

  • Darlene K Campbell artist
    Darlene K Campbell (@Darlene)
    07/03/2018 @ 11:54am

    Oops Suzanne I am sooty I misspelled your name. And I should no better because that is my daughters name.

  • Stubby Toes artist
    Stubby Toes (@godwheel) Plus Member
    07/03/2018 @ 4:24pm

    @elleisgreene You should dig those up and upload a few favorites to the site.

  • Stubby Toes artist
    Stubby Toes (@godwheel) Plus Member
    07/03/2018 @ 4:25pm

    @gydasyellowroses Sounds very personal! Though I'm sure the subject matter would be super interesting to take a peak.

  • Sohini artist
    Sohini (@bookboozer)
    07/03/2018 @ 5:09pm

    I don't use sketchbooks as much.. I just tend to sketch when I have an inspiration burst or on large pieces of paper. I have used around 5 (or less?) and they don't have themes.. Most of them have mandala art which I hardly do anymore and lots of scribbles. Mostly scribbles.. WHch makes me think keeping a themed sketch book would be a great idea! I think I'll do that soon

  • Jannett Peña artist
    Jannett Peña (@2solo2) Plus Member
    07/04/2018 @ 12:15am

    I have lost count, but have kept them all throughout the years. Either they are sketchbooks, loose paper with lines or no lines, or post-its in all they do stay together in one of my sketchbooks. What I do draw are the things that comes to mind, images I find interesting to study or to just keep me busy and refine my skills. Lately, I do quick sketches of baroque & surrealist artists that I have studied and taught. I feel I have alot to learn & it also keeps me from having any artist blocks.

  • Jan Doodle artist
    Jan Doodle (@jandoodle)
    07/04/2018 @ 3:52am

    Never finished one completely..! It's high on my bucketlist :)

  • Amit Ida artist
    Amit Ida (@Obsidian)
    07/04/2018 @ 3:35pm

    I only filled one.. I always get new sketchbook and never fill them completely :/ Right now I try to fill the second one, my target is to finish it untill inktober!

  • Pat Henzy & Cici Henzy artist
    Pat Henzy & Cici Henzy (@PHenzy) Plus Member
    07/07/2018 @ 3:30pm

    I wish I was better at using/filling sketchbooks. I have tupperware containers full of art. But most sketches end up on napkins, printer paper, or post its.

  • Suzanne Urban artist
    Suzanne Urban (@SuzanneUrbanArt)
    07/07/2018 @ 5:48pm

    Not a lot as I have a tendency to draw on scraps of paper, I think I have around 14 over quite a span of years, I want to do better at this.

  • Terry Horn artist
    Terry Horn (@jinmenju) Plus Member
    07/08/2018 @ 7:54am

    Finished probably 10 or 12, I have a box full of sketchbooks unfinished and at least 1 sketchbook in every room. I have one going right now that I am determined to finish this year, but I always start a new one every school year and that starts at the end of August, so I don't know...

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 7:57pm

    I have well over 100 sketchbooks and journals filled with drawings, collage and writing. 80% are brain dumps so that I can make room for more ideas. I also believe in the power of write it down, make it happen! The other 20% is typically drawings I do to record trips I take and people I see,

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:00pm

    @Darlene no worries! nice that you caught it!

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:01pm

    @suzanne.artist why not glue your scraps into a sketchbook?

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:02pm

    @PHenzy collage these into a sketchbook! I bet it would be great to look at all together!

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:03pm

    @Obsidian one is better than none! ;)

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:04pm

    @jandoodle hey! Let us know when you do fill a whole book! Accountability right here, right now! Go!

  • Suzanne Gibbs artist
    Suzanne Gibbs (@SuzanneGibbsArt)
    07/13/2018 @ 8:05pm

    @Darlene have you ever used your own loose drawings to make collage?

  • rex riley artist
    rex riley (@rexriley) Plus Member
    07/15/2018 @ 12:45pm

    I'm like elle greene 2or 3 a year for 20 years mostly doodles. Ideas. I think I could make a good autobiography with some intense editing. My wife wants to use them for when she's ready to have me committed to the nut house

  • Abby Byers artist
    Abby Byers (@Abby12)
    08/22/2018 @ 6:25pm

    Right now, I have gone through three sketchbooks since May and am on my fourth.

  • Mike Litecky artist
    Mike Litecky (@Twitchyscribs)
    10/05/2018 @ 3:14pm

    Never enough. And since the iPad pro & apple pencil, I've switched my focus from working primarily with pencil in sketchbooks to Procreate on the ipad. My subject matter has typically been people portraits and poses. Right now I'm focusing on being able to draw dogs better. I'd love to be better at backgrounds and landscapes.

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