How to start sketching more

A few tips for those interested in picking up a sketching habit:

  1. Pick a notebook that you enjoy using, one that you really want to use. I mainly use a Moleskine pocket sketchbook. I have notebooks with better quality paper, but this is  one is just a pure joy for me to use. It’s nice but not so nice that I’m scared of “ruining” it, it’s light and pocketable so I have no excuse not to carry it, and it’s good enough for all the media that I sketch with – pencils, coloured pencils, pens and brush pens.
  2. The medium you use doesn’t really matter, so start with something simple that works with the notebook you picked:
    • Pencil
    • Fineliner
    • Ballpoint pen
    • Brush pen
  3. It doesn’t matter what you draw so long as you draw it.Don’t wait for inspiration or a lofty subject.
    • Every line you draw is already a personal and meaningful thing. Remember that when you feel like giving yourself a hard time.
    • If you’re trying to accurately document something for posterity – take a picture with your smartphone. Sketching and drawing is about making a moment, person, object your own.
    • That being said, give yourself a break and start with the simple – objects without too many finicky details that will stay still while you draw it.
  4. You’re going for quantity first, then quality, as you are trying to build up a habit. Draw a cup of coffee, your midmorning snack, things on your desk, etc.
  5. Challenge yourself to keep it up daily for a month. You can use Streaks to help you keep up the habit.
  6. Don’t compare yourself to others, ever. You don’t know:
    1. How long they’ve been at it.
    2. What training they’ve had.
    3. How many “failures” they didn’t post.
How to start sketching more

Field Notes Signature Plain Paper Sketch Book review

I just received a pack of the Field Notes Signature blank page edition and noticed that on the front of the band it said,”Sketch Book” right below the “Plain Paper”. I opened it up and saw that unlike my beloved Dime Novel edition, these notebooks had no page numbers (a plus for me) and their pages were white and not cream coloured. That made me decide to break them out for a very quick sketching opportunity, to see how well they faired.

The notebook doesn’t open flat, and it tends to want to close on itself, so I used a clip to keep it open when I was sketching. Ideally you’ll need two clips and maybe a backboard of some kind to use it comfortably. The paper, as is normal with sketching paper, doesn’t take washes too well. It’s relatively thin and it buckles pretty easily, so only the lightest of washes should be attempted with it.

The drum set above was sketched with a Sanford No-Blot Pencil. You can see the paper buckling even though very little water was applied with a water brush.

The paper fared better with fine brush pens:

A tiny bit of spread when you lay down the ink too thickly:

Zero complaints when it comes to pencil sketches:

As is to be expected with this kind of paper, it works well with pencils and coloured pencils, having just enough tooth to make it work well with them, but not so great with fine and extra fine fountain pens and thin technical pens.

As you can see above, the Extra Fine Waterman Phileas (with Colorverse Selectron pigment ink) stuttered on the page.

The Signature also suffers from being an awkward size for a sketchbook: too large to be truly pocketable, too small to allow for anything more than tiny, quick sketches.

As a sketchbook, I’d not recommend it. There are better options in the market, ones that open flat, in better sizes, with hardcovers (a plus when sketching on the go), that take washes a bit better than the Signature does.

That being said, it’s a fountain pen friendly Field Notes, and so long as you’re not set on using nibs that in the extra fine realm or using this notebook as your main sketchbook, it’s a nice little thing to carry around and play with. There’s nothing wrong with a notebook that can take a little doodle next to your todo list…


Field Notes Signature Plain Paper Sketch Book review