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  • Writer's pictureDeanna_ThriveArt

Mindful Sketchbook Planning: Creative Ideas for 2024

Many people would have been gifted a brand new sketchbook for the festive season. Whatever the occasion, a crisp blank sketchbook is full of exciting new opportunities, but can be a little overwhelming to start! Planning a mindful purpose for the sketchbook will make it far more likely that you will be full of creative ideas and ready to start. Here are 3 ideas of how to change your mindset about your sketchbook and make it easy to fill.


Sketchbook for Planning:

A common way many experienced artists use a sketchbook is for planning their larger pieces. You can take this idea to give you a clear purpose for filling your sketchbook. Use it as a place to collect all the small bits of inspiration you gain as you go around your life in one place. Fill the pages with quick sketches of compositions (blog post about composition coming soon!), more in depth studies of parts of your piece, colour swatches, small studies of artists you admire, creative mind maps exploring ideas, and more.

Henry Moore Sketchbook Planning Pages
Coalmining Notebook A, 1941-42 Henry Moore. Visit the Henry Moore Foundation for more of his wonderful work.

By having the mindset that you are using the book to plan for the larger “final” piece you eliminate the pressure of the book being a final piece in itself. This will allow you to create with more freedom and more regularly as you will not be held back by the pressure to make each page perfect. I would highly recommend looking at Henry Moore’s planning sketchbooks as inspiration. The energy that his lines have because he worked so quickly, is very inspirational for this approach too.


Mindful Art Practice:

See your sketchbook practice as just that - a practice! A sketchbook is a perfect way to practise a new skill. The added bonus is that you can visually look back over your progress and see your skills improve and develop with each page. This is great for your intrinsic motivation to continue with your sketchbook practice. I would suggest starting with whatever you are inspired to create at the moment. Really interested in dogs, crystals, buildings? Starting with something you are already excited about will make the process much easier.

Hand Drawing in Sketchbook Pencil Tone
When I'm not sure what to draw I always draw my hand. Having it right there is very hand-y!

Just be aware that some styles of art are notoriously more difficult than others. If you are a beginner I would suggest starting with still life objects, particularly natural forms (flowers, leaves, etc.) and move onto portraits when you have more experience and patience with the process of not making perfect art straight away. I have a whole blog post about portraiture coming soon so watch this space! Utilising the mindset of having the sketchbook as somewhere to practise your skills is great for people who like to make habits as you can set aside 30 minutes a few times a week and have a clear focus about how to spend that time.


Creative Journaling:

Art at its core is about expression, and a reminder that your personal sketchbook is personal to you - just like a journal it can be a private space for you to express yourself. We all know the mindful and wellbeing benefits of regular journaling and reflection so, combining this with your art hobby may feel like a logical choice for you. When taking this route allow yourself to really explore expressive art and use colour, shape and line to put your feelings on the page. Add writing to your pages of how your day went.

Coloured Pencil Frog Toy Drawing Museum Sketches
A sketch I made after visiting a toy museum.

Sketch that wonderful cupcake from the cute café you were relaxing in and add colours around the page and notes about how you felt when eating it. This mindset takes the pressure off of creating a piece to show other people and helps you focus on you. Of course you can show any work you want to anyone! In fact, if you would like to share any of your artwork I would love to see it, tag me on Instagram @thriveartofficial or on Facebook: Thrive Art - Buntingford so I can see your lovely work and cheer you on!


The aim of having a purpose to your sketchbook is to make it easier to dip into your art practice. It removes the “but I don’t know what to create” friction that stops many of us creating. Having a mindset shift allows your sketchbook to be a place for you to grow without external pressure to create social-media worthy art. This will do wonders for your practice as art is very much a skill that you need to practise to improve at. In addition, having a record of this progress will be a wonderful memento for years to come.


If this resonated with you and you would like to hear more from me, sign up to the emailer by clicking the button below.

Don't forget to leave a comment down below about how you are going to use your next sketchbook so we can support one another in our goals!

I hope you are having a wonderful day, and don’t forget, everything changes when you choose to Thrive! 

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