Fine Art Tutorials

40+ Sketchbook Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

Are you looking for sketchbook ideas to help jump start your creativity? Get inspired to draw and paint with these 40+ fun sketchbook ideas. Find tutorials for each idea so you can create the perfect sketchbook spread, whether you are a beginner or professional artist. 

From nature sketches to figure drawings, there is something for everyone in this list. Get started on your next masterpiece today!

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Sketchbook ideas for complete beginners

For complete beginners, a sketchbook is a place to doodle, improve and express yourself without the pressure of creating a polished looking painting or drawing.

If you don’t know how to get started with a sketchbook, try starting with some simple objects. Find some fruit, or a plant and try drawing what you see in front of you, focussing on the broad shapes and forms.

A good tip is to use some pages for free form expression, some pages for drawing exercises to help you improve and some pages to plan compositions and create studies for larger works you plan to complete.

Drawing sketchbook ideas

Pencil drawing is the easiest medium to get started with. All you need is a pencil, eraser, sharpener and a sketchbook and you’re ready to go!

There’s no end to the possibilities of sketchbook ideas when using pencil as a drawing medium. Here are just a few ideas to get you going:

Draw a portrait with charcoal

Portrait drawing goes hand in hand with charcoal. This is because it’s a blendable medium that can appear soft and subtle, or you can apply pressure to achieve dark shadow values. Charcoal can get quite dusty and potentially transfer onto other pages, so make sure to get some fixative to preserve your drawings . If you’re interested in improving your skills at charcoal drawing , check out our guide!

Draw a charcoal landscape

Drawing a charcoal landscape is a great sketchbook idea, whether you find your references on the field or from photos in the studio. This artist uses charcoal pencils and a tortillion to blend. The great thing about charcoal is the deep values that artists can achieve, without the pencil marks being distorted by a sheen, unlike graphite pencils.

Use brush charcoal

One way of creating incredibly smooth looking blends with charcoal is to get some charcoal powder and brush it on the paper. This technique is especially useful for portrait drawing. To emphasise the shadows, get a charcoal pencil and draw them in. For the lightest highlights, get a small eraser, like the Tombow Mono Zero or a kneadable gum eraser to reveal the brightest areas. 

Draw a tree

If you want to improve your landscape sketching skills, you could practice drawing individual elements like trees or plants individually first. In this video learn how to draw three different trees, including fir trees with graphite pencil.

Draw a rose

A beautiful and easy sketchbook idea, is to fill the page with a rose drawing. Roses are delicate and complex, but also have a lot of symmetry which makes them ideal for beginners. Follow this tutorial to create your own rose sketch.

Start by drawing a simple oval shape in the center of your page. Then draw the petals curling outwards, gradually getting bigger further away from the centre. Shade the inner corners of the petals, where petals above are blocking the light and casting a shadow to give the drawing depth and realism.

Draw a cityscape

Cityscapes are an incredibly fun sketchbook idea, however they are challenging. Use your perspective drawing skills to achieve the correct proportions in the buildings. Choose any city you like, whether that’s a street scene in New York, or your favourite building in London. To draw buildings, you may need some additional tools to help with geometry, like a ruler. 

In this tutorial Alphonso Dunn shows artists how to draw a panoramic city skyline, using ink pen and the hatching technique to create the impression of light and shade. Use an ink pen, like a pigment liner or a fountain pen to create the same effect.

Architectural sketchbook ideas

Teoh Yi Chie creates a wonderful sketch of the Basilica of Superga with a fountain pen and washes of watercolour. He shows artists how to observe the reference and accurately draw angles of the building, to achieve a realistic perspective.

Create a realistic sketchbook drawing with coloured pencils

Oil and wax pencils such as Polychromos and Prismacolors are excellent for creating detailed drawings. They are highly pigmented, layer wonderfully and artists can create clean colour mixes. This is why this particular drawing medium lends itself to realism. If you’re new to realistic drawing, start by drawing a relatively easy subject, such as a leaf. 

One of the most challenging sketchbook ideas is to create a realistic piece. Realistic drawings take time and work, but the results are worth it. If you want to create an ultra polished looking sketchbook that you will keep on a bookshelf for years to come, you can justify spending more time on each of the drawings. Of course, if you really like a drawing you make, you can always remove it from the sketchbook, or scan and print it out to hang on the wall.

Create a pineapple drawing

Create a drawing of a pineapple ! Pineapples have an interesting form, with long leaves and small diamond shaped fruitlets, so they make excellent subjects for practising your drawing skills. For this sketchbook idea, I used a Strathmore Toned Tan book , which has a velvety smooth soft cover and thick pages. The toned paper provides a wonderful base to draw on, it speeds up the drawing process as the mid tone values are already established on the paper. I used a burnt umber Polychromos pencil for the shadows and a white Polychromos pencil for the highlights.

Sketching from photographs

This tutorial from Draw Awesome and Art Tutor aims to help artists simplify a reference by playing down the amount of detail. This is an approach that can save heaps of time whilst drawing. 

When it comes to sketching from photographs, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first is that you should always use a reference photograph that is high quality and has good lighting. This will help you avoid any frustration later on when trying to recreate the image.

Another important tip is to start with the big shapes and work your way down to the smaller details. This will help you create a more accurate sketch and avoid getting bogged down in the small stuff.

And finally, don’t be afraid to experiment! Try different mediums, paper types and techniques until you find something that you love.

Nature sketching

If you love hiking and being outdoors, why not keep a nature journal. Track the plants and animals you see year round, with quick sketches. This is a great way to feel in touch with your surroundings. You can label the flora and fauna you see too! One art supply that is great for travelling with is watercolour markers . The markers pack away small in a case, but you can wet the marks with a brush to create wonderful watercolour effects when you’re on the go, without cleanup or mess.

Create a wildlife drawing with coloured pencils

Because coloured pencils layer so beautifully, they are the perfect medium for creating wildlife drawings. Draw an photo of an animal you find online, draw your pet, a bird, or you could even take a trip to the zoo and draw an animal there. 

Drawing fur is tricky, so watch how Amie Howard Art layers red, orange and brown tones with short pencil marks to create the impression of squirrel fur. 

Fill your sketchbook with gouache paintings

Gouache is a wonderful medium for sketchbook work. It behaves in the same way as watercolour paint, but is is more pigmented and opaque. This means that you can layer paint a bit like acrylic, leaving some of the highlights until last. The benefit of using it for sketchbook work is that it is fast drying and easy to clean. Here are some fun sketchbook ideas to try with gouache paints:

Create a gouache mountain painting

I created this gouache landscape painting from a reference picture I had taken in New Zealand around Queenstown. The Strathmore Visual Journal made for a great cold pressed sketchbook, as the paper is thick and doesn’t buckle under washes. I also used the Introductory set of Winsor & Newton gouache colours .

gouache landscape painting

I started by blocking in the midtones, then working in the shadows and highlights, whilst also building texture of the plants and grasses with the dry brush technique.

Paint a series of tonal portraits

Paint a series of quick portraits and try to use a limited palette for each. Paint in whatever style you like. Use the gouache paints with water to create transparent looking washes, for soft looking gradations in skin tone. Use titanium white for opaque highlights to layer on at the end. 

Paint flowers in your garden

Get outside to your garden, to a park, or you could even buy a bunch of flowers to paint a still life. 

Watch how James Gurney blocks in the broad shapes and tones with gouache, then refines details. Colours that work well for painting bright flower tones include cadmium yellow, cadmium red and magenta or rose red. Mix your green shades from blues and yellows, or buy viridian and sap green tubes. 

Paint a mountain lake reflection

Follow this tutorial to create a mountain lake reflection painting. I start with washes of colour, then build up details, shadows and opaque highlights. To create the texture in the trees and the clouds, I use the dry brush technique. This is a pretty simple technique, where the artist loads their brush with colour, then removes excess moisture on a paper towel. The dry brush will pick up the texture of the paper, creating organic and broken looking brush strokes. For optimum results, if you want to try using this technique, get cold pressed or rough textured sketchbook. 

Paint nature scenes

Paint along with YouTuber Dadozilla and paint some small, cosy nature scenes. If you’re a beginner gouache painter, starting by working on a smaller scale can be really beneficial. This is because you’ll complete the paintings faster and therefore get more practice at painting a variety of scenes. For more gouache painting ideas , check out our guide.

Create a series of illustrations in your sketchbook

Make a series of small illustrations, whether that’s character designs, typographic sketches or other types of graphics. Get creative, drawing a mixture of wildlife, portraits, or sketches entirely from imagination. You could also sketch some fun, bright objects, like a pair of red roller skates or packaging of your favourite sweets. Sometimes with illustrations, the more obscure the sketchbook idea the better. It can help to think of themes, for example, draw a series of haunted houses, or a series of characterful cats.

Try a sketchbook drawing challenge

A great sketchbook idea, if you’ve got a bit of creative block, is to join a drawing or art challenge. You can find drawing challenges online, for example on Instagram by following hashtags. Challenges like these will give you daily prompts, however, if you want to start a daily sketching practice, you can make your own prompts list too!

100 heads in 10 days

Draw 10 heads per day for 10 days. Use whatever medium you like, for example, charcoal, graphite, oil pencils or even marker. You can be as detailed with these head drawings as you like and draw them in whatever style you like. Whether that’s a cartoony style, or more realistic. 

Inktober is one of the most popular drawing challenges, that artists take part in every year in the month of October. It’s super easy to take part, head over to the Inktober website and look at the drawing prompts for each day of the month. Then draw your own interpretation of the prompt. The challenge was set up to encourage artists to improve their skills and start regular drawing habits. However, if daily drawing is too much for you, you could try completing a drawing every other day, or even one per week. Of course, you can use any medium you like, it doesn’t have to be ink pen. Some oil painters take part in Oil-tober, which is a similar daily art making challenge, but with oil paints. Track your progress through the month in your sketchbook and share your results on social media if you feel like it!

Plein air sketchbook ideas

Painting and drawing en plein air is a great way to get inspired and motivated to create. It can be challenging at first, but the results are so worth it.

Here are some tips for painting en plein air:

  •  Choose a subject that is simple and not too busy. A landscape or cityscape with few buildings or people is a good choice.
  •  Find a spot where you can set up your easel and have a good view of your subject.
  •  Start by sketching out the scene with light pencil strokes.
  •  Once you have the basic composition down, start painting in the sky first.
  •  Work on the middle ground next and then the foreground.
  •  Add in any final details and highlights last.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful en plein air sketchbook paintings. So grab your drawing supplies and head outdoors!

Watercolour sketchbook ideas

Watercolour is a beautiful medium to use in your sketchbook. It can be challenging, but the results are so worth it. Here are some watercolour sketchbook ideas to get you started:

Paint a seascape

Seascapes are mesmerizing and peaceful, making them perfect for relaxing and de-stressing. Paint this moody deep blue seascape, using multiples washes and the layering technique. If you want a clean line around your paper, use some masking tape.

Ink and watercolour painting

This is a fun and easy painting technique that produces stunning results. To create an ink and watercolour painting, start by painting your background with watercolour. Once the background is dry, add in some ink details. You can use a pen, like a fountain pen or a pigment liner. This technique is great for drawing buildings, cityscapes and other features that suit being outlined.

Watercolour pencil drawing

This is a great way to add some colour to your sketches. To create a watercolour pencil drawing , start by sketching out the scene with light pencil strokes. Once you have the basic composition down, you can start colouring in the main areas where you want to create washes. Activate the pencil with water. Then for the final details, you can choose to draw over the painting with dry watercolour pencil.

Acrylic painting sketchbook ideas

Acrylic paints are a versatile and fun medium to use in your sketchbook. They can be used for a variety of effects, from bold and bright to soft and subtle. Here are some acrylic painting sketchbook ideas to get you started:

Paint an abstract acrylic piece

Abstract paintings are a great way to experiment with colour and texture . Acrylics dry fast and are water resistant when dry, so layers will not reactivate as they do with watercolour and gouache.

abstract acrylic sketchbook ideas

To paint an abstract acrylic piece, you could first choose a colour scheme . Abstract pieces can look quite effective with limited colour palettes. Experiment with dripping, flicking and scraping the paint. Check out our acrylic painting techniques guide for some alternative ideas.

Paint a relaxing cloudscape

Paint a relaxing cloudscape with acrylics. Acrylic paint is fast drying, so it can be tricky to blend unless you use a medium to slow the drying time. Use this open working medium to increase the working time of the paint. Use a clean soft synthetic brush to blend cloud textures. 

Paint the forest with acrylics

Forests are complex subjects with lots of leaves, trees and foliage details. Approach a complex painting like this by blocking in the broad shapes and colours. Then gradually work in the details and highlights. You don’t need an extra small brush for the leaves, work with a medium square brush to avoid focussing on details too heavily. 

Pen and ink sketchbook ideas

When drawing with marker pen and ink, make sure to get a thick sketchbook that pen won’t bleed through. Smooth paper works best with pens as it allows artists to create fine details and delicate line work.

Create a portrait drawing with copic marker

Create a portrait with copic marker , or Winsor & Newton’s Pro markers . Colours blend beautifully into one another and are best layered from light to dark, similar to watercolour. If you want to create small highlight details you could use a white gel pen. 

Urban sketching with pen and ink

Watch this tutorial to learn how to create accurate urban sketches. Discover fundamental skills like how to compose the drawing, to frame buildings to create areas of interest.

Draw from imagination in your sketchbook

One of the most rewarding things you can do in your sketchbook is to draw from your imagination. This could be any kind of fantasy scene, from a series of characters in a book that you’ve read or some characters that you’ve made up.

If you get stuck, try looking at some reference images to help you get started. Once you have the basic idea down, let your imagination run wild and see where it takes you!

Keep a travel sketchbook

travel sketchbook ideas

If you get the opportunity to travel, take a sketchbook with you! Drawing in a sketchbook in a new location is a great way to make you feel grounded and in touch with new surroundings. It can also attune your artists’ eye and make you look out for interesting scenes.

Pack a sketchbook and some gouache paints while you’re out touring a new city, find somewhere comfortable to sit with your sketchbook and draw or paint scenes you find inspiring. If you want some tips and ideas about how to keep a travel sketchbook , check out our guide.

Create a double page spread

When creating a double page spread, the format of your sketchbook and the binding will affect how your sketchbook page looks. For example, landscape format sketchbooks are great for panoramic scenes. In a spiral bound sketchbook, the wire separates each page. Make sure to get a thread bound book so that the pages sit perfectly next to each other.

Also, think about the composition of the piece. When creating a double page spread, you will want to make sure that the composition of each individual page works well with the other. This means that you should avoid making one page significantly busier than the other, for instance.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you are ready to start creating your double page spread! There are endless sketchbook ideas for double page spreads, including vast cityscapes, imaginary scenes and more!

Warm-ups, drawing and painting exercises

One of the benefits of having a sketchbook is that you can use it to do warm-ups, painting and drawing exercises .

Warm-ups are a great way to get your creative juices flowing and help you to avoid artist’s block.

These exercises are designed to help you improve your skills and techniques, and can be anything from life drawing to trying out different mediums.

There are many different types of warm-up exercises you can do, but some simple ones include:

Speed drawing

Drawing a series of quick sketches of random objects, people or scenes is a great way to get your hand moving and help you to loosen up.

This exercise is also a good way to warm up before starting a more detailed drawing or painting.

To do a speed drawing, set a timer for one minute and then draw whatever comes into your mind.

You can also try two-minute or five-minute drawings if you want to challenge yourself to create more detail in a short space of time.

Once you have completed a series of quick sketches, take some time to review them and see if there are any patterns or themes that emerge.

You can also use these sketches as inspiration for future drawings or paintings.

Gesture drawing

sketchbook ideas themes

Doing some gesture drawings is a good way to improve your figure drawing skills.

To do a gesture drawing, start by finding a subject. This can be anything from a photo in a magazine to a live person or animal.

Don’t worry about getting every detail right, just focus on capturing the overall gesture and motion of the subject.

Create colour swatches

sketchbook ideas themes

A colour swatch is a chart that contains the pigments in your palette painted in a series of small boxes. Label the boxes with the pigment number and colour name for the pure swatches. Optionally, you can create tints and shades of the colours by adding white or black.

Colour mixing chart

Create more colour swatches by mixing pigments together. Colour swatches are a great way of practising colour mixing and getting familiar with the pigments you are using. To create the colour mix swatches, mix up your colours in differing quantities, then label the proportion of colours mixed. You can use these swatches as reference points for when you come to make larger pieces.

Contour drawing

contour drawing exercise

Contour drawing is a great way to improve your observation skills and learn how to capture the essence of an object or subject.

To do a contour drawing, start by finding an object with interesting shapes. It can be anything from a vase to a leaf. Place the object in front of you and look at it closely.

Then, start drawing the outline of the object, starting at the top and working your way around. As you draw, pay attention to the small details and try to capture the essence of the object.

Once you have finished drawing the outline, fill in any details that you see.

Create a composition sketch

A thumbnail sketch is a small drawing that contains the basic elements of your composition. They are generally no bigger than an inch square.

To create a thumbnail sketch, start by brainstorming some ideas for your composition. Once you have come up with a few ideas, begin doing some quick sketches of each one. Think about how you will create a focal point and lead the viewer’s eye in with the positioning of the subject.

Don’t worry about getting the details perfect, just focus on capturing the overall idea of the composition.

Once you have a few thumbnail sketches, take some time to review them and see which one you think has the most potential. You can then use this sketch as a starting point for your larger piece.

Sketchbook cover ideas

Your sketchbook is a reflection of you and your creativity, so make sure to choose a cover that represents that! You can go for a simple and classic look with a black or white cover, or get more creative with patterns, colours and textures.

If your cover has a cotton texture , you could even acrylic paint over it! Prime the surface first with sealant and gesso, then paint your custom design. Wait for it to dry and optionally varnish it.

Mixed media sketchbooks

Creating a mixed media sketchbook is a great way to explore your creativity and experiment with different mediums.

To create a mixed media sketchbook, start by finding a sketchbook that is made from high quality paper. This will ensure that your sketches don’t bleed through to the next page. Once you have found a suitable sketchbook, gather together a selection of mediums that you would like to use. These could be anything from watercolour paints to pastels.

Experiment with different techniques and mediums, and see what you can create! There are lots of mediums that are compatible with one another. For example, you can use oil pastels or soft pastels over watercolour paint. Pastels also go well with matte acrylic, gouache and acrylic gouache.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as this is part of the learning process. The most important thing is to have fun and be creative!

How to use a sketchbook

A sketchbook is completely personal and unique to each artist. Certain artists will want to put more thought and time into each of their drawings and perhaps only use one medium throughout. Whereas other artists will use their sketchbooks for warm up exercises and to doodle to their heart’s content.

The best way to use a sketchbook if you have art block, is to just get started and not worry about messing up! A sketchbook is a place to learn and improve and you don’t have to show anyone else the contents. Your art will improve quickly, if you create a deliberate, focussed and regular drawing practice, with the help of your sketchbook. If you commit to a regular drawing practice, you’ll finish many sketchbooks over the years. Keep hold of your sketchbooks to track your drawing progress. Each sketchbook page doesn’t have to look like a masterpiece when you first start out, but as your skills improve, more pages will showcase your skills and techniques.

Pick the right sketchbook for your art

It’s important to pick the right sketchbook for your needs. If you want to use watercolours , choose a paper that is heavy enough to withstand the wet media without warping or buckling. For pen and ink drawings, you might want a smooth paper so that you can draw details without them being obscured by the paper’s texture. Find the best sketchbooks for artists in our guide.

I hope you found these sketchbook ideas helpful and that they inspire you to create your own art. Happy creating!

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Wow! So many ideas that I haven’t tried before. I will have to save this and return to it.

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50 Drawing Theme Ideas to Brighten Up Your Sketchbook

Drawing themes for 2020

Sketchbook Skool

Do you find yourself constantly asking, “ What should I draw ?”

If you sometimes skip drawing because you dread having to choose a worthy subject, themes might be the solution for you. Even if your main sketchbook doesn’t follow a theme, keeping one or two on the side that sticks to a theme could give you a break from thinking about drawing , and more mental (and physical!) space to actually draw.

Fakulty member Liz Steel paraphrases Buddha when she says, “The creative journey is more important than the traveling.” So worry less about producing a flawless book of perfect drawings, and focus more on drawing as much as you can! See below for some themes that might spruce up your sketchbook or take you in a new direction.

50 Drawing Theme Suggestions for sketchbook:

  • Illustrated poetry (your own or your favorites written by other people)
  • Handlettered quotes
  • Illustrated recipes
  • Painting the sky (this is fun to see progression through the seasons)
  • Self-portraits
  • Continuous line drawings
  • Sketches On-the-go (tiny sketchbook that will fit in your bag)
  • Experiment with materials (only new things you have never tried before)
  • Cars/vehicles/ things that go
  • Sketches in public
  • Exploring your neighborhood
  • Watercolour-only
  • Black ink only
  • Reduced palette or pick one color to stick to.
  • Meals (drawing the actual finished plate, not the recipes)
  • Your pet(s)
  • Gesture drawings / Body language (strangers or
  • Buildings and Architecture
  • Objects you use every single day
  • Copy exercises of favorite artists
  • Dip pens-only (or other objects like sticks or reeds that aren’t pens)
  • Record the things you choose to eat to track your diet
  • One Sketch A Day
  • Feet or hands or one specific body part as your focus (imagine a sketchbook filled with noses!)
  • Urban Sketches
  • Shoes or an accessory you collect like bags or jewelry
  • Things around the house (Draw your messes instead of cleaning them up!)
  • What you wore today
  • (Grand)kids
  • Grocery lists
  • A shared family sketchbook
  • Blind contour drawings
  • Kitchen items (or items limited to your favorite place in the home- like hardware items from the garage or toiletries from the bathroom)
  • Drawing from the TV
  • Maps (of your home, the places you go, of your mind…)
  • Drawing from imagination
  • Drawing memories
  • Ballpoints-only
  • Drawings from (old) family photos
  • Drink and draw – combine meeting friends and sketching

What are some themes you have used in your sketchbooks?

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365 Drawing Ideas for Your Sketchbook

Need some ideas for what to draw in your sketchbook? This list of 365 drawing ideas is sure to inspire you to doodle, draw, or sketch something every single day of the year!

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Need some ideas for what to draw in your sketchbook? This list of 365 drawing ideas is sure to inspire you to doodle, draw, or sketch something every single day of the year whether you use ink, pen, pencil or charcoal to create.

You can choose whether to draw one drawing a day, go in the list in order, or simply skip around and choose the ones you like best!

sketchbook ideas themes

Here are 365 Drawing Ideas to Inspire:

1. view from the park.

sketchbook ideas themes

Parks are great sources of inspiration for drawing. Snap a few of your own reference photos of monuments, benches, and scenes that capture your eye or spend some time in the park with your sketchbook drawing the different scenes you notice.

2. Hot Air Balloon

sketchbook ideas themes

Hot air balloons are mesmerizing to watch in the sky and can be a beautiful and whimsical thing to learn how to draw. While it’s not too common anymore to see one floating past you in real-life, there are MANY photos out there that you can use as a reference.

sketchbook ideas themes

Snap a photo of yourself or try drawing yourself while you look in a mirror.

sketchbook ideas themes

You might see leaves on the ground during autumn or notice them on trees in the spring and summer. Choose a few different leaf shapes to draw.

sketchbook ideas themes

They say once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget – so why not try the same thing with learning to draw a bicycle? You can make it realistic or simply create a fun doodle.

6. Hedgehog

sketchbook ideas themes

Hedgehogs are adorable spiny creatures most commonly found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand. Draw one today!

7. Baseball and/or Baseball Glove

This was actually an assignment we had in high school to practice realistic sketching and shading using nothing more than a #2 pencil!

8. Fruit Bowl

The classic fruit bowl still life might not sound like the most creative idea for drawing, but have you tried it? You might just be surprised. You could also draw a still life of bananas, oranges, apples, or grapes.

9. Tropical Fish

sketchbook ideas themes

There are so many types of tropical fish to consider as an idea for things that are easy to draw – choose from an angel fish, a clown fish or even maybe a butterflyfish!

10. Skyscrapers

We see so many great examples of skyscraper architecture in our cities that there are endless sources of inspiration for types of skyscrapers you could draw. Take your sketchbook out locally to a city near you, or spend some time drawing iconic skyscrapers such as the Bank of China Tower, the Taipei 101, or the Chrysler Building.

Dragons are mythical creatures that have been a drawing subject since ancient times. Draw a dragon with a knight in shining armor, a Chinese dragon, or maybe even a friendly dragon that helps you roast marshmallows.

sketchbook ideas themes

Unlock the power of your creativity by drawing some keys! You can choose to draw old fashioned skeleton keys or draw a sketch of the keys out of your purse or your house key.

13. Volcano

Have you ever seen a volcano in real life? Even if you’ve only seen one in movies or in photographs they can be fascinating subjects for art and sketching.

14. Sail Boat

Sailboats are often see on lakes and at marinas and can have all sorts of beautiful designs on the sails.

Draw a teddy bear, a brown bear or a grizzly bear – your choice!

Lay down on a blanket in your yard or at a park and spend some time cloud-gazing for inspiration on what to draw.

17. Family Member

You can have a family member pose while you create a portrait sketch of them, or draw a portrait based on a photo of someone you know.

What can I say about sharks? They have big teeth, they live in the ocean, and they can be very fun and popular to draw.

19. Feather

sketchbook ideas themes

Birds of a feather…are a great thing to draw! You can make them icon style, or try to recreate a realistic feather on paper.

20. T-Shirt

Surely you have a t-shirt in your closet that would make for a great subject for drawing.

21. The Kitchen

Kitchens are where food is made and are often overlooked as the perfect place to sketch to get a glimpse into your everyday life.

22. Satellite:

Satellites are constantly in orbit around our earth, and they are very interesting looking items with many different geometric lines to use to build your drawing skills.

23. Penguin

Penguins are seabirds that live in mostly cold climates. They don’t fly but they sure do love to swim!

24. Fashion Sketch

What’s trending in the fashion world? Come up with your own fashion designs or take inspiration from some of the leading fashion designers to create your own fashion sketches.

The best part about aliens as a drawing idea? You can make them look like almost anything your imagination can think of, since it is very rare to actually see them in real-life.

26. Pirate Ship

Ahoy Matey! Pirate ships are a great thing to draw in your sketchbook and can be realistic or make your own cartoon.

27. Skateboard

The nice thing about drawing a skateboard is its not nearly as intimidating as trying to actually ride a skateboard.

Celebrate today by drawing a beautiful cake! You can choose how many layers, what kind of icing, and what type of topper fits the occasion. There are so many ideas to draw for what kind of cake you make!

29. Butterfly

There are so many different kinds of beautiful butterflies you could draw, such as monarchs or swallowtail butterflies.

30. Race Car

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Vroom vroom, race cars are designed for speed. Draw your favorite kind of race car, whether it’s an old fashioned derby style car or a racecar fit for Nascar tournament.

If you have a cat you can draw a portrait of your own pet or of course you could make a cartoon cat – we all know and love Garfield the Cat and his affinity for lasagna.

With over 190 registered dog breeds by the American Kennel Club you could almost make it a daily challenge just to draw a different type of dog.

33. Super Hero

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s super man! Draw one of your favorite super heroes or create your own!

34. Cup of Coffee or Tea

If you’re going to drink coffee or tea every day, you might as well sketch it, right? Not a coffee or tea drinker? You can always sketch a glass of water.

35. Dinosaur

Dinosaur…roar! Draw a T-rex, a brontosaurus, a triceratops, pterodactyl or a velociraptor if you wish – there are so many great dinosaurs to choose from as sketchbook inspiration!

36. Web Icons

Web icons have become so common place we see them everywhere online. Sketch some icons for your favorite social media channels or visit a site like flaticon.com  for inspiration!

Pizza can be a lot of fun to draw, especially because you get to choose the toppings! Will you make it a veggie pizza, pepperoni pizza or maybe a Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham?

38. Dandelions

Every kid knows if you blow on a dandelion and make a wish your wish will come true, much to the dismay of gardeners everywhere who view them as weeds. These edible flowers make for a great easy drawing idea.

39. Hair Styles

Draw a braid, an up-do, or even crazy Medusa inspired snake hair if you wish.

40. Necklace, Bracelet or Rings

Jewelry can be a very interesting thing to sketch or draw, especially if the jewelry has special meaning to you, such as a necklace or ring passed on through your family or given to you by someone special.

41. Ice Cream Cone

Ice cream comes in all sorts of different flavors, and of course there are many different shapes and sizes of cones to choose from, whether its a cake cone, a sugar cone or a waffle cone!

42. Aquarium

Aquariums are beautiful habitats for all sorts of fish and can include plants or even decorative items.

43. Haunted House

It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy drawing a spooky and haunted house. Don’t forget details like cracked windows and bent railings – and maybe even a few spirits peeking through.

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Whether you draw a beautiful covered bridge scene or a bridge that goes over a river or harbor through the city, bridges give you plenty of architectural inspiration to use as drawing ideas!

45. Crazy Hats

Go ahead, give yourself permission to be a mad hatter and design as many crazy hats as you can think of!

46. Chevron Patterns

Chevrons are fun to draw and there are so many different pattern variations you can try!

You could draw a chandelier, a bedside table lamp, or maybe even a lava lamp!

48. Cruise Ship

Cruise ships are designed to take tourists to view the sights and scenes along the ocean coast. Draw the view from the deck or draw the view from one you can see passing by on the coast.

49. Planets in Outer Space

Draw a single planet like Mars, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Neptune or Jupiter – or draw the whole solar system!

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They say eyes are the window of the soul, and it’s true you can learn a lot about a person’s feelings and thoughts based on how their eyes look. Draw your own eyes or draw the mesmerizing eyes of different animals.

51. Caricature

A caricature is a type of cartoon drawing where something about the subject is exaggerated to be funny. For example, if your friend loves to knit or crochet, you might exaggerate the ball of yarn in their hand. Use this drawing idea to make a funny sketch of your friends, family members or even a pet or celebrity.

Everybody needs shoes to walk around, so go ahead and grab the pair of shoes you wear everyday and sketch them!

53. Dream Catcher

Dream catchers are designed to catch bad dreams and keep nightmares away. They are a lot of fun to draw!

54. Rocket Ship

Fly to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far away in your very own rocket ship you can design with this simple idea for drawing.

55. House Plants

Whether it’s a succulent, an aloe vera plant, or a terrarium, if you have anything green growing in your house it can be an excellent source of inspiration for drawing ideas.

56. Inspiring Quote

Practice your hand-lettering by illustrating one of your favorite quotes, sayings, or verse from a poem.

Guitars are stringed instruments that can instantly make us tap our feet and sing along. You can choose to sketch an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar.

58. Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees are the type of trees that lose their leaves in the winter. Examples include oak trees, maple trees, cherry trees, and ash trees. You can choose what season to show the tree – is it spring, winter, summer or autumn?

59. Circus Clown

Clowns can be funny, happy, sad…or even scary! You get to decide which you wish to draw with this drawing prompt.

60. Fairy Tale

Illustrate a scene from your favorite fairy tale. Some examples include Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, or Hansel and Gretel.

Bottles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You could draw a message in a bottle, soda bottles, apothecary bottles and more.

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62. What You Last Ate:

What you last ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner is a simple and obvious drawing idea, but so few people think to actually do it and is a great idea for something to include in a sketchbook.

63. Parrot:

Parrots are colorful and tropical birds, so pull out the colored pencils or some inks to make this come alive in your journal.

What is your favorite book? You could choose to draw a stack of books or draw the cover of a recent book you’ve read and enjoyed. 

65. Elephants

They say an elephant never forgets, and if you draw one you will have a picture to remember an elephant by forever!

66. Camping Scene

Whether you want to draw a travel trailer or a tent, sketch a camping scene. Don’t forget the campfire and marshmallows!

Tigers are big cats with interesting black and orange striped patterns, making them the perfect subject for a page in your sketchbook.

Cartoon-like roses can be easy to draw – they are just a spiral and a circle. Or, challenge your skills to draw a life-like rose complete with petals and stem – just watch out for those thorns!

Zebras are native to Africa and are another interesting animal to draw that are best well known for their black and white stripes.

70. Monster

Could there be a monster hiding under your bed, or in your closet? Probably not, but you never know – which is why you should draw a bigger, more friendlier monster to protect you and scare away all other monsters.

You might remember globes from school and they make for fantastic drawing objects, especially if you are a travel or geography buff.

72. Staircase

We see steps everywhere in regular life, whether it’s in your house, in a park, or maybe even a spiraling staircase along a water tower like in the photo above I took at a nearby park by my house.

73. Peacock

My grandparents used to have peacocks when I was a kid, and they are absolutely beautiful and incredible birds with detailed feathers that are perfect for drawing!

74. The Ocean

You could create an under water scene complete with coral and sea creatures like whales, an octopus and more.

75. Crocodile or Alligator

Crocodiles have a longer, V-shaped snout, while alligators have broad U shaped snouts. Either way, you could draw a snapping good crocodile or alligator in your journal – maybe even both!

76. A Clock

What’s the time? There’s always time to draw something daily! Draw a clock tower, a grandfather’s clock, or an alarm clock.

77. Gumball Machine

A gumball machine can be a lot of fun to draw, and of course there is no rule you have to fill it with gumballs – you can always choose to fill it with a different type of candy, it is your drawing afterall!

78. Giraffes

Known for their long necks, make sure you don’t forget their third horn at the top of their heads. We love visiting the giraffes named Louis and Socks at the local zoo where we live.

79. Bubbles

Bubbles make for a great ideas for what to draw, especially because they are relatively easy for beginners and you could fill a whole page with bubbles in no time!

80. Sports Player

Do you have a favorite sport? Sketch a player in action whether its soccer, baseball, football, hockey or badminton.

81. Airplane

There are so many options for what you could draw with an airplane, whether its the plane’s exterior, the interior, the view from the window, or even possibly the pilot’s cockpit.

82. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are bright, cheerful, and one of my favorite flowers to see standing tall in the summer sun.

83. Mountains

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Try your hand at this idea for drawing mountains by sketching a Rocky Mountain or Appalachian mountain landscape.

84. Bath Tub

Rub-a-dub Dub, draw a bathtub! Don’t forget your rubber duckie!

There are so many great herbs that you can use for drawing. If you grow your own fresh herbs, set them up in a way you can sketch them as a real subject or use reference photos for herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme.

86. Family heirlooms

Family heirlooms are always special, and what better way to preserve them than to sketch them in your art journal?

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If you’re a lucky duck, you might even be able to see these water birds at a nearby park or lake by you, but plenty of reference photos abound – you can even use the photo I took of a duck here if you’d like as inspiration!

88. Wildflowers

Draw a beautiful landscape meadow of wildflowers, or take inspiration from botanists through history who meticulously sketched and documented wildflowers in the field.

Someone once told me I didn’t draw a very serious spider, so I gave this spider a briefcase, neck tie and his own private office with a certificate just to prove how serious he was.

90. Drawing Supplies

You already have the perfect subject for drawing in your hand – a pen, pencil, bottle of ink or charcoal set all make for great things to draw.

Fairies are enchanting, tiny human-like creatures that have wings and can fly.

92. Woodland Animals

Draw a deer, a raccoon, a fox, a squirrel, or other woodland animals with this drawing idea.

93. Hippie Van

While you may not be able to actually own and live in a hippie van, you can draw one and that’s the next best thing.

94. Ostrich

Ostriches are fun to draw – and you can decide whether or not it sticks its head in the sand! {Of course, they don’t *actually do this* but that’s the nice thing about drawing, you can use your imagination!}

Whether it is just a slice of your favorite kind of pie or the whole thing, your mouth will be watering by the time you are done drawing this one!

Eggs are a great way to practice your shadowing and depth in drawing. And don’t think you’re limited to just plain white eggs like you get at the grocery store – you can always make them different hues and sizes or decorate with patterns and shapes!

Grab a dollar bill or some loose change and try drawing it. This is a great way to practice shading, depth and more if you want to create realistic drawings.

98. Cooking Utensils & Kitchen Gadgets

Don’t use your blender that often? It’s the perfect opportunity to finally put it to use as a drawing subject! You could also sketch your pots and pans, eating utensils, or other kitchen gadgets you have around the house.

99. Your House

Where we live makes for an excellent idea of what to draw, and you can choose whether to draw the interior or the exterior.

Old fashioned radios are fascinating objects, and many times they still work even in today’s world of digital media. Go for a classic vintage radio, or maybe even draw a 90’s style boombox.

101. Fast Food

You know the drill: soda, burger and fries.

We have smart phones with us almost every day – why not draw it in your sketchbook and document that? Or, draw an old rotary phone for a throwback to the days before cell phones existed.

You could draw a hammer, screw driver, drill, saw, wrench or draw the whole toolbox.

104. Arrows

There are so many different styles of arrows you could try drawing, whether you make arrow doodles or draw a realistic bow and arrow set.

105. Jelly Beans

Known for their unique shape, multiple colors and best found in Easter baskets, jelly beans are a great idea for something to draw!

106. Game Controller

Are you a gamer? Whether it’s Play Station, X-Box, a Gaming Keyboard, or an old school Atari controller, draw a game controller that reminds you of your favorite video games.

107. Soup Can

Take inspiration from Andy Warhol and try your hand at drawing a soup can.

108. Fireworks

Let your paper be the sky for a colorful display of patterns of light.

109. Forest Scene

Think trees, moss covered rocks and maybe even a stream winding through a forest scene perfect for a landscape sketch.

110. Astrological Signs & Symbols

What’s your sign? You could draw a Pisces fish, the Scales of Libra, the Scorpion of Scorpio or the Archer of Sagittarius for example.

111. Banners

Banners are a lot of fun to draw and you can make them as whimsical as you wish. I love drawing banners in my art journals!

112. Wristwatch

Do you wear a watch? Whether its a smartwatch or a classic watch you wind up, draw a wristwatch in your sketchbook.

113. Nuts, Bolts & Other Hardware

Take a walk down a hardware aisle or go through your garage to find nuts, bolts, and other miscellaneous hardware to sketch and draw.

114. Typewriter

There is something cool about a typewriter, even if they don’t make much sense in today’s digital age…they are definitely fun to draw!

115. Bunnies or Rabbits

Bunnies and rabbits are cute, soft and fluffy. I used to have one as a kid!

Ivy is a plant that spreads, often times along a wall, window or trellis and is best known for beautiful leaf shapes – perfect for drawing in your sketchbook!

117. Machines

We see all kinds of machines in our daily lives – from the washing machine, to the dishwasher to the furnace that keeps our homes warm. You could also invent your own machine!

118. Garden Tools

A garden shovel, gloves, trowel etc are all examples of common garden tools that make the perfect subject for still life drawing ideas.

119. City Skylines

Draw a silhouette of a city skyline, whether it is a local city where you live or one you want to visit someday.

120. What’s on your desk?

Take a look at what is on your desk today and sketch it – no matter how messy your desk may be!

121. Pineapple

Pineapples were named pine apples because of their exterior resembles a pine cone. Often viewed as a symbol of friendship, these tropical fruits are the perfect thing to try drawing!

122. Hearts

You can choose to draw doodle hearts, or draw an anatomically correct depiction of a human heart.

The first steam train was invented in 1804 and many people were afraid to ride them. Today, trains are still used for transportation and shipping. You can make a passenger train or a cargo train. Draw a single box car, the engine, or the caboose!

124. Lawnmower

My husband is always talking about fixing his broken lawnmower, so I had to include it on this list. You can draw a riding mower or a push mower or even a commercial lawnmower.

125. Hourglass

An hourglass is a type of sand filled timer which you’ve probably seen more often in board games.

126. Scissors

A basic and important office supply, drawing realistic scissors can be more challenging than you might think!

127. Mailbox

Everybody gets mail, so why not sketch your mailbox?

128. Ticket

Have you recently gone to an event where you needed a ticket? Draw or sketch that ticket in your sketchbook.

129. Circles

Circles might seem like a mundane drawing idea, but there are so many great ideas for drawing circular patterns and different circle sizes!

If you are lucky enough to have a grape vineyard nearby, you can find a LOT of inspiration to sketch and draw vines! Many different types of vines also grow on trees.

X-rays allow us to see inside someone or something. You can draw an X-ray view of a person or an object.

132. Tunnels

Tunnels are a great way to practice drawing perspective, especially if you are drawing the view from the beginning to the end of a tunnel.

133. People at Work

Millions of people go t work every single day. This could be construction workers, people in your office, or even the cashiers at the store.

134. Ladders

Ladders are another great exercise for drawing perspective. There are also many different kinds of ladders – from step ladders to paint ladders to imaginary ladders that climb all the way to the clouds.

135. Playground

Draw a swingset, sliding board, the view in the sandbox at a nearby park or playground where you live.

136. Swirls

Swirls are fun to draw and can be highly meditative and addictive! Fill a page with swirls or practice drawing some swirly flourishes.

137. Dancing

Draw people who are dancing, and be sure their clothes and dance moves reflect the type of music they are dancing to!

138. Sunglasses or Eyeglasses

Set up a pair of your sunglasses or eyeglasses on a table and start sketching them.

139. Hills & Valleys

Rolling hills and valleys can give a typical landscape sketch a lot of visual interest.

140. Rocks & Stones

Are you a rock collector? Have you ever been to a rocky beach or noticed rocks along the shore of a river? Take some time to draw the details of rocks or stones.

Good fences make good neighbors, according to poet Robert Frost. They also make for great drawing subjects, whether it’s a white picket fence, a split rail fence or a wrought-iron fence.

142. Triangles

There are so many different kinds of patterns you can create just with a simple triangle!

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Moo! Cows can be found on farms around the world and are a great animal to try drawing – this sketch of a baby calf is so cute!

There are over 6,300 known species of frogs in the world, which means you have a lot of choices on what kind of frog to draw! Draw a tree frog, a bullfrog, an African claw frog, or other frog of your choosing.

145. Spool of Thread & Other Sewing Notions

Do you have a sewing box? A simple spool of thread and other sewing notions can make for a great still life.

146. Tomato

Some people love tomatoes, others could leave them. Either way, they make for a n excellent drawing subject.

147. Squares and Rectangles

Drawing squares and rectangles gives you plenty of opportunities to discover new patterns in your doodles. Tip: For straight lines, use a ruler!

148. Tea kettle

How about a nice relaxing cup of tea? Sketch a tea kettle in your journal.

149. Lightbulb

The symbol for creativity and ideas, light bulbs are an invention we still rely on heavily today. Try drawing something inside of a lightbulb for an illuminating challenge.

150. Party Supplies

What do you need to throw a party? You could draw party hats, noise makers, or keep it simple with just party foods.

151. Railroad tracks

Railroad tracks are very dangerous to be around, so I do not suggest trying to go near them for sketching, but there are many pictures you can use as reference and they are great practice for perspective.

Porches are welcoming gathering places for company and the perfect scene to sketch.

153. Rainbow

Rainbows are easy to draw and a great excuse to pull out the colored pencils. An easy way to remember the order of the colors is the acronym Roy G. Biv: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

154. Lemonade Stand

Every kid dreams of having a lemonade stand someday, and now is your chance to finally design the lemonade stand of your dreams.

Do you play piano? You can choose to draw a close-up of the keys, someone playing the piano, an upright piano, or a baby grand piano.

156. Hallways

Interior hallways can be a great way to practice drawing perspective, especially if the hallway has a lot of doors or wall decor.

157. Watch Gears

What’s inside a watch? Lots of little gear parts that make for fun and easy drawing ideas.

It doesn’t have to be taco tuesday to draw a taco. Fill up that shell with all your favorite ingredients and toppings!

159. Paint & Paint Brush

Pull out your paints and paint brushes to set up a still life scene of an artist at work.

160. Faces With Different Emotions

So often in portraits we see people happy – try drawing faces with different emotions such as angry, sad, frustrated, or calm.

161. Dishes

Dishes can have all sorts of different patterns and styles that can make for fantastic creative inspiration.

162. Fountain

Whether its an outdoor or indoor fountain, there are all sorts of interesting details to capture when drawing a fountain.

163. Puzzle Pieces

Puzzles are always entertaining. Grab a puzzle off your game shelf and scatter a few pieces around to sketch and draw.

164. Monkey

You probably can’t have a pet monkey like Curious George in real life, but you can always draw a character of your own.

165. Angels

Angels are majestic divine beings of light, and a fantastic source of inspiration for sketching and drawing.

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One of the nice things about drawing hands is you always have a realistic model attached to you! Try different poses or holding different objects.

167. Pair of Socks

Do you have a pair of crazy socks? You can sketch a pair of socks you already own, or make your own crazy sock designs.

168. Bag or Purse

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We use bags all the time in our everyday life, whether it’s a shopping bag or a purse where you keep your keys, wallet and more. Draw the bag itself or draw a fashion sketch of a person wearing a bag.

169. Umbrella

Rainy days are a lot more bearable when you have a good umbrella to keep you dry!

170. Beach Scene

The beach is a relaxing and serene place to sit with a sketchbook and sketch the sights.

171. Bowling Ball and Pins

Bowling can be a lot of fun, and drawing a bowling ball and pins makes for a good drawing exercise.

172. Roller Coaster

Do you have a favorite rollercoaster ride? You can draw a lifelike imitation of a rollercoaster you love, or design your own with plenty of ups, downs, twists and turns.

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We often associate witches with mean and scary looking old ladies, but Glenda the Good witch from the Wizard of Oz reminds us that not all witches are bad.

174. Headphones

Love listening to music? Don’t forget to sketch your headphones.

Are ghosts real? What do they look like? Now is your chance to draw one!

176. Paper Clips

Pull out a handful of paper clips from your office desk and sketch them.

177. King or Queen

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You can draw a king or queen from history, or even imagine yourself as king or queen for the day.

178. Graffiti

Graffiti is a unique form of art and perfectly legal when done on paper.

179. Ladybugs

Ladybugs are cute beneficial insects in any garden.

180. Abstract Line Art

Use this as a chance to draw stripes or have fun with experimenting with different line angles on paper.

181. Mermaid

Fictional characters that live under the sea, mermaids have captivated the imagination of sailors and storytellers for ages.

Do you have any toys from your childhood? Pull them out and sketch them.

183. Junk Drawer

Everybody has a junk drawer – that place where stuff just ends up somehow. Go through your junk drawer and pick a couple of random objects to draw.

184. Highway road

Have you been on a any recent road trips lately? Highway roads are always an interesting thing to draw.

185. Backpack

What’s in your backpack? Whether you’re a hiker or a student or carry your laptop in a backpack, there’s plenty of different styles and shapes to choose from to draw!

186. Mushrooms

Did you know there are over 10,000 different types of mushrooms? That gives you a LOT of options for what to draw, whether you draw realistic mushrooms or fantasy style mushrooms in an enchanted forest.

187. Cactus

Whether you have a cactus growing at home or want to take inspiration from a desert landscape, cacti make for excellent drawing subjects.

188. Turtle

Don’t be shy – draw a turtle! You can make it realistic, cartoonish, or somewhere in between.

189. Seashells

Seashells are abundant in the world and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, giving you plenty of creative options to explore when it comes to drawing them.

190. Photo Frames

Every piece of art needs a good frame, and this is a great prompt to make doodle frames or draw ornate frames inspired from vintage and antique photograph displays.

Where does the gate lead? You can draw a garden gate, a gateway to a new portal or maybe a gate to a haunted and spooky hollow.

192. Vegetables

Don’t want to eat your vegetables? Draw them instead!

I am always fascinated by the details in patchwork quilts. You can try drawing different quilt block designs, or even take inspiration from a crazy quilt with elaborate stitching and embroidery embellishing each patch!

194. Sunrise/sunset

The sun rises and sets every single day and that itself is pretty amazing! What’s a drawing prompt list without a sunset or sunrise?

You can draw your state or country’s flag, or choose to draw different flags from around the world.

There are many different types of bells, from bell towers to school bells to jingle bells.

197. Potato Chips

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Are you in need of a snack? Next time you reach for that bag of potato chips, sketch it!

198. Your Closet

Open up your closet doors and sketch a scene of your current wardrobe. Hopefully you won’t find too many skeletons in there!

199. Vintage Photographs

Old vintage photos make for great drawing reference photo idea, especially when they feature historical lifestyles.

Heat things up by drawing flames or fire. You can draw a campfire, a fire in a fireplace, or flames surrounding another object.

201. Raindrops

Raindrops are their very own shape, and there are so many different ways you could interpret this! You could make raindrop patterns, or try to realistically capture what raindrops may look like on a pane of glass or when they fall and hit the ground.

Your choice – make a map of where you live, somewhere you’ve visited, or maybe even a map of a completely fictional and imaginary fantasy world.

203. Optical illusions

Optical illusions play with lines, shadows, and depth to create images that aren’t always what they appear to be. Play around with different ideas until you get a drawing that makes you look twice.

204. Snowman

Do you want to draw a snowman? You can make your snowman as elaborate or as simple as you’d like!

205. Steampunk

Steampunk is a type of science fiction where everything is steam powered. Think gears, flying contraptions, and all sorts of odd inventions. Prefer figure drawing? You could also draw people in steampunk attire!

206. Seagulls

These birds may be noisy, squacky, and annoying to deal with at the beach, but they are still beautiful to look at and the perfect subject for drawing.

207. Computer

We spend enough time at the computer, so take a break from the digital world and get out that sketchpad!

208. Chickens

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Chickens come in all sorts of varieties – the American Poultry Association recognizes over 50 different breeds of chickens. You can choose to make this as simple or as complex as you wish!

209. Historic Scene

Scenes from history are always fun to illustrate, especially if you choose to depict a time before cameras were invented, which was in 1816.

210. The library

Go visit your local library and bring your sketchbook! You can choose to sketch the outside of the building or sit at a table where you can get a good view of the rows and rows of books.

211. Your grocery store

Shopping for food is an everyday necessity, and chances are you’ve been to the grocery store at least once in the past year. Draw some of the aisles, a grocery display case, or draw the exterior of the building.

212. Jar of Something

Everything in mason jars is all the rage in decor, or maybe you’re like me and love a jar of bread and butter pickles or homemade jam.

213. Numbers

You don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate there are so many different ways to draw numbers! Practice hand-lettering in different styles or use basic numbers as a base for more elaborate doodles.

214. Your Bed

Researchers estimate the average person spends about 26 years of our lives in bed…which is a LOT of time sleeping! Give your bed its proper tribute by illustrating it in your sketchbook.

215. Impossible World

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Maybe there’s an imaginary world where fish fly in the sky, or the moon is underwater…invent an imaginary fantasy world and draw it!

216. Speech Bubbles

How do you convey spoken words in your drawings? With speech bubbles of course! You can draw them comic book style or practice creating new patterns using a basic speech bubble shape.

217. Farm or Barn Scene

The Barn is an iconic image of the countryside, and no wonder – these giant buildings serve as a place to store farm equipment and provide shelter to animals. Draw a barn!

218. Labyrinth

A labyrinth is a meandering path that leads to the center of a shape. Traditionally circular in nature, they are often used in common times for reflection and meditation.

Go fly a kite! And if there’s no wind or you don’t have a kite, you can always draw one! Again, there are so many different shapes and types here to choose from!

220. Astronaut

Remember that rocket ship you drew in prompt number 54? What about the person flying that thing? Draw a picture of the astronaut brave enough to travel in your spacecraft.

Balls of yarn can be a fun challenge to draw, especially when you get into different types of hand spun yarns or art yarn!

Go ahead, take a chance…and draw some dice! Did you know there are more dice than just the average 6-sided dice? They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as I learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons.

223. Pumpkins

You can draw a pumpkin patch, a fall themed still life display, or maybe even carve out a face on your pumpkin and create a jack-o-lantern!

224. Flooring

Have you ever spent time staring at the floor? I know that sounds sarcastic, but you might just be surprised how many different textures and patterns exist on what we walk all over every single day.

225. Scene from a Dream

Have any crazy dreams lately? Illustrate a scene from a dream in your sketchbook. Bonus? You can interpret what that dream means based on the image you drew!

Imagine a bench. Who is sitting on it? Draw it!

227. Garden

There are so many different things you can draw for a garden, whether its a vegetable garden or a flower garden or maybe just a peaceful place outside surrounded by plants.

228. Blue Jeans

Get a pair of blue jeans out from your closet and try putting them in different poses on a table or the floor and draw what you see.

229. Wild West Scene

Cowboys, outlaws, and a good saloon make for the perfect backdrop for a wild west scene you could draw.

230. Children playing

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Kids are always a source of inspiration to draw, especially when they are playing.

231. Silhouette

Silhouettes are outlines of an object, person or place. Try drawing silhouettes of people in different poses, or draw silhouettes of everyday objects around the house.

Hopefully there are no mice in your house – but they are cute, when they don’t sneak up on you! You could draw a realistic mouse, or draw personified mice characters who live in their own burrow in a meadow.

233. Baby/Infant

Like kids, babies are another great source for portrait photos. You can use a baby you know as inspiration, or dig out those old photos of you as a baby when you were new to this world.

I’d never want to see a hippo close in real life {I hear they can be very aggressive and dangerous!} but I’m definitely okay with drawing them!

When the cold wind blows you get ice! You can draw icicles hanging from the eaves of a roof, or maybe even ice cubes that are guaranteed not to melt.

236. Favorite Animated/Cartoon Character

sketchbook ideas themes

When I was in the second grade I was so lucky to take a cartooning class where I learned to draw Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and more. Do you have a favorite cartoon character or anime character? Try to draw them as close as the original as you can.

237. Camera

So often as artists we use reference photos to inspire our work, but we forget the camera itself can be a great drawing idea!

238. Mad Scientist’s Lab

Think bubbling potions, beakers, and oh my, what’s that monster doing under the sheet over there in the corner?

239. Wood Texture

Wood grain can be a beautiful texture to draw, especially in pencil, ink, or charcoal. There are so many options for patterns and shading!

240. Gnomes

Who doesn’t love garden gnomes? Maybe they’re tacky, but I think they’re the perfect thing to draw – especially if you draw them in different clothes and styles.

241. Life Underground

Most of the time we think about life on the surface of earth, but there’s all sorts of things that happen underground, from coal mines to subway train stations to fault lines and magma…what world do you imagine? Draw it!

Ever hear the phrase, I’m all ears? Now’s your chance to illustrate it!

We drive in cars every day and there are so many different types we see on the road. You can choose to draw your first car, your current car, or the cars you see passing by on the street near where you live.

244. Holiday scenes

There’s so many holidays we celebrate around the world – you can choose from Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Fourth of July or maybe even St. Patrick’s Day.

245. Song Lyrics

Do you have a favorite song? Illustrate a scene from the song, or practice your hand-lettering by drawing a quote of the lyrics.

246. Parking Lot

Parking lots might not sound like that exciting of an idea for drawing, but you can be surprised what happens in them! They are great places for people watching, or you could sketch the scene of one to continue a series of drawings of places around where you live.

247. Movie Scene

What’s your favorite movie? Draw a scene from a movie you love or have watched recently.

248. Xylophone

Xylophone is pretty much the only word we could think of that begins with the letter X, so it made our list. 🙂

249. City Street Scene

Walk around the city and sketch the sights on the street.

250. Award or Trophy

Have you ever been given a trophy or award for an achievement? You could also draw trophies or awards for your pets or friends, like “Best Listener” or “Most Furry”.

Look up to the night sky and draw the stars. You could also research and draw different constellations.

sketchbook ideas themes

From dump trucks to tractor trailer trucks to pick-up trucks, there are all kinds of trucks you can draw. Above is a picture of a pick-up my brother drew.

253. Skeleton or Skull

sketchbook ideas themes

Skeletons and skulls might be creepy to some, but they can be a lot less scary if you opt to draw a sugar skull from the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.

Bird watchers know there are thousands of different species of birds, which means you have a lot of options here! To keep things simple, try drawing birds that are native to where you live and can be found regularly in your backyard and parks.

255. Friend

Ask a friend for a photo or see if they would be willing to pose while you draw a portrait of them.

256. Cleaning Supplies

Fact: It’s more fun to draw cleaning supplies than it is to actually do the laundry, dishes, and other household chores.

257. Wheels

From wagon wheels to car rims, there are all sorts of different types of wheels you could draw. You could also use wheels as a base for making repetitive patterns.

258. Sled Ride

Have you ever been on a sled in the winter? You can draw kids sledding or draw an old fashioned Christmas sleigh!

What’s behind that door? You can draw the door of your house, or draw a door that captures your eye and makes you want to open it…or avoid it.

260. Diamonds

Diamonds are easy things to draw and you can play with all sorts of different patterns and repetitions with them.

261. Favorite Things

What are your favorite things in the whole wide world? Draw them!

Waves are a very cool thing you can draw, whether its realistic waves in the ocean, or simply waves of lines that create a pattern.

263. School

Draw a picture of what you remember school looked like when you were a kid, or draw all the school supplies you remember needing.

264. Abandoned Warehouse

Abandoned warehouses are cool architecture places to draw, just remember that you shouldn’t actually go into an abandoned warehouse without proper permission and safety clearances – it can be VERY dangerous!

265. Cooking Spices

What’s on your spice rack? Draw it!

266. Favorite Place From Your Childhood

What is a place you remember from your childhood? It can be any place you visited that brings back happy memories.

267. Vase of Flowers

The classic still life is the perfect opportunity to practice drawing!

268. Vacation Spot

Think back on all of the places you’ve visited and vacationed at over the years. Draw a scene of one of your favorite spots!

269. News Headline

Look to the news today and draw a headline from the current events.

270. Village

Draw a whimsical village of cute little houses.

Artists like Van Gogh are famous for painting a chair, so get your start by drawing one!

Horses are incredible creatures admired for the beauty and strength. Draw wild horses or someone riding a horse.

273. Drum Set

Not everybody has room for a drum set in their house or the talent to play one, but you can always draw one!

274. Exercise Poses

Draw a figure in different exercise poses, such as yoga or aerobics.

275. Something That Smells Nice

What’s your favorite smell? Draw something that you think smells nice.

276. Illustrate Onomatopoeia Words

Onomatopoeia words are words that are spelled exactly like they sound – and they can be fun to illustrate. Some example words are splash, buzz, pop, fizz, and swish.

277. Detective

sketchbook ideas themes

Take inspiration from Sherlock Holmes and draw a detective on the case to solve the next mystery.

278. Mythological Creatures

Centaur, griffins, and manticores are all examples of different types of mythological creatures you could draw in your journal.

Draw a game board, game pieces or make up a design that could be used on your very own deck of illustrated cards.

280. Picnic

Set the scene for the perfect picnic lunch – hopefully there won’t be any ants to ruin the fun!

sketchbook ideas themes

With over 200 owl species to choose from, you could draw a barn owl, a snowy owl, or great horned owl. The above picture my daughter drew when she was six.

282. Your Favorite Decade

Draw a scene from your favorite decade, whether it’s the roaring 1920’s or the fun and colorful 1980’s.

283. Flash Light

No need to stay in the dark – you can draw your own light with a flash light!

284. Bathroom Cabinet

Draw your toothbrush, a bar of soap, or anything else you may regularly keep in your bathroom cabinets.

Idioms are expressions and phrases that generally don’t make any literal sense in the real world…one example being it’s raining cats and dogs. Illustrate a silly idiom or other expression that we don’t take literally. You can find more idioms at the Free Dictionary Idiom Search .

286. Rock Star

Everybody thinks about becoming a rock star at some point, take inspiration from one of your favorite artists or bands or draw yourself rocking out to your favorite kind of music.

287. Party Animals

Draw animals going to a party. Don’t forget their party hats!

What’s hiding up in the attic of that old house? Draw it!

289. Happy Couple

Draw a couple that is happy and in love together.

290. Neighborhood

Sketch a street scene from your local neighborhood.

291. Bar or Restaurant

Where’s the last place you’ve eaten or gone out to? Draw a picture of the exterior or interior of the building.

292. Time Machine

Time machines don’t exist yet, but here’s your chance to design one that will help you travel back and forth in time.

293. Runner

They say life is a marathon and not a sprint…unless a lion is chasing you. Draw someone who is running from something, or maybe they are competing in a 5k or marathon.

294. Treehouse

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a treehouse for a day? Design and draw a Pete Nelson worthy treehouse for you to escape to.

295. Museum

Museums are full of interesting artifacts from history. Visit a museum near you or do a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History online here .

Boxes can be empty or they can be full of surprises. You can draw just one box or a whole stack of them!

Draw a humanoid-like robot, or draw a robot straight out of a science fiction movie. Cartoon robots are also always fun!

Drawing glass can be a fun way to explore drawing reflections and shadows.

299. Mechanic’s Garage

Draw a mechanic’s garage with cars needing repaired.

300. Helicopter

Did you know the fastest speed of a helicopter ever recorded is 248 mph? That’s crazy!

301. Brick Wall

Brick patterns are a great idea for something to draw.

302. Lighthouse

Lighthouses help keep sailors and ships safe while out at sea. They are also beautiful tourist attractions all around the world.

303. Gifts and Presents

Did you receive any gifts or presents recently? Draw them! You could also draw wrapped presents.

304. Christmas Tree

Deck the halls and put up a Christmas tree, in your art journal or sketchbook at least! Not Christmas time or don’t celebrate Christmas? You could always decorate your tree to be more to your liking.

Towers have been used historically for many different reasons, and they stand tall along the skyline. Draw one!

There are so many famous hotels you could choose to draw, or draw the outside of the last hotel you stayed at.

307. Ant Farm

Ants build the most fascinating tunnels in ant farms. Illustrate an ant farm to show their secret lives in their homes.

308. Battle

You could draw a historic battle or you could draw a fantasy battle between an ogre and a dragon.

309. Waterfall

There are so many waterfalls in the world, experts can’t even agree how many there are! They are beautiful cascading natural elements perfect for sketching.

310. Remote Control

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a remote control that does everything? Take inspiration from the remote control you have for your TV or design your own with custom buttons you could use in your life.

311. Bakery

Cakes, cookies, bread…mmmm…all of my favorite foods can be found at a bakery, so draw one!

312. Suitcase

Packing to go somewhere? You could draw a suitcase ready to travel the world, or draw yours.

We live on this great big earth, so draw it.

314. Mandala

A mandala is a geometric figure that represents the universe. They are often used for meditative purposes and can be so relaxing to draw.

315. Cassette Tape

Am I showing my age here? Even if everything is digital today, cassette tapes are still cool to draw in my book.

316. Antique Car

Cars from the 1900’s look a lot different than the ones we drive today! Draw an antique or classic car that was manufactured before 1970.

317. Castle

You drew the queen and king in prompt number 177, now where are they going to live? Draw a castle fit for royalty, or take inspiration from one of the famous 500+ castles that already exist in the world.

318. Lightning

Lightning can be mesmerizing and the earth is struck by lightning an estimated 1,400,000,000 times a year – now that’s electrifying!

319. Snakes

Some people are scared of snakes, but the best way to overcome that fear is to draw one on paper. Besides, it’s your imagination – you can make the snake a friendly, non-biting one!

I heard you can really draw a crowd…haha…I know, that’s a terribly punny joke but I couldn’t resist.

Swords are often seen in coats of armor and in historical fiction stories like the sword in the stone…try drawing one!

322. Compass

Which way north? Draw a compass rose.

Pigs are very intelligent creatures…and they are cute!

Be careful if you drew three pigs in the last prompt, this could get hairy and become the story of three little pigs quick, which doesn’t end too well for the wolf.

325. Anchor

Anchors are symbols of strength and safety and often used in logos and tattoo designs.

Who doesn’t love a good donut? Draw your favorite flavor donut.

327. Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are very fast to see in real life, but they are beautiful birds to draw.

328. Statues and Sculptures

Draw your own life-like statue or sculpture, or try to draw a realistic rendition of a famous statue such as The Statue of Liberty or the sculpture of Discobolus .

329. Zipper

Zippers are something we use all the time, and they are fun to draw! You can also use the basic shape of a zipper for all sorts of pattern drawing ideas!

330. Television Set

You can draw a retro TV set or draw a more modern day version of a smart TV.

That alien that you drew in prompt #25…what kind of spacecraft were they flying? Draw an unidentified flying object.

332. Scarecrow

Scarecrows are not really all that useful for scaring away crows, but they have become an iconic decoration around the fall and autumn season.

One of the popular games for kids to play in the woods is to go snipe hunting…of course you never find one because snipes don’t exist. No one knows what a snipe really is, but this is your chance to imagine what one would look like if it were real.

334. Chameleon

Chameleons are best known for being able to change their colors to blend into their environment. This is a great opportunity to practice shading or draw with multiple colors.

335. Jellyfish

The nice thing about drawing a jellyfish on paper is they can’t sting you! While you’d never want to get too close to one in real life, they are beautifully amazing creatures of the sea.

336. Unicorn

A unicorn is a mythical creature that looks much like a horse with a single horn on its forehead. They are often depicted in art and folklore, making it the perfect drawing prompt.

Tulips mean spring is coming, and they are fun beautiful flowers to draw in any weather or season. Because they are bulbs, you can even force them to grow in the winter like I did with my flowers. See my post on the seasons of being an artist .

338. Pinwheel

Pinwheels are toys that twirl around when someone blows on them. They are symbolically seen as a way of “turing one’s luck around” and often signify playfulness and happiness.

339. Palm Tree

Did you know palm trees are actually evergreen trees? They are characterized by broad fan-like leaves and usually found in tropical regions around the world.

340. Rainforests

Rainforests are home to thousands of exotic plant species and animals and are typically found around the earth’s equator.

341. Deserted Island

What would you do if you were stuck on a deserted island? What would it look like? I hope you brought a notebook and pencil!

342. Snowflakes

No two snowflakes are alike, and you can have so much fun drawing different patterns and designs of snowflakes.

343. Ball or Sphere

Balls and spheres are a great opportunity to play around with drawing different shadow angles and light sources.

344. Goldfish

Goldfish are easy to draw and are a favorite pet for many people.

345. DNA Helix

It’s crazy to think we have DNA and I even recently just did a DNA test on Ancestry.com – it’s so fascinating to me to trace back all of my ancestors. Drawing the helix is a great way to practice different shading techniques as well.

One of my favorite songs is You Are the Moon by the Hush Sound , and I can’t think but illustrating a beautiful moonlit landscape everytime I hear it.

347. Trapeze Artist

Trapeze artists are highly skilled entertainers who perform all sorts of aerial tricks on ropes. Often seen at circuses, many modern artists can be seen in cities and other places.

348. Atoms and Molecules

You don’t have to be a chemistry major to recognize that atoms and molecule diagrams can be fascinating subjects for drawing ideas!

349. Carousel

I’ve always loved merry go round carousel rides and still ride them even now whenever I get a chance. You can choose to draw the whole carousel or just draw a carousel horse.

350. Cabin or Cottage in the Woods

Draw your own artists retreat place in the form of a cabin or cottage in the woods.

351. Buttons

Buttons make for great doodles, or you can always draw a magic button that you can push for when things go awry.

352. Pot of Gold

What’s at the end of your rainbow from prompt #153? Shamrock optional.

353. Doctor’s Office

Have you ever noticed all the different things they have at the doctor’s office when you go in for a check-up?

354. Panda Bear

Panda bears are just cute and that is why you should draw one.

355. Building Blocks

Building blocks are a great way to play with different angles, lines, and shadows.

356. Ferris Wheel

Ferris wheels are popular carnival rides and a great thing to draw.

357. Turkey

You can draw a turkey – it’s as simple as tracing your hand. Of course, you could always opt to draw a turkey that’s a bit more realistic.

358. Lollipops and Candy

Craving something sweet? Draw a lollipop or another favorite type of Candy.

You could draw a city bus, a school bus, or even a double-decker bus.

360. Flamingo

Flamingos are graceful birds most well known for their ability to balance on just one leg.

361. Ukulele

Ukulele’s only have 4 strings and are smaller and higher pitched than a guitar. Both of my daughters play the Ukulele!

362. Strawberry

Strawberries are amazingly detailed when you look at one up close, making them a great option for a close-up sketch.

363. Sandcastle

Did you know people build sandcastles at a competitive level? It’s amazing what architects, engineers, and creative designers and make out of sand at sand castle competitions!

364. Record Player

We may not play records that often anymore, but they are still a totally fun vintage thing to draw.

365. Magic Wand

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a magic wand? Well, you can always draw one!

I hope you enjoyed this list of 365 Drawing Ideas and of course if you create any of these things to draw I would love to see it in our Artjournalist Facebook community group !

Do you have any ideas for things to draw that I might have missed? I’d love to hear your ideas and how you will use these drawing prompts – tell me in the comments below!

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19 Comments

How about flowers

she said sunflowers which are technically flowers

great list of inspiration

This was a wonderful list

i like these thanks for curing my dreadful boredom 😃😄😊

I’ve read a lot of lists for drawing prompts, this one is by far the best! Thank you so much! I’m sure it took some time to come up with all of these!!

I’m glad you’re enjoying them!

Can you please share some painting ideas?

Sounds like a great idea Amy, I will get on it 🙂

great list i cant wait to fill lots of sketchbooks up with ideas oh also how about fidget toys they are great to draw

Hmm cant think of any! It sure helped me. I run art contests every week and like gettin opinions from people on themes, seeing this I may never have trouble picking a theme again! lol😂

I was stuck trying to think of ideas of what to draw during a pandemic. Thanks for all the great ideas. I better get started, I have hundreds of drawings to do. Joyce

Glad it inspired you Joyce!

I actually had a drawing competition in my school and the topic was “dreaming with eyes open” and this really helped thanks!

thanks for this great list of inspiration. defiantly cured my boredom. I really liked the coffee idea. i made a really good painting for my kitchen with it. it says: “Key To My Morning. it is is painting of a blue coffee cup, with i red back round. my parents drink coffe every morning so i made it for them.

you should add hallway

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Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

15 Sketchbook theme ideas (Explained)

Having a variety of sketchbook theme ideas to pull from will help you easily draw and fill more sketchbooks.

Here are some of my favorite sketchbook theme ideas I often find myself using again and again.

On this page

1. Nature themes – landscapes, flowers, trees, etc.

When it comes to practicing your drawing skills, it's important to draw from life as often as possible.

And what better subject matter to use than nature?

Here are four reasons why you should only draw nature in your sketchbook:

  • You'll learn to see more accurately. When you're constantly looking at photos or drawings in magazines, it's easy to develop a distorted view of how things look in real life. By drawing from life, you'll train your eye to see more accurately, which will ultimately make your drawings better.
  • You'll learn to describe objects more precisely.  A big part of drawing is being able to communicate what you see on paper. The only way to get better at this is by practice. So, the next time you're out for a walk, take your sketchbook with you and try to capture the world around you as accurately as possible.
  • You'll learn to notice the subtleties of light and shadow.  One of the things that make each object unique is the way that light and shadow fall upon it. When you're drawing from life, be sure to pay attention to these subtleties so that you can replicate them in your drawing. 
  • You'll have a better understanding of the subject.  When you draw from photographs, you're limited by the angle and composition of the photo itself. But when you draw from life, you can choose any perspective you want and study the subject matter in detail.

2. Focus on urban sketching

When you practice urban sketching , you learn to see urban settings more accurately.

You also learn to notice the subtleties of perspective and shapes that make urban sketching so interesting to look at. 

As you draw urban scenes, you'll quickly discover that there are many different ways to depict the same thing depending on your vantage point.

Finally, drawing cityscapes and architecture can simply be more enjoyable than sketching other subjects.

There's something about having to physically travel somewhere to capture it on paper.

3. Draw animals as a sketchbook theme

If you want to improve your animal drawings, the best thing you can do is observe them in real life and sketch them – a lot.

If you want to get better at drawing animals , you need to improve your observational skills.

And the best way to do that is by drawing them from real life rather than from photos.

When you draw an animal from a photo, you're only seeing a two-dimensional image of it – but when you draw an animal from life, you can see it in three dimensions and observe how it moves.

This will give you a much better understanding of its anatomy and proportions.

One of the best things about drawing animals is that there are so many different opportunities to draw them around the world.

Whether you're interested in big cats or tiny insects, there's an animal out there that will pique your interest.

By sketching animals regularly, you'll gradually build up a catalog of knowledge about the different species that live on our planet – and that's an incredibly valuable skill for any artist to have.

4. Sketch gesture drawings of people in your sketchbook

Gesture drawings are quick sketches of a person or thing.

The purpose of a gesture drawing is to capture the essence of the subject matter in a limited amount of time.

There are many benefits to sketching gesture drawings of people.

First, it is a great way to improve your observation skills.

When you only have a limited amount of time to draw someone, you have to be able to identify the most important features quickly.

This skill can be translated into other areas of art.

Second, sketching people can help you become better at drawing poses.

This is especially helpful if you want to pursue a career in animation.

Third, when you make gesture drawings frequently, you will start to see an improvement in your ability to capture character in your sketches.

This is because you are constantly exposed to different faces and expressions.

Fourth, doing gesture drawings is simply a fun way to pass the time.

It can be enjoyable to sit in a public place and try to capture the essence of the people around you. 

5. Draw only abstract designs and patterns

By focusing on shapes and patterns rather than objects, you can help train your brain to see the world in new ways and discover hidden compositions and designs.

You need to closely examine the shapes and how they interact with each other to create a cohesive design and composition.

This process can help train your brain to see the world in terms of patterns and designs, which can be helpful for many different types of artists.

By stepping away from representational art for a while, you may find that you approach your other projects with fresh eyes and new ideas. 

6. Draw everything you eat

When you take the time to draw each component of a dish, you start to see all the different colors, shapes, and textures that come together to create a meal.

It also helps to develop a “documenting” mindset when it comes to your drawings and sketchbook so you don't start overanalyzing your ideas when you want to draw.

You're simply capturing a part of your day in a drawing and moving on.

Getting you closer to filling another sketchbook.

7. Document your travels in your sketchbook

One of the best ways to document your travels is through sketches.

There are several benefits to doing this, including the fact that it can help you better remember the places you've visited and also provide inspiration for new artwork.

One of the benefits of sketching while traveling is that you're more likely to remember the places you visit.

This is because when you're sketching, you're observing everything around you more closely.

By taking the time to notice all the tiny details, you're creating a mental record that will be much harder to forget than if you simply took photos or relied on your memory alone. 

Another great reason to sketch while traveling is that you can use your sketches as artwork later on.

Whether you decide to turn them into more finished paintings later on or having a travel sketchbook full of memories from your travels is a great way to document your travels.

Sketching also forces you to slow down and take in your surroundings.

When you're not focused on taking photos or checking things off a list, you're free to engage more with your surroundings.

This can lead to some great experiences and memories that you'll always remember—and it might even inspire your art down the line. 

If you're an artist who loves to travel, then documenting your trips in a sketchbook is a great way to combine two of your passions.

8. Draw textures and patterns you observe in your sketchbook

When you’re out and about sketching, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to look for texture and pattern.

But approaching this theme with the mindset of collecting or cataloging textures and patterns you discover can help you add another level of interest to your sketches.

When you’re out sketching, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to look for texture and pattern.

Start by looking for textures and patterns in everyday objects around you.

It could be the wood grain on a door, the weave of a basket, or the metal grating on a drain cover.

As I mentioned before, getting into the “documenting” mindset with your sketchbook can greatly help you produce more drawings.

9. Practice drawing light and shadow

When most people think of sketching, they think of achieving a realistic likeness of their subject.

But there's so much more to sketching than that.

With the right use of light and shadow, you can create the illusion of depth, realism, and mood in your sketches.

This is why it's a good idea to dedicate time to drawing light and shadow studies.

By paying attention to the way light falls on your subject, you can add a sense of depth, realism, and atmosphere to your sketches. 

For example, if you're sketching a portrait or a gesture drawing, paying attention to the shapes made by light and shadows can help your gesture drawing process.

10. Dedicate a sketchbook to your life drawings

Life drawings are sketches of the human form that help artists hone their skills in observing and capturing the human form.

By studying the human figure, you can learn how to depict movement and get better at drawing expressions and moods.

When you're looking at a live model, you have to see what's in front of you and pay attention to the details.

By studying the human form and practicing how to depict it on paper, you'll become better at drawing people in general.

Not only will your drawings look more realistic, but they'll also be more expressive and convey more emotion. 

Finally, practicing life drawing can help you develop a deeper understanding of human anatomy.

11. Draw still lifes

A still life is a great subject for exploring composition, color, and light.

  • Pick your subject matter. This can be anything from fruits and vegetables to flowers or everyday objects. Consider the colors you want to use and the overall composition of the drawing. 
  • Sketch out a basic outline of the still life on your paper. Keep in mind the proportions of the objects in relation to each other. 
  • Start fleshing out the details of each object. Pay attention to the shadows and highlights as you add more depth to the drawing. 

12. Draw landscapes

You can explore different settings, like forests, mountains, seascapes, and cityscapes.

Just like in urban sketching, drawing landscapes offer ample opportunity to experiment with perspective and composition.

And if you're the type who enjoys being outdoors, landscape drawing can be a great way to get some fresh air and explore your surroundings.

When it comes to landscape drawing, one of the most important things you can do is learn the basics of perspective.

This will give your drawings a sense of depth.

Once you have a handle on perspective, you can start sketching out the basic shapes of the landscape elements you want to include in your drawing.

This can be anything from trees and mountains to buildings and streetlights.

Just get a feel for the overall composition before adding any details.

One of the best ways to build up a complex landscape drawing is to work in layers.

Start with the background and then move on to the mid-ground and foreground elements.

13. Draw different fashions and styles you see on the street

Making gesture drawings of fashion quickly, on location is wildly beneficial.

Not only are you drawing the human form but, you're also paying attention to the way clothes interact with the human form.

Gesture drawings are simple drawings that capture the overall shape and movement of a subject.

To practice gesture drawings, give yourself a creative limitation of making the drawing in one minute.

Once you get the hang of it, increase the time limit to two minutes or more.

Once you've practiced your gesture drawings, it's time to start sketching people on the street.

When sketching people, look for interesting clothing choices or details that you can focus on.

If someone is wearing an interesting jacket or hat, start there. If someone has an interesting hairstyle or bag, focus on those details.

The goal is to capture as much detail as possible in a short amount of time.

This will help simplify your sketches and make them more manageable.

Remember, it's okay if your sketches aren't perfect.

The goal is to capture the essence of what you see quickly and efficiently. 

14. Draw a muse or someone close to you

There are a few reasons why dedicating a sketchbook to drawing only one muse or person is a good idea.

Leonardo da Vinci would focus on drawing one thing for a while. Sometimes drawing hundreds of sketches until he had a deep understanding of it.

It can be really helpful to have a focus when you're trying to improve your drawing skills.

By narrowing your focus down to one person or muse, you can hone in on the specific details that make them unique.

By spending time sketching someone close to you, you'll likely start to notice small details about them that you never noticed before.

And finally, by drawing someone over and over again, you'll slowly start to develop your style of drawing.

15. Draw with one medium in your sketchbook

When it comes to sketchbooks, there are a few schools of thought.

Some artists prefer to use them as a catch-all for everything from doodles to full-blown paintings.

Others prefer to stick to one medium per sketchbook, using each book as an opportunity to focus on and develop their skills in that medium.

When you're trying to learn or improve your skills in a certain medium, it can be helpful to have a dedicated space for experimentation and practice.

If you stick to one medium per sketchbook, you'll gradually develop a stronger sense of personal style in that medium.

This is especially true if you make an effort to experiment with different techniques within the medium—for example, by trying out different mark-making techniques with a pen or experimenting with different color palettes in watercolor.

All things considered, I think there are plenty of good reasons to stick to one medium per sketchbook.

Not only will it help you focus your efforts and hone your skills in that particular medium, but it will also allow you to develop a strong personal style within that medium.

Brilliantio

49 Creative Sketchbook Ideas to Spark Your Imagination

By: Author Valerie Forgeard

Posted on Published: August 27, 2022  - Last updated: July 31, 2023

Categories Creativity , Art , Inspiration

Do you love drawing and painting but are stuck in a creative rut? Are you looking for new sketchbook ideas to help jump-start your imagination? If so, you have come to the right place! This blog post will share 49 creative ideas for your next sketchbook. It also gives detailed information about choosing and using sketchbooks. From nature sketches to character designs, there is something for everyone here. So what are you waiting for? Get inspired and get drawing!

49 Sketchbook Ideas

  • Draw a picture of yourself.
  • Draw a self-portrait with your eyes closed
  • Draw what you think the future you’ll look like in 20 years.
  • Draw a picture of your favorite animal or pet.
  • Draw a portrait of a stranger on the subway/bus/train/etc. (with picture).
  • Draw a picture of someone who inspires you, such as an author or artist who’s influenced your life.
  • Draw a picture of your favorite place in the world.
  • Draw a picture of something that makes you happy (the sky, a cupcake, etc.).
  • Draw a picture of something that makes you angry or sad (an injustice).
  • Draw a picture of an object from nature (a flower, an insect).
  • Draw a picture of a place from your childhood memories (your room when you were little).
  • Draw someone who influenced your life for the better – someone who made it possible for you to live in this world and grow into who you’re today!
  • Draw a picture of where you’d like to travel once you’ve saved enough money!
  • Pencil sketch a bird’s eye view of your house or the street where you live so you can get a feel for what it looks like from above.
  • Draw an architectural element you like, such as a Victorian-style window or a curved roofline.
  • Sketch a piece of furniture in the room you’re sitting in, then ask yourself if it would look better in another room of your house. If so, redraw it there!
  • Draw the inside of your favorite store or restaurant and imagine you’re one of the customers walking through the store looking for a particular product (such as a new pair of shoes).
  • Draw something you see in the sky above you right now (this could be a bird, an airplane, or even the sun)
  • Draw a picture of the food you ate today.
  • Draw a picture of your favorite toy as a child.
  • Draw what your bedroom looks like now!
  • Draw the last item you bought online and then draw what it looks like in its packaging.
  • Draw yourself as one of your favorite characters from a movie or series ( TV ), or draw someone else as one of their favorite characters from those series/movies!
  • Draw yourself doing something completely different from what you’ve done before (like skydiving or playing guitar).
  • Draw something to go with each letter of the alphabet! This can be the letters themselves or words that start with that letter (e.g., “apple” for A). Or just draw whatever comes to mind for each letter – whatever helps you finish quickly so you can move on to other things!
  • Draw something from your childhood memory
  • Draw something you wish existed in real life
  • Draw someone who inspires you but doesn’t show their face
  • Draw something you’re really good at
  • Draw people doing everyday things, like sleeping or eating lunch at their desk
  • Draw what you ate for breakfast
  • Draw something you feel confident doing, then draw what happens when you don’t feel confident anymore.
  • Draw a few possible logos or branding ideas for yourself, a friend’s business/project, etc.
  • Draw a picture of yourself as an object – like a flower or a vegetable – and explain why you chose that particular object.
  • Sketch the floor plan of your dream house (or apartment).
  • Draw a picture of yourself in a different country every day for a week, or draw a place from each continent over a month.
  • Draw a few famous paintings from history that you know well (like Starry Night or The Scream). Then try drawing them again blindfolded or with your eyes closed!
  • Draw a picture of a family having dinner together
  • Draw every time you go for a walk
  • Draw a list of things you want to do today
  • Sketch what your ideal day off would look like – what would you do on it? Where would you go? Who’d you spend time with? What would the weather be like?
  • Sketch an object that reminds you of someone who’s passed away (e.g., their favorite book or flower). This can be a fun way to remember the deceased person abstractly without the pain they left behind seeming overwhelming.
  • Draw a picture of your favorite book cover or what you think is the most beautiful book cover of all time
  • Illustrate your favorite book. Illustration can be fun and give us different angles on a story; sometimes, it can lead to a new drawing idea.
  • Sketch out goals for yourself for the next year: physical goals (exercise more), mental goals (learn another language), and professional goals (start a business). Use a timeline: When did these goals become important to you? When did they suddenly become more urgent than ever before?
  • Create a graphic representation of your favorite song lyrics.
  • Sketch the perfect outfit for any occasion (work, school, weekend).
  • Draw your ideal closet
  • Sketch what you’d do if you only had 24 hours left on earth (before the end of the world)

How to Choose a Sketchbook

Choosing a sketchbook can be a challenge because there are so many options these days. Here are 10 tips to help you choose a sketchbook that fits your needs.

1. Choose a Size That Fits Your Needs

Size is important when choosing a sketchbook because it determines the number of pages you can fit. If you draw in your sketchbook daily, you should choose it to fit your daily work.

You should also consider the size of your hands when choosing the best size for your sketchbook. If you’ve small hands, a smaller sketchbook will probably be more comfortable than using a larger one.

If you plan to use the sketchbook at home or simply need more space to draw, you should choose a larger one.

2. Choose a Type of Paper

The type of paper is important.

If you get a sketchbook, the type of paper can make all the difference in your experience with the book. Some sketchbooks are good for sketching but not so good for writing or doodling. Other sketchbooks are good for doodling but not so good for drawing.

The first step in choosing paper is to think about what kind of artwork you want to create in your sketchbook. A sketchbook with a smooth surface is best if you mainly draw with a pencil or pen. A rough surface may be better for you if you mainly draw with acrylics or watercolors.

3. Look for a Variety of Sketches

Sketchbooks with pages of different types of paper will help you improve your drawing skill in several ways. First, the different textures let you try different mediums – pencil, charcoal, watercolor – and keep everything in one place. Avoid oil and acrylic paint or mediums that are too thick or take too long to dry.

Second, these types of sketchbooks force you to work on different surfaces and learn how to adapt your style to the particular characteristics of each surface; for example, if you work with pencil or charcoal on rough paper, your lines will be much heavier than if you draw them with a pen or marker on smooth paper.

If this helps you improve as an artist, keep that in mind when choosing the right sketchbook!

4. Pay Attention to the Quality vs Price

When you’re choosing a sketchbook, quality is key. But it can be difficult to know how much to spend if you’re on a budget and looking for the best possible price.

You should ensure your sketchbook is durable enough to be used regularly but not so expensive that you’ve trouble replacing it when it wears out.

Suppose you’re using your sketchbook for professional purposes (or just want it to look like it’s been used professionally). In that case, this is especially important – you don’t want your drawings to be thrown away because they can’t be properly preserved.

5. Look for a Sketchbook Whose Pages Lie Flat

When sketching, it’s important that you can draw without the paper curling up or getting in your way. Many sketchbooks are bound with glue, so the pages can’t lie flat. This can make it difficult to draw and cause problems when drawing.

6. Choose a Sketchbook With a Good Binding, So the Pages Don’t Fall Out or Tear Easily

The binding is the part of your sketchbook that holds the pages together. If it’s not well made, your book will be difficult to open and close, and the pages will fall out or tear easily. Also, if the binding isn’t sturdy enough, you risk damaging your sketchbook if you accidentally bend it too much while turning the pages.

7. Consider Buying Several Sketchbooks at Once So You Can Swap Them Out When They Get Full or When You Want to Try Something New

When you’re just starting, buying just one sketchbook and using it for everything can be tempting. But what if you want to try a new medium? Or if you just need to do some quick sketches and don’t have time to wait for the ink to dry?

If you’re unsure and can afford it, buying several sketchbooks at once is a great way to avoid these problems. You can always replace them when they’re full or if you want to try something new.

8. Pay Attention to the Material of the Cover of Your Sketchbook Before You Buy It – You Want Something That Will Last and Not Crack or Fade in Sunlight

Sketchbooks are an essential part of being a good artist. But how can you figure out which one is the best for you?

It’s not just about choosing a sketchbook that looks cool – you also want to make sure it’ll last. Before buying a sketchbook, you should look at the cover material because some materials get cracked or fade in sunlight.

9. Make Sure There Are Enough Sheets in Each Book, So You Don’t Run Out Too Quickly!

The best sketchbooks are the ones that have enough sheets so you can capture your ideas, but not so many that you run out! That way, you won’t run out so quickly and have to buy a new one.

10. Try Different Types of Sketchbooks Until One Suits You

You’ve started sketching and are quite happy with your progress. You’re just getting the hang of it and starting to see some really amazing things in your art.

But then… something happens: you run out of ideas for what you could draw. You want to make more art, but nothing is left to draw!

The solution is simple: try different styles of sketchbooks until one suits you.

Some people like very small and compact sketchbooks, so they can take them everywhere. Others like big, thick sketchbooks with lots of space to fill the pages with drawings and write their thoughts about their progress as artists. Some people even like spiral-bound notebooks with an elastic band to keep everything together without worrying about losing pages!

You’ll probably find that once you start using a particular style (or even brand) that best suits your tastes, it’s easier to figure out what supplies work best for your drawing style.

How To Start a Sketchbook

You can start a sketchbook in any way that suits you.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

An easy step is to start with a simple idea on a blank page (e.g: random geometric shapes or a simple shape like a house). You may want to sketch lots of different shapes first, or you may want to draw characters from your favorite book or movie. Either is a good place to start!

  • Find a medium that suits you. If you’re new to drawing, try drawing pencils or pens first – they’re easier to control than brushes, which are harder for beginners to handle. However, if you’ve been drawing for years and are comfortable with painting techniques like watercolor or oil paints, then sketching with any medium should be easy for you!
  • get inspired by the work of other artists or a famous painting – or even by things that aren’t art but inspire you anyway (like nature). You’ll be amazed at what happens when you take time each day to sit down with your materials and let your mind wander!
  • If you don’t know where to start, consider taking an art class and trying out a drawing lesson before you buy a sketchpad to get an idea of whether you’re ready to begin your creative journey.

How To Organize a Sketchbook

If you’re wondering how to organize your sketchbook, here are some tips:

  • Keep it small. Sketchbooks are great because they’re easy to carry, and you can easily take them. But sometimes, a big sketchbook can be overwhelming – especially if you’re just starting! If you’re having trouble staying organized or taking up too much space in your sketchbook, pick up a smaller one instead of continuing to use the big one.
  • Think about what kind of sketches you’ll be doing most often. Will you be doing layouts? Character design? Storyboarding? If so, make sure these pages are separated from each other, so they don’t get mixed up or accidentally erased while you’re working on other projects.
  • Consider color-coding your pages by topic, so it’s easy for anyone who looks at them later (like future employers!). Separate sections may be useful to you in the future when you’ll look for a specific sketch.
  • Keep everything in one place. If you’re unsure where to draw, keep all your materials in one place (like a colored pencil case). That way, all your materials are easy to find and even easier to put away when you’re done.
  • Organize your sketches by subject or object. For example, if you want to keep all your drawings from a particular trip, you can group them in the same binder section. If you’re trying to draw more realistically, separate them from your other sketches in a different section.

Should You Draw on Both Sides of a Sketchbook?

It depends.

If you’re using a small sketchbook, it’s not a bad idea to draw on both sides – but only if it’s the right sketchbook. If you’re just drawing doodles and random sketches, it’s fine to draw on both sides. However, if you’re using a larger sheet of paper or trying to create something that looks like a picture, you shouldn’t! You’ll have difficulty drawing straight lines on both sides of the paper.

So if you have a big sketchbook and you’re drawing more serious stuff in it, don’t worry about drawing on both sides. But if you have a small sketchbook and want to ensure your drawings look good on both sides? Then go for it – it’ll save space!

Are Sketchbooks Supposed to Be Messy?

The beauty of sketchbooks is that they’re not just for sketching. They’re also for doodling, scribbling, and writing down ideas – all of those things should be messy!

Think of it this way: If you made a collage or a puzzle, would you put the pieces in a neat pile? No, of course, you wouldn’t! You’d leave them and put them together in whatever order suits you. And that’s exactly how you should handle your sketchbook – you should be all over the place with your ideas, feelings, and drawings.

It should show where your head is when you’re working on something creative! But when working on a project in your sketchbook, it’s best to use a clean page every time. When taking notes or sketching out your idea, you can always go back and look at what you’ve done – and even change it if you need to. If you keep using the same page, it can get confusing and hard to understand later.

If you’ve trouble with this, try using one page for each process step. That way, if something doesn’t work right the first time, you’ll have a flawless page to try again later!

How To Fix Mistakes in Your Sketchbook

You can cover mistakes in your sketchbook with a ruler and an eraser if you use drawing pencils.

First, you need to measure where you want the cover-up. It needs to be as wide as the original mistake, or it’ll look funny. You can make it wider if you want, but it’s best if it stays close to the width of the original bug, so it doesn’t look like someone drew in extra lines on purpose.

Next, use the ruler and eraser to draw across your mistake. Use small strokes that follow the contours of your original drawing idea so that when you erase it later, it’ll look like there was never a mistake! However, if you use other media, you won’t be able to cover your mistakes.

How To Make Your Sketchbook Look Interesting

You don’t have to buy a fancy sketchbook to make your drawings look interesting. Using a graphite pencil or watercolor, you can make your pages look beautiful.

Crayons are another great way to add color to your drawings. Crayons are easy to use because they come in different shapes and sizes, so you can pick the one that best fits your project! They also come in many colors, so there’s something for everyone!

The best thing about crayons is that they’re easy to find in any art supplies store. You can use them to draw anything from landscapes to portraits of animals or people. Plus, they come in many colors, so you can choose which ones you need for your project.

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Creativity Journal Ideas (24 Creative Prompts and Ideas)

Art Sketchbook Ideas: creative examples to inspire students

Last Updated on February 2, 2022

This article contains a collection of sketchbook pages from art students around the world, including those who study IGCSE / GCSE Art, A Level Art, VCE Studio Arts, NCEA Level 3 Scholarship, and IB Visual Art. Many of the sketchbook pages shown below are from projects that achieved full marks. These examples illustrate the wide range of possible approaches to sketchbook content, annotation, and page layout.

You may be interested in our new book: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks . This book has high-resolution images so that fine details and annotation are clear, making it an excellent resource for students and schools. Learn more !

Examples of great art sketchbooks

This sketchbook page collection features work from students who specialize predominantly in drawing, painting, mixed media, and Fine Art. The examples cover a wide range of presentation techniques and layout styles. It is worth remembering that these represent only a fraction of what is possible.

READ NEXT: How to make an artist website (and why you need one)

Still life - GCSE sketchbook pages

Need more art sketchbook ideas?

This article is part of a series showcasing and celebrating outstanding sketchbooks by students, artists and designers. You may also be interested in viewing our other sketchbook resources:

  • Photography sketchbooks
  • Graphic design sketchbooks
  • Textile and fashion design sketchbooks
  • Sculpture, architecture, and 3D Design sketchbooks
  • Digital sketchbooks
  • Tips for producing an amazing high school sketchbook (this was originally written for A Level Art and IGCSE/GCSE Art students, but is relevant for students creating a sketchbook, art journal, or visual diary as part of any high school art qualification)
  • How to annotate a sketchbook : a guide for art students

This sketchbook collection is continually updated. Please bookmark this page so that you can return to it when needed! If you would like to submit your own sketchbook page for inclusion, please contact us . 🙂

Amiria Gale

Amiria has been an Art & Design teacher and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of student work in two high-achieving Auckland schools. She has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Amiria is a CIE Accredited Art & Design Coursework Assessor.

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101 Drawing Ideas for Your Sketchbook

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I decided to do some of the brainstorming for you and create a list of 101 drawing ideas that you can include in your sketchbook or turn in to finished works. The items on this list are meant to challenge you a bit, but can still be completed in a short amount of time – making them perfect subjects.

Easy Drawing Ideas

  • Drawing from Imagination
  • Challenging Drawing Ideas

Remember, we can always use the ideas that we conceive in our sketchbooks and turn them into finished works of art. A sketchbook is great place to practice, but it’s also a great place to plan and find some inspiration.

Easy drawing ideas for your sketchbook

We’ll begin with the easy subjects. Defining what’s considered easy will be different for everyone. It all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into your work. These items are considered “easy” simply because the shapes used to sketch them are rather simple.

Here’s a list of easy drawing ideas…

  • An old pair of shoes – Look no further than your closet to find a weathered pair of shoes – the older the better.

Drawing idea #1 - An old pair of shoes

  • A stack of books – Find some old books lying around and stack them up. Try to configure them in an interesting way.
  • An open book – Now take one of those books and open it. Sketch it from an interesting angle.
  • Wine bottles – A classic subject. Look for an interesting label for an additional challenge.

Sketching idea - wine bottles

  • A wine bottle cork – Does that wine bottle have a cork? Use that too as a separate exercise.
  • A stapler – A stapler is made up of simple shapes that are very easy to draw. Once the shapes are in place, then it’s just a matter of adding the details.
  • Several eggs on a table – Line up a few white eggs allowing them to overlap. When you look at the eggs, pay close attention to the gradual changes in tone and shade accordingly.
  • A hammer – Tools make great subjects for drawings. A hammer is rather simple and should be fairly easy to pull off.
  • Game pieces – Pull out a board game and check out the pieces. Some of them may make a nice subject for sketching.

drawing ideas - draw a game piece

  • Sea shells – You may find some inspiration in the form of a sea shell.
  • Objects in your pocket – Got stuff in your pocket? Pull it out and sketch it.
  • A thumb drive – Like the stapler, a thumb drive is made of simple shapes.
  • Children’s toys – Most toys are designed with simple forms, making them an easy subject. Plus, most are brightly colored.
  • Fruits – Fruits are great subjects for practice. Any fruit will do – a pear, a banana, or a strawberry. For an added challenge, slice it open.

Draw fruit sliced open

  • An apple – Okay, I know an apple is a fruit but apples are great subjects for exploring different mediums. Try the same apple with colored pencils, pastels, graphite etc. This lesson may help you – how to draw an apple with pastels .
  • Vegetables – Just like fruits, vegetables are great for sketching practice as well.

Drawing ideas - draw a vegetable

  • Candy – When it comes to food, you don’t have to just stick with the stuff that’s good for you. Here’s a lesson that may give you some inspiration – how to draw a piece of candy .
  • Items in your refrigerator – Close your eyes and reach in. Use whatever you pull out.
  • A pair of socks – Find a pair that’s clean please.
  • An old chair – A chair may seem complex, but it’s really just a few simple forms pieced together.

Draw an old chair - Easy drawing idea

  • A doorknob – This is a more of a challenge than you may think. Pay attention to the changes in value.
  • A video game controller – Even everyday items like this make great subjects for your sketchbook.

Drawing From Your Imagination

Working from imagination

I should point out that the best way to get better at drawing from your imagination is to spend a good amount of time working from observation. When you practice working from observation, you learn how to translate what you see into a work of art.

When you’re working from imagination, you have to rely on what you’ve learned from your observational practice.

Here’s a list of drawing ideas when working from imagination…

  • A person from history without a photo reference – Imagine what a person from ancient history would have looked like and sketch your vision.
  • A scene from history – Think back to some of the events in the history of the world and envision the scene as if you were there.
  • A person peeling off their skin – Make this one as gory as you like or make it funny – let your imagination go where it likes.
  • Design a typeface – Design a few letters and try to create a brand new font.
  • Simple forms – Imagine a small still life made of cubes, cones, spheres, etc. Think about the light source and keep it consistent. Here’s a lesson that may help you – how to draw basic forms .

drawing ideas - draw basic forms

  • A Cubist portrait – How would Picasso interpret someone that you know?
  • Yourself as a cartoon – What would you look like if you were a cartoon?
  • A fictional woodland character – Draw a woodland creature that doesn’t actually exist.

Up for a Challenge?

Challenging drawing ideas for your sketchbook

Here’s a list of ideas designed to challenge…

  • A glass of water – Reflection and transparency are some of the hardest things to master. Here’s a lesson that will help you out – how to draw a glass of water .
  • A pile of unfolded laundry – Folds and values galore. Throw those clothes up in the air and draw them how they land.
  • Use with your non-dominant hand – If you’re right-handed, sketch an object with your left hand.
  • A scene in a restaurant – Most restaurants are fairly dark so noticing the values will be a challenge. Set up in the corner and start sketching.
  • Your hands – There’s a great subject waiting for you at the end of your arm. You always have it with you, so there’s no excuse here. Here’s a lesson that may help you out – how to draw hands .
  • Your art supplies – Brushes, paint tubes, etc. are also great subjects for practice.
  • A person laying down – You can always sneak up to someone sleeping to pull this one off.
  • A person sitting in a chair – Grab a friend to pose for you.
  • Different types of trees – Get outside with your sketchbook and find a nice shady spot. Here’s a lesson that may help you out – how to sketch trees .

Drawing trees in the woods

  • A caricature of yourself – This one is a little different from drawing yourself as a cartoon. You’re going to need a mirror.
  • The same object with different techniques (hatching, cross hatching, stippling, etc.)
  • Your favorite pet – If you haven’t got a pet, then here’s a good reason to get one.
  • A copy of your favorite master’s painting – What artists inspire you? Find one of their artworks and make a sketchy copy.
  • A crumpled piece of paper – What a great challenge! Look closely for all of the tonal changes. This one is sure to help improve your shading skills.
  • A brown paper bag – Think the crumpled piece of paper was a challenge? This one is even tougher!
  • An old person’s face – Find an image of an older person that you know. All of those wrinkles should be a challenge, but oh what character and interest!
  • An old car – I’m talking really old here. If you see one out in a field – even better. Take photos whenever you come across a subject that may make a great piece of art.

Drawing idea - old car

  • An old camera – And speaking of photos, why not an old camera? The buttons, ellipses, and text should give you a nice challenge.
  • A pair of glasses – Just like the glass of water, there’s plenty of reflection and transparency here.
  • A bicycle – The circles, spokes, handle bars etc. make this a classic subject for your sketchbook.
  • Anything made out of metal – Metal objects are usually reflective and present their own set of challenging textures.

Reflective metal - drawing idea

  • Tree bark up close – All of those wonderful textures!
  • Ocean waves – Anything in constant motion is going to be a challenge. You might want to work from a photo on this one. Here’s a lesson that may be helpful – how to paint waves .
  • A pile of rocks – Look for the basic shapes first and then add the values and textures.
  • A cup of pencils – Put at least three pencils in a cup and start sketching.
  • A reel mower – Now this is tough one – but first you have to find one. Take your time and try to be as accurate as possible.
  • A pine cone – A simple object from nature with all kinds of complexity.
  • Your favorite sea creature – What’s your favorite creature that lives in the deep? Here’s a lesson that may help you out – octopus with ink and watercolor .

Draw your favorite sea creature

  • An old cabin – Work on your linear perspective skills and draw an old cabin.
  • An old factory – If you live in the city, grab your sketchbook and venture out in search of an old factory. Try to capture the years of aging.
  • Flowers in a vase – Another classic subject for practice.

Drawing idea - draw flowers in a vase

  • Old farm equipment – Much like the old car idea, old farm equipment is often weathered by the elements and features wonderful textures.
  • A sailboat – If seascapes are your thing, then why not include a sailboat. Here’s a lesson that may help you out – how to draw sailboats with mixed media .

Drawing idea - sailboats

  • People standing in a line – The human figure is the quickest way to improve your skills. The human figure is perhaps the most complex subject out there.
  • A bowl of peanuts – Any repetitive subject will prove to be challenge. Why not start by with a bowl of peanuts?
  • A bowl of nails – Peanuts too easy for you? Try drawing nails.
  • A bowl of popcorn – Nails too easy for you? How about a bowl of popcorn?
  • Bushes or shrubbery – Bring me a shrubbery!
  • Your favorite insect – Insects are quite complex. Even the most simple insects are more complex than they seem. Here’s a lesson that may help you – how to draw a beetle .
  • A flower up close – Once you’ve drawn a vase full of flowers, pick one out and sketch it from the perspective of a bee. Here’s a lesson on this subject – how to draw a rose .

Drawing ideas - draw a flower up close

  • An exotic fish – Well, any fish really. Here’s a lesson – fish with pen and ink .

Draw a fish

  • A feather – Light in weight, but heavy in challenge. Sketch a feather as realistically as possible. Here’s a lesson on this subject – how to draw a feather .
  • Any detailed machine – Machines these days have become more sleek in their design. If you want a real challenge, think in terms of an old typewriter. An antique shop is a great place to look for inspiration like this.
  • The insides of a watch or clock – Sticking with the detailed machine theme, perhaps you have an old watch you can pop open.
  • A skull – When it comes to portraits, you must have a strong understanding of the structure of the head. A great place to start is with a skull. Here’s a timed sketching exercise on this subject – how to sketch a skull in 30 minutes .

A skull - Drawing idea #65

  • A portrait of someone that is a different race from you – This one is self-explanatory.
  • Water coming from the faucet – A moving subject is always a challenge.
  • A creek in the woods – Be sure to include the elements that surround it as well like perhaps a grassy bank.
  • An object that is moving – This can be anything that moves like a motorcycle, airplane, or car. Try to draw it from observation without the aid of a photo.
  • A view from a window – Look outside, there’s lots to see out there.
  • A candle in the dark – The key to being successful with this idea is all in the value. Try to create a lot of contrast.
  • A set of keys – This subject may see rather easy, but it’s more complex than you think.
  • Your hand holding an apple (or other object) – The way we approach hands changes dramatically when we put objects in them.
  • Your feet – They’re easier than you think, but if you need a little help, check out this lesson – how to draw feet .

Sketching idea - Draw your feet

  • A patterned cloth on a table – Set up at an angle and try to capture the pattern in a sketch.
  • A face in profile – Drawing a face from the side is a little more difficult than sketching one from straight on. Here’s a lesson that may help – how to draw a face .
  • Your eyes – Get that mirror out again and draw your eyes from observation. Here’s a little help – how to draw eyes .

Drawing eyes

  • A close up of grass – Why not try this one with colored pencils or another colored medium.
  • An object three times in different lighting – Set up a still life with only one object. Sketch the object three times, changing the direction of the light source each time.
  • A pile of jewelry – Make sure that you own it.
  • Someone’s hair – Leave the spaghetti for dinner. Hair as a form, not a collection of lines. Here’s a lesson – how to sketch hair .
  • A bird in flight – Might want to use a photo for this one. Here’s a little help – how to draw a bird .
  • A pile of yarn – Talk about a challenge!
  • A stack of dinner plates – This is another idea that may seem easy at first, but once you start dealing with all of the ellipses, the challenge is realized.
  • A trompe l’oeil image – Trompe l’oeil images are designed to fool the eye in believing that what you see is real and not part of an artwork.

Sketching idea - fool the eyes

  • Hung drapery – Take a sheet and hang it from a door or wall and set up a strong light source. Get lost in all of the folds.
  • A water sprinkler – As an added challenge, sketch it with water coming out.
  • Water that is reflective – The key here is the elements around the water. They should be reflected in your image.
  • A person falling – This one is really better suited under the imagination section, but it’s also a wonderful challenge!

Drawing idea #100

  • Just sketch something!

Deciding What to Draw

Hopefully you’re now filled with inspiration and you’re ready to get started. Each of these subjects have been carefully thought out and were chosen for specific ways that they’ll help improve your skills. So you may be wondering, which of these should you tackle first. This will depend on where you are currently in your artistic journey. We’re all at different skill levels.

I may suggest making a game out of your sketching practice. Why not think of these suggestions in terms of a scavenger hunt? Instead of just picking a few, why not tackle them all. Grab a sketchbook with at least 100 pages and draw each idea one by one until you’ve filled it up completely. Then compare your first sketch to your last. You’ll notice a huge difference. You will be get better over time.

More Places to Find Ideas for Drawing

So maybe you’ve scanned the list here and you don’t see anything that appeals to you. Maybe some of the subjects sound too difficult or perhaps you’ve already drawn them before and you don’t want to revisit them. (Revisiting subjects is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, when you revisit a subject for the second time, you find that you’re more successful.)

Fortunately, there are other places to look for drawing inspiration other than this list you may have just stumbled upon. Here are a few more places to look for inspiration and activities that may spark your creativity…

Go For A Walk and Get Ideas

Go for a walk for drawing inspiration and to get more ideas

It also helps to change our environment. It’s great to get outside and take a look around. This also helps to get our creative juices flowing. I often get my best ideas when I’m out on a jog or just walking around the neighborhood.

Going for walk does two things for us. It changes our environment and also gets us moving.

sketchbook ideas themes

Look At Other Drawings – Get Inspired By Other Artists

Get inspiration by looking at other drawings

The internet is a wonderful resource, but looking at art in a physical book or better yet – a gallery or museum is the best option.

Listen to Music Without Lyrics to Get More Ideas

Some people are inspired by other forms of art outside the realm of visual art. Music can be a great source of inspiration and may give you some ideas for your drawings. I’ve found that music that has lyrics is often too literal and is less inspirational. But music without lyrics allows you to paint a scene in your mind and may lead to more than just a quick sketch. You may find that the right music gives you an idea that you can build on and you end up creating a work that is well beyond a simple sketch.

Drawing Basics - Construction

Lesson Discussion

Dear Matt, Thank you for the suggestions. I’m sure they will be of use.

I was just looking for some ideas for sketchbook assignments for my students. It was like you read my mind…and this popped up. Awesome!! I wanted my students to write about their drawings as well…do you have any suggestions? I have all levels from beginners to advanced. I also wanted to know how you would divide your list of assignments according to experience levels.

Thanks so much for this! I’m gonna make sure i do everything on this list !

Thank you Matt, you blessed my day!

Matt, this was especially good for me. I used to draw and love it but that was 4 decades ago. Now as a retired 62-year-old, I’m looking at doing some of things I used to love but I live in a place (south central KY) where local art stores are about an hour away (oh voila, internet!) and drawing lessons are non-existent, except for yours online. I plan to use many of these to practice blind contour drawing (very good for an older mind)and then translate them into more. Thanks!

Thanks Matt for the sketching ideas. I find that when I sketch I tend to put too much detail in to try to make the drawing perfect. I am going to limit myself to 5 min a sketch to try to improve this habit.

Hey..don’t reduce the time…instead after doing a sketch,find a distraction and afterwards look at your sketch..even then,if you feel any detail is missing,then you can add them..by this, we also understand what needs to be changed..

there are several things that i have wanted to get into. photography is one of them and art is another. i have absolutely no talent. i knew someone who was very talented and she said it was just a matter of drawing all the time and getting better as she went along. it seems that you are offering exactly what i need and was looking for. i used to live in new york city where there were plenty of art schools but was not interested at the time. was working and had 2 small children. no time and no money. i still do not have money and i no longer live in new york and do not know of any art schools in my area. i think if i manage my time a little bit better with your teaching i should be able to achieve my goals. life without the internet is no life at all. you came into my life at just the right time. thank you in advance. i hope to learn and have fun.

This list didn’t help me at all, its dump and not useful in anyway. Thxs for notin.

Wow-what a jerk you are. Your just jealous of this awesome dude who made this website. I’d like to see you try to do the same-and fail.

gave me tons of ideas! THANKS A BILLION!

My life has been art! But things changed a few years ago. I’ve been away from drawing and art in general for 10 years because of having several little strokes. My doctor assured me that my art would come back, he said, “Don’t worry, your art will be back in 5 years or so. The brain will re-route around the strokes, it will be back!” I know he was trying to help, but when you spend a lifetime doing something creative everyday and then they tell you it will be back in 5 years, I was devastated! Well, 5 years came and went. This is year 10, I did my first drawing in July! A fawn in grass in the woods surrounded by trees. I had a blast doing the face of that fawn, and the bark of the trees! I’ve been following you for at least a year. You have been a source of inspiration! THANK YOU MARK!

I have this very same problem Fiona !!

Well this didn’t help because I tried for 1 to draw a soul and I ended up crying my eyes out and I’m only 15

Thank you, Thank you!! This really did get me drawing! Thanks a ton.

Thanks for the ideas, if was such a help to me instead thinking of the ideas myself

WoW! this helped so much. Thanks Matt

Comments are closed.

Concept Art Empire

120+ Cool Drawing Ideas For Your Sketchbook

Drawing in your sketchbook is fun, relaxing, and did I mention fun?

It’s always crucial to study the fundamentals and practice your drawing skills like proportions, perspective, value, and composition.

Sometimes though, you just wanna draw. And it’s easy to get into a sketchbook rut where you want to draw but you’re fresh out of ideas(it’s the worst!)

So here are over 120 ideas for those days when you’re looking around like “What the heck do I draw?”

Dig some shoes out of your closet and set up a little still life , or draw the ones on your feet (or someone else’s feet!)

2. Cats & dogs

If you have a furry helper at home, draw them!

If you don’t then just do a quick image search on Google or Pinterest to find a fuzzy friend to draw.

Cat drawings illustrations

3. Your smartphone

Come on, you always have this on you. Pull it out, lay it down, and start drawing.

4. Cup of coffee

Drawing is a great activity to couple with your morning coffee.

Whether it’s black coffee in an old mug or a fancy latte, this is one you should definitely try.

5. Houseplants

Do you have any houseplants around?

Draw their portrait and make ‘em look pretty.

If not, hop on Google to find a picture of a plant you’d love to have in your house.

6. A fun pattern

Start drawing swirls, dots, stripes, zigzags, or whatever you want to create a fun pattern.

Google “zentangling” to get inspiration. (Bonus: This is super relaxing and meditative.)

A globe on a stand is great practice for practicing proportions and symmetry.

You might even improve your geography skills at the same time!

Illustration of globe

Pretty much all artists have a collection of these laying around so make them pull double duty!

Dump out your pencils and start sketching.

Draw that pile of clothes on your floor (pretty sure you have one).

Or draw clothes on hangers, that’s fun.

For an added challenge try drawing clothes on a person or mannequin, but ONLY the clothes.

10. Bananas & apples

Set up a little still life with some fruit from your kitchen. Then enjoy a healthy snack when you’re done.

Illustration of apples and fruits

11. Kitchen utensils

While you’re in the kitchen: grab some silverware or cooking utensils, dump them on the table, and draw them where they fall.

You probably sit on your couch all the time. But have you ever really looked at it?

Get some practice at drawing soft material and gain a new appreciation for your favorite piece of furniture.

13. Headphones

Sketching knots and wires can be tons of fun!

Draw your headphones arranged neatly or in a tangled mess. Although come on, they’re a mess and you know it.

Drawing of headphones

14. Your feet

With or without shoes, feet are an important part of figure drawing.

Put your sketchbook in your lap, look down, and start drawing. Try with bare feet, socks, whatever.

15. Your hands

Now these are always available!

Pose one hand and draw it with the other, or try drawing your dominant hand with your non-dominant one. Or just look up some references and practice drawing hands that way.

Come to think of it, yeah that 2nd option’s gonna be way easier.

Books are surprisingly versatile subjects for artists.

Draw them stacked, open, sprawled on the floor, resting on a shelf, in a box or with a fox .

17. Trees and bushes

If you need a break outside find a shady spot and draw any trees or foliage you see.

You can also do this from a window or just draw from a photograph if the weather isn’t ideal.

18. Pillows

If you want practice time but just don’t want to get out of bed, well here’s your solution.

Practice drawing cloth, folds, and soft material without having to leave your comforter’s warmth.

19. Superheroes

Flip open a comic book and copy your favorite illustrations .

Draw a photorealistic rendering of your favorite Marvel characters, or invent your own superhero in your own style.

20. School desks

Waiting for a class to begin? Bored with the class you’re in?

Pass the time by drawing some desks. Just don’t get caught!

21. Balloons

Balloons are great practice in shapes, lighting, and shading smooth textures.

Find a photograph or use this as an excuse to buy yourself some balloons.

22. Lightbulb

Draw a real one on its own or in a light fixture, or draw a cartoony light bulb to spark your inspiration.

Drawing of a lightbulb

Don’t just watch TV; draw it!

Sketch your fancy flat screen or go for an old-fashioned set with rabbit ears.

24. Cartoon characters

Draw your favorite cartoon or comic book characters, or make up some of your own.

This one should be yabba dabba delightful.

25. Yarn ball

Yarn is a crazy texture. You’ll get a lot of practice here with lines and form.

Pro-tip : Don’t combine this with the “draw a cat” prompt. For obvious reasons.

26. Charger

If you’re craving more after drawing your smartphone, draw the charger!

If you feel really wild draw them both together.

27. Mouse & keyboard

Here’s a fun exercise in linework, shading, and perspective.

Challenge yourself to draw your mouse and keyboard, not just any random mouse and keyboard. Notice what makes it unique.

28. Glasses

Pose your sunglasses or regular glasses and start drawing.

You can have a lot of fun drawing clear or tinted plastic. Or some Where’s Waldo spectacles.

Drawing of glasses

29. Your bed

Try this for a crash course in drawing fabric folds.

But really this is more challenging than it sounds, especially if you don’t make your bed!

30. Staircase

Here’s an amazing exercise in line and perspective work.

Draw stairs from different angles to play with different perspectives. Also try to get the depth just right: it’s tricky but extremely valuable for all artists.

31. The trash

You’d be surprised how many interesting shapes you can find in the garbage.

Draw a dumpster or your kitchen garbage can, or even trash on the street. Then take a nice big inhale to get those “juices” flowing… or just throw it away. Litter ain’t cool.

32. Jewelry

Go through your jewelry box or draw a piece of jewelry on someone else.

See if you can capture the texture and sparkle.

33. Your idea of Heaven (or Hell)

Get creative here!

Make this a whole scene or a series of smaller doodles that encapsulate your idea of heaven or hell.

Or for you married folks maybe it’s better to imagine dinner at the in-laws house. Every night, forever.

34. A silly face

Let loosey and get goosey. Go for realistic portraits, cartoon expressions, or something in between.

It’s all fair game when the end goal is to be a goofball.

Drawing of a silly girl face

35. Paper towels

They seem mundane and utilitarian, but even the most humble objects make great drawing practice.

You’d be surprised how interesting paper towels can be when you try to draw them. Sounds like sarcasm but worth a try right?

36. Notebook

Open, closed, spiral bound, try all the possibilities.

Play with different angles to practice perspective and maybe try drawing one of your other sketchbooks .

37. Bar of soap

Really get into the texture here.

Maybe add some soap bubbles and puddles for fun.

Drawing a bar of soap

38. Shampoo

After you draw soap, get out a shampoo bottle and throw that into the mix.

Or squirt some on the counter just for the fun of drawing a shiny blob of stuff. I don’t know, it’s your sketchbook.

39. A skull

Skulls are super spooky and super fun to draw .

Also they’re genuinely good practice for portrait work and for studying anatomy in general.

If you have one hanging around, arrange it in a still life or draw it on its own. Or just find a photo of a weird animal skull to draw.

40. Skyscrapers

Draw these on blank or grid paper, or draw them wiggly on purpose!

Put your own spin on this and play with line and perspective work.

41. Game controllers

This is extra fun if you have a collection of different video game consoles.

Practice drawing proportions and how light reflects off different plastic materials. Tons of variety here with the shape of joysticks and buttons.

PlayStation 4 controller drawing

Because why not?

If you happen to have a gnome laying around, perfect! If not, Google image search has you covered.

Also I’ve heard you might check somewhere over your garden wall.

Colored pencil drawing of gnome

43. Candy & junk food

If the fruit prompt didn’t do it for you, try this sweet alternative.

Draw the actual food or the package it comes in. Or both. Either way, you learn something!

44. Water bottle

Sketch your bottle, and don’t forget the shadows.

This is a great prompt for lighting practice and working around shapes.

And then, you know, drink some water. All this drawing can make you thirsty.

Draw birds you see in your neighborhood and flying around the local park.

Or do an image search for the most exotic bird you can find. This is one of the best prompts to go from easy to hard with so much to pick from.

Pencil drawings of birds

46. Christmas stuff

Draw lights, Christmas trees, presents, stockings, candy canes, fruit cake, your shih-tzu in his little Christmas sweater…anything goes!

47. Halloween stuff

Another holiday with even more weird stuff.

Skulls, bones, black cats, pumpkins, spiderwebs…the list goes on and on.

Draw your decor, your Halloween candy, anything you can find that’s Halloween-y.

Cool halloween drawing

48. Bathroom faucet

Utilitarian things like this are great for drawing practice.

Especially because you don’t look at them often so you have to pay attention to draw them correctly.

49. Bicycle

Bicycle, tricycle, unicycle, tandem, find any kind of bike you want and put pencil to paper.

50. Skateboard

Doodle around your own skateboard or a picture of one.

Really pay attention to knicks, scratches, and bumps that make that particular skateboard unique. Also I bet it’s got some sick deck art.

51. Monsters

Draw a portrait of your favorite movie monster or invent your own.

Cartoony or scary, the style is totally up to you. Might I recommend starting with Mike Wazowski and working from there?

52. A Chair

For an extra challenge, include shadows with as much realism as possible.

Draw a bare-bones kitchen chair or a plush armchair.

Drawing of a chair - realist style

53. Isometric art

If you need a break from drawing true perspective, give this a try. It’s a fun challenge and not something that most artists bother to practice.

54. Quick poses

Practice your figure skills by limiting yourself to ten, thirty, or sixty second gesture drawings.

This process is covered in detail in Proko’s figure course along with all of his free figure drawing videos.

And if you don’t have a bunch of references saved locally you can always use one of these websites to auto-generate poses. This way you just focus on the drawings and really nailing those gestures.

Drawing plain cubes is great practice for shapes. But it gets kinda boring.

Here’s a fun spin on the classic “draw a cube” exercise.

Drawing of small dice

56. Monopoly pieces

While you’re digging dice out of your board games, try drawing Monopoly pieces too.

There’s a wide variety of subjects here so draw them together or one at a time.

Just don’t be too upset when you realize your old Monopoly game has all the classic pieces you miss .

57. Deck of cards

Before you leave the game cupboard, find a deck of cards.

Draw individual cards, the neatly stacked deck, or play a little 52 pickup and sketch the results.

After you draw some easy subjects take a break on the couch.

While you’re there go through the cushions to find some coins.

Try drawing super detailed pictures of individual coins, or dump them and draw them together.

59. Hair styles

This is another great one if you’re bored on your train commute, in a waiting room, or during a class.

Or if you wanna practice some weird hairdo from the 1930s you saw online.

Drawing of braided hair

60. The sun & moon

Whether you’re into realism or more stylized drawings, this is a fun idea for all skill levels.

Try drawing different phases of the moon for an even better challenge.

61. A bridge

You can draw anything from the Golden Gate Bridge to a simple footbridge in the woods.

Or even better: imagine your own.

Drawing of a bridge colored

Pull up a chair in front of your fish tank or Google pictures of the craziest fish on planet earth.

If you haven’t seen a blobfish before you might wanna look into that.

63. Airplanes

Mechanical things like airplanes are awesome for learning proportions and getting control of your lines.

Try drawing a single seater as well as huge commercial airplanes, or anything else inbetween.

Drawing of Serbia Air airplane in sketchbook

Horses have fascinated artists for millenia.

They’re also insanely hard to draw and require a ton of practice .

Find a field of horses to draw from, or find pictures of different breeds. Catch them running, grazing, jumping, rearing up. The possibilities are endless.

Quick sketches of horses

65. Company logos

This is especially great if you’re into graphic design so you can see how sketching logos works.

Try copying your favorite logos or invent some of your own.

66. Silly hats

Hit up Google for this one, unless you’re a crazy hat connoisseur.

Granted if that’s you, hats off to you! (Sorry that was so bad)

67. Famous statues

The Statue of Liberty, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Little Mermaid…

Google famous statues or statues that exist today. Maybe some others from history. Lots of marble to turn into graphite.

When was the last time you really examined your wallet as an object?

Now’s your chance. Try drawing it open and closed, with money or (as we all know) without money.

69. Gym equipment

Draw weight machines, dumbbells, jump ropes, even the pool.

You can find so many interesting shapes and subjects in a gym and the machines are really complex which is great for practicing concept art ideas.

70. Table fan

If you’re sweating on a hot day, distract yourself by drawing your table fan.

Just make sure to sit where it won’t blow your pages around.

71. Old photos

Google or dig out some old photos and copy them realistically or in your own style.

This one prompt can keep you busy for quite a while and leave you smiling as you dig through old memories.

If you still have any childhood toys or if you have kids, well, draw some toys!

It’s also a good excuse to hit up a toy store at 2 in the afternoon.

73. Celebrity faces

Portrait practice is so important!

And what’s more fun to draw than celebrity portraits?

Try drawing your favorite celebrities in famous roles or at red carpet events.

Fullsize Ariana Grande hyperrealism drawing

74. Guitars

If you have a guitar, draw its outline and practice the details.

Pay special attention to frets or little details that make it special.

Water filling guitar - sketchbook drawing

75. A nice car

Draw your dream car and draw yourself driving it.

Or draw a clunker and slap a ticket under the wipers. That’ll show whoever owns that fictitious pile of junk!

76. The human torso

Practice drawing the torso and spend a lot of time here. Anatomy is huge and torsos have so much musculature to practice.

Try male and female, different body types, with and without clothing.

77. Soda cans

Pay attention to logos here and other things like bar codes or nutrition information labels.

Crunch a few cans if you want a more variety.

78. Scissors

For a deceptively simple prompt, draw scissors from different angles. Open and closed.

79. Staplers

While you’re rifling around for the scissors grab a stapler too.

If you want to get really crazy, open it and scatter a few staples around for an office-themed still life. Just don’t touch Milton’s Swingline.

Drawing of a stapler

Copy some of your favorite emojis or design a few you wish existed.

This can be really fun because you can get pretty crazy with the artistic style.

81. Farm animals

So many to pick from here so I guess just draw your favorite!

Cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, rabbits, goats, get out there and smell that farm air.

This can be anything from vast landscapes like mountains or beaches, to the tiniest leaf or mushroom.

Try a bit of both.

83. Door knobs

Draw every door knob in your home and challenge yourself to make each distinct.

It’s harder than you think!

84. Ice cream

Draw it on the cone, in a cup, or still in the carton.

But draw quick before it melts!

85. Nutella

Basically ice cream but better.

Draw the entire jar or scoop out a spoonful and draw that before you gobble it up.

Drawing of a Nutella jar

Anything ocean-themed is fair game here.

Beaches, coral reefs, starfish, tube worms, anything you can think of. Maybe even some nude beaches if you’re into that kinda thing.

87. Any book cover

Draw your favorite book covers and maybe add a few creative touches.

So many beautiful book covers out there to pick from, with new ones published every week. Go exploring!

Draw your house, a friend’s house, or your dream house.

Or browse Pinterest “dream house” boards because you know there’s thousands of these right?

89. World capitals

Draw some of your favorite cities or world capitals you’d like to visit someday.

Images online might be the place to start but if you can book some plane tickets, even better.

90. A swingset

Visit the local park or your own backyard to draw a swingset.

Try capturing it from multiple angles to really expand your practice regimen.

Whether you want to go cute or scary, try drawing one of these mythical creatures and see how it turns out.

92. Your computer

You spend a lot of time on your computer, so give it some attention and immortalize it in your art.

93. Flowers

Head outside to draw from life, or find photographs of your favorites if things aren’t blooming yet.

Or use this as an excuse to buy yourself a bouquet. Treat yo’self!

Drawing of a colorful flower

94. A clock

This could be anything from your microwave clock to a wristwatch to a grandfather clock to Big Ben.

Or maybe some kind of device that combines all three…

95. Thanksgiving

Draw a Thanksgiving feast, portraits of your relatives, Thanksgiving decor, or anything that reminds you of family time.

96. A king & queen

Draw a king and queen from history, from a favorite book or movie, or create your own.

The Queen of Hearts is also acceptable.

97. Motorcycles

Whether you’re into classic or newer bikes, this is a great idea to practice with texture, form, and shading.

There’s also some pretty gnarly designs out there.

Drawing of cool motorcycle

98. Pool table

If you want to step up your basic shapes try drawing a pool table.

It’s all rectangles and spheres with a lot of nuances between them.

99. An old boat

You can make this as simple or elaborate as you want.

Old rowboat or crazy complex pirate ship, it’s up to you matey.

This one’s open to interpretation and that’s what makes it so fun.

Draw a rabbit in a hat, an abstract sketch of what a spell might look like, or something Harry Potter themed. Just be sure to make it… magical.

They might be extinct, but they’re still great for drawing.

Draw a group, or draw a single magnificent dodo all by its lonesome.

102. Ghosts

Have fun drawing cute, cartoony ghosts, or go all in with the horror and gore.

For an extra challenge play with drawing transparent ghosts. This probably requires a bit of color but it’s fun to see how far you can take little challenges like this.

Drawing of cute ghosts

103. Your window

Wherever you’re sitting, draw the closest window to you. Include curtains, blinds, and maybe even your view.

Or maybe a window to another dimension… *twilight theme starts playing*

104. Zebras

Drawing stripes is fun! Also pretty easy to color if you only have a standard graphite pencil.

If you loved the horse prompt then step it up a notch with this zany creature.

Draw jazz instruments, a jazz band, or even an abstract drawing inspired by jazz music.

Your sketchbook, your rules.

106. Tuxedo

You can always draw a guy in a tux which is pretty sleek.

But you could also draw a tux by itself, a tuxedo cat, tuxedo cake… basically just start chasing tuxedos and see where you end up.

107. Wrapping paper

Whether it’s neatly on the row, plain, heavily patterned, or crumpled and ripped after Christmas morning, this is a fun one to draw.

108. Champagne

Practicing sketching a champagne bottle, a cork, champagne in a flute, or all three!

Make sure to get the bubbles in there too. Texture is everything.

109. The circus

Interpret this how you will but it better be festive.

Draw a tent, acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns, show horses, or peanuts!

You could even do a whole sketchbook series on this.

110. Movie theater

When you think movie theater, what images come to mind?

Popcorn, a ticket stub, or even a poster for the last movie you saw. Or the usher walking up the isles with a flashlight on a hunt for those teenagers making out in the corner.

111. Cigars

Draw a brand new cigar, one that’s smoldering and ashy, or a person smoking one.

And have fun with the smoke! That’s one texture you can really push with some practice.

Drawing of a smoking cigar

112. Pizza box

When your delivery shows up, save the box for drawing practice.

Some may call you crazy but I saw it’s worth it. Or maybe design your own box from scratch.

113. A chocolate factory

Try something that would make Charlie proud.

A building, a variety of chocolate, or something in the variety of Roald Dahl.

114. Anything upside-down

This is a classic art exercise because it forces you to look and not just draw what you think something looks like.

So turn any object or photo upside down and start drawing. Pay careful attention to every detail.

If you’ve never done this before you’ll be amazed at the end result.

115. The tooth fairy

When you were a kid, how did you picture the tooth fairy?

Try drawing that and make your kid-self proud. Or find a photo for inspiration and go from there.

116. Candles

Candles come in all shapes and sizes so they’re great practice for drawing forms.

Not to mention excellent practice for lighting if you draw them lit in a dark area.

Drawing of a lit candle

117. Camping tent

Sketch a regular ol’ tent, with or without scenery, or design the ultimate camping tent.

Or go on a camping adventure and bring that sketchbook with you.

118. Hot tub

Keep it simple and just sketch a hot tub (with the cover on, if you want to stay REALLY simple).

Or draw a full-on hot tub party scene. But if you’re drawing from inside the tub make sure you don’t drop your sketchbook. Paper and bubbling water don’t play nice.

119. April Fool’s Day

Anything that makes you think of April Fool’s Day is fair game here.

From a cheesy banana peel, a flower that squirts water, some diagram for short sheeting a bed, or a picture of someone running into a wall of cellophane.

Turn your sketchbook into a prankster’s paradise.

120. Spaceships

Draw your favorite star ships from science fiction stories and keep em coming!

Add some rockets from history or use this prompt to design your own spaceships.

121. People

People are the ultimate drawing subjects.

Draw yourself, your loved ones, celebrities, and random people you see in public. There’s no better artistic practice than working on real people in the real world.

Realist drawing of three cubes

122. Cubes and spheres

Of course, you can always get back to basics with forms like cubes, spheres, cones, cylinders, and pyramids.

These forms are classics for a reason.

Also if you want some totally awesome & free exercises to practice drawing shapes you should check out the Drawabox lessons .

Drawabox is absolutely perfect for beginners and even really good practice for more experienced artists who want to improve their skills drawing from imagination.

sketchbook ideas themes

Author: McKella Sawyer

McKella is an artist and freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. When she isn't painting or writing for clients she loves to write fiction, travel, and explore the mountains near her home either on foot, horseback, or a mountain bike. You can view her art on Etsy and her writing services at TheCafeWordsmith.com .

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100 Sketchbook Prompts Your Students Will Love

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If you’re anything like me, you can never get enough good sketchbook ideas. I’m always looking for ways to engage students so that they truly  want  to work in their sketchbooks. Whether you use sketchbooks for project planning, skill development, brainstorming, or something else, you’ll find ideas here that will work for you. My sketchbook assignments and prompts take an “all of the above” approach, making the following list well-rounded.

Want an eBook with all these prompts? Click 100 Sketchbook Prompts eBook to find it!  

The list covers many bases and is organized by category. There are prompts about animals, food, people, and other things that will spark interest among students. This list is geared toward secondary students, but you’ll find a lot here that will work for younger students as well. Take a look and see what will work best for you and your students. Add your own favorite sketchbook assignment in the comments below!

Click here  to download the list!

downloadable resource

These prompts are an amazing place to start. However, knowing how to implement the prompts and manage students with sketchbooks is important, too! If you’d like ideas to help your students develop their creativity, drawings skills, and information retention, be sure to check out the following two PRO Packs, which can be found in our PRO Learning .

  • Sketchbook Ideas that Really Work  
  • Implementing Sketchnotes in the Art Room

100 Sketchbook Prompts Your Students Will Love

  • Draw someone you sit by in an odd pose.
  • Draw family members with things that are important to them.
  • Draw yourself (or someone else) painting toenails.
  • Find a quiet place in a crowd. Draw the crowd.
  • Draw a relative by the light cast from a TV/Phone/Computer or other screen.
  • Make a portrait of yourself in twenty years. Or in fifty years. Or both.
  • Draw a masked man (or woman) that is not a superhero.
  • Draw the ugliest baby you can imagine.
  • Draw two sports figures–one in a dynamic pose, one in a static pose.
  • Draw two self-portraits with odd expressions.
  • Draw something or someone you love.
  • Draw hair. A lot of it.
  • Take a picture of someone near you on a bus or in a car. Draw them.
  • Draw an animal eating another animal.
  • Draw your art teacher in a fight with an animal.
  • Draw an animal playing a musical instrument.
  • There is an animal living in one of your appliances. Draw it.
  • Draw a dead bird in a beautiful landscape.
  • Draw something from a pet’s point of view.
  • Draw an animal taking a bath.
  • Draw an animal taking a human for a walk.
  • Combine 3 existing animals to create a completely new creature.
  • Draw a family portrait. Plot twist: It is a family of insects or animals.
  • Draw the most terrifying animal you can imagine. Or the most adorable.
  • Draw a pile of dishes before they get washed.
  • Tighten a C-Clamp on a banana. Draw it.
  • Draw a slice of the best pizza you have ever seen.
  • Draw junk food and the wrapper.
  • Draw your favorite food.
  • Create your own restaurant. Draw the restaurant, your executive chef, and a 12-item menu.
  • Draw the ingredients or process of your favorite recipe.
  • Draw salt and pepper shakers.
  • Draw fresh fruit or vegetables, or something fresh from the oven.
  • Draw a salad.
  • Draw the oldest thing in your refrigerator.
  • Draw a piece of fruit every day until it becomes rotten.
  • Draw everything on a restaurant table.
  • Draw what is in the rearview mirror of the car.
  • Draw moving water. Draw still water.
  • Draw an object floating.
  • Make a drawing of all of your drawing materials.
  • Find a trash can. Draw its contents.
  • Draw tools that belong to a certain profession.
  • Draw three objects and their environments. One of the three should be in motion.
  • Draw the interior of a mechanical object. Zoom in, focus on details and shading.
  • Create three drawings of messes you have made.
  • Draw five objects with interesting textures: wood grain, floors, tiles, walls, fabric, etc.
  • Draw a collection of purses, wallets, or bags.
  • Draw your favorite well-loved object or childhood toy.
  • Draw a watch or another piece of jewelry.
  • Draw something hideous that you keep for sentimental reasons.
  • Draw something with a mirror image.

Technical Skill/Skill Development

  • Draw all the contents of your junk drawer with one continuous line.
  • Make a detailed drawing of a rock.
  • Draw a dark object in a light environment.
  • Draw a light object in a dark environment.
  • Make a detailed drawing of five square inches of grass.
  • Draw a transparent object.
  • Draw a translucent object.
  • Do several studies of eyes, noses, and mouths in a variety of poses.
  • Draw an interesting object from three different angles.
  • Value Studies–Draw three eggs and part of the carton with a strong light source.
  • Draw three metallic objects that reflect light. Focus on highlights and reflections.
  • Refraction–Create two drawings of separate objects partially submerged in water.
  • Make three drawings (your choice of subject) using materials with which you are not familiar.
  • Draw a piece of patterned fabric with folds.
  • Draw a bridge and all of its details.

Creativity/Originality

  • Draw yourself as an original superhero.
  • Make a drawing that looks sticky.
  • Draw a mysterious doorway or staircase.
  • Draw an empty room. Make it interesting.
  • Draw a flower. Make it dangerous.
  • Draw an object melting.
  • Draw an imaginary place, adding all kinds of details.
  • Draw a gumball machine that dispenses anything but gumballs.
  • Danger! Draw yourself in a dangerous situation.
  • You are on the back of the bus. Figure out who is with you, where you are going, and why. Illustrate and explain.
  • Draw what’s under your bed (real or imagined).
  • Draw the most incredible game of hide-and-seek you can imagine.
  • Create a new sport. You can improve an existing sport, combine two existing sports, or come up with something completely new.

Open-Ended Themes

  • Make a drawing that is totally truthful.
  • Make a drawing that lies all over the place.
  • Make a drawing that is completely and utterly impossible.
  • Story Illustration: Fix a story that you don’t like, or reflect/improve upon one you do.
  • Let someone else choose your subject and tell you what to draw.
  • Draw your greatest fear.
  • Use song lyrics, quotes, or poetry to inspire a drawing.
  • Find the three most useless objects you can and draw them.
  • Draw an interesting form of transportation.
  • Draw something for which you are thankful.
  • Go somewhere new and draw what you see.
  • Draw something that can’t be turned off.
  • Draw something soothing.
  • Draw something you think sounds or smells incredible.
  • Draw something that needs fixing.
  • Draw something you’ve always wanted.
  • Draw something out of place.
  • Draw something that should have been invented by now.
  • Draw something you keep putting off, or something that causes you to procrastinate.

Does this list inspire you to take some sketchbook assignments head on in your art room? Or maybe the opposite is true and you are finding that you feel underprepared to teach drawing skills. Maybe you fall somewhere in between and you just need a little more inspiration to tweak your drawing curriculum. These are all great reasons to take a peek at our course, Studio: Drawing . The class is jam-packed with hands-on learning experiences, advanced technique tutorials, and opportunities to share and learn with art teachers just like you.

What are your favorite sketchbook prompts to use? How do you use sketchbooks in your classroom?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.

sketchbook ideas themes

Timothy Bogatz

Tim Bogatz is AOEU’s Content & PD Event Manager and a former AOEU Writer and high school art educator. He focuses on creativity development, problem-solving, and higher-order thinking skills in the art room.

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101 Sketchbook Ideas to Make Your Drawings Interesting

By: Author Jae Johns

Posted on Last updated: February 6, 2023

Categories Drawing

101 Sketchbook Ideas to Make Your Drawings Interesting

So, you love drawing but run out of the sketchbook ideas that you can use in your drawings and finished works to make them even more interesting?

You’ll discover some great ideas for beginners or if you’re an artist that just needs some extra inspiration. 

You have a habit of keeping a sketchbook, but it has become a challenge for you to know what to draw in your sketchbook.

Do not get worried guys, we have got you covered with these amazing sketchbook practice ideas. 

Just read till the end and explore over 80 ideas for those days when you are looking around like what should I draw in my sketchbook?

At times, it is difficult to think about ideas for our sketchbooks.

We look at our blank sketchbook pages but we fail to get some ideas to jumpstart our creative juices.

The only solution to this is to draw more because the more we draw, the better we will get ideas.

A sketchbook is not just a piece of paper and a place to practice, it is one of the best places to plan, draw, and find some drawing inspiration.

Drawing in a sketchbook is not only relaxing but fun as well.

But studying the fundamentals of drawing and practicing your drawing skills is very important.

To perfect your drawing skills, you need to learn the basics of drawing including value, perspective, composition, and proportion, and repeat them over and over again.

Get ready to try these amazing sketchbook ideas and say NO to blank pages!

So, you want to expand your sketching capabilities and get drawing ideas for your sketchbook that’ll help you create an amazing sketchbook!

You want to try out some new ideas.

Have no fear because, in today’s blog, we have created a list of 80 drawing ideas that can get you sketching right now and can surely make your drawings beautiful and attractive, no matter what your drawing expertise is.

Why Sketching These Ideas are Important

These ideas may range from everyday objects of your home to architectural drawings and life drawing.

We recommend you to try out all the ideas so that you can get to know sketching from every perspective, whether it’s observing how to draw a one-point perspective or a two-point perspective.

Plus, it is equally important to invest in good drawing supplies to get the best results.

You need to get the best drawing pencils and colored pencils along with a good sheet of paper.

drawing ideas for your sketchbook

What to Draw in your Sketchbook

I have divided the sketchbook ideas into three main categories – simple drawing ideas, challenging drawing ideas, and drawing from imagination. 

Challenging drawing ideas will give you a bit challenging of course but they will be completed in just no time, resulting in beautiful artworks.

Even though they might be a challenge, these are all things to draw in your sketchbook that shouldn’t be too difficult and will make an interesting drawing.

So, let’s learn these drawing ideas with step-by-step tutorials that will show you exactly how to implement those ideas.

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Simple and Easy Drawing Ideas

Let’s begin with simple drawing ideas.

We are calling them ‘easy’ because the shapes or lines used in such drawings are simple and do not need many techniques.

You might even be surprised that these are simple drawing ideas but will still give you such creative sketchbook ideas.

I highly recommend the following sketchbook prompts for beginners. 

01. Draw a Stack of Books

One of the simplest yet interesting sketchbook ideas is to draw a stack of books.

Find some old books from a book corner in your room and stack them up.

Draw it from different angles.

If you want to draw books with a pencil sketch, all you need for this is a sharpened pencil, an eraser, and a nice sheet of paper.

You can also fill the books with your favorite colors.

02. A Houseplant

A houseplant always makes a good subject for drawing.

It’s an easy sketchbook idea that you draw while your mind is thinking about other things.

By drawing a houseplant, you can combine natural features with some solid elements such as you can draw a potted plant having some light effects on it.

Before starting to draw, get your art supplies so that you can concentrate on drawing instead of collecting supplies.

03. A Pair of Shoes

Open your closet and find an ordinary item in it.

That’s a pair of shoes, go and draw it.

You can go for a pair of shoes that fit a businessman or you can draw your favorite sneakers.

For this piece of drawing, try to start with rough but light pencil strokes.

04. Sketch the Shape of Clouds and Sky

One of the simplest sketchbook ideas is to sketch the shape of the cloud and sky.

You can draw a sunny sky, a starry sky, or clouds.

You can draw clouds and the sun in your other paintings to make a scene look more beautiful and attractive.

With a pencil, eraser, and paper, you will need cotton or a blending stump to blend the shading area.

Drawing clouds and skies are some of the easiest sketchbook practice ideas that are relaxing and anyone can do. 

05. Kitchen Utensils

Want to get some drawing inspiration?

Go to your kitchen, get some utensils, toss them on a table, and draw them as they land.

As you cook with adventures, similarly add some fun in your drawings by sketching kitchen utensils.

You can put some fruits and vegetables on a table and draw them from various angles.

06. A City Skyline

If you are a country lover, drawing a city skyline is a great idea for you.

Most people think that a city skyline is a bit complex to draw but the fact is it is quite simple and easy to draw a skyline.

With some lines and connected rectangles, you can add layering to draw more rows of buildings.

It will be a great sketchbook idea if you want to practice your drawing skills or you are just looking to fill an empty space.

how to draw a dog

07. Cats and Dogs

If you have a cat or a dog in your house, draw them.

Here’s a step-by-step on how to draw a dog .

In case you do not have a fuzzy animal with you, do a quick search on Google, and make a drawing.

Drawing a cat or a dog is a good drawing idea because it’s a way to instantly attract people’s attention to your illustration when you have pets in your scene.

08. An Open Book

If you are not interested in drawing a stack of books, take one book, open it, and make a drawing on it from different angles.

09. A Piece of Jewelry

Another sketching idea that you can try is to draw a piece of jewelry.

Open your jewelry box, take out a ring, a necklace, or a bracelet, and draw it.

You can also do a pencil sketch on it on you can fill it with colors if you want.

10. Draw a Towel in Different Positions

One of the simplest sketchbook ideas is to draw a towel in different positions.

You can draw a hanging towel or a crumpled towel as you want.

This drawing idea will definitely assist you in bringing some creativity as well as positivity to your days!

11. Draw Items from Your Fridge

While you are making drawings of kitchen utensils, why not open your fridge and draw whatever inside it?

You can draw a bottle of jam, a pouch of sauce, or a pot of fruits and vegetables.

By opening up your fridge, you’ll have many drawing ideas for your sketchbook.

how to draw a rose

12. Draw Roses

Drawing roses is not only easy but have fun and adventure in it as well.

As the rose is said to be a symbol of love, so you can draw it and present it to your loved one.

For a beautiful sketch of roses, you need to take a bit of practice but if you try it over and over again, you will have a lot more beautiful sketches of roses all over your house.

Drawing a rose is an easy sketchbook idea that you can do in 7 easy steps.

Here’s a step-by-step to show you how to draw a rose.

13. Your Smartphone

We always have our smartphone with us so it will not be a bad idea to pull it out from your pocket, lay it down, and start drawing.

Beginning with the general outlines of the smartphone, draw its buttons.

You can give them color as well.

14. An Unfolded Laundry

Another great idea is to draw a pile of folded or unfolded laundry.

Drawing folds of laundry is a bit challenging.

To show cloth folds, you can implement line drawing as well as shading to show compression and tension applied to the fabric.

Believe me, your portraits will look realistic due to these techniques.

15. A Globe

If you are fond of studying the planet Earth, why not learn how to draw a globe.

It is a great activity if you want to practice symmetry and proportions at the same time.

Get a nice sheet of paper with sharpened pencils.

First, draw a big circle and then go for drawing curved, horizontal, and vertical lines to add a final detail to your globe.

16. A Fresh Bouquet of Flowers

You can create a stunning drawing of a fresh-cut bouquet of flowers.

For drawing flowers, try colored pencils, hone your drawing skills, and masterfully create lifelike drawings.

17. The Inside of Your Closet

Drawing the inside of your closet with clothes is another sketchbook idea you can try.

18. Pencils

Sitting idle?

Take out your colored pencils and paints and draw them.

It is very easy to draw a pencil as you need to draw only three parts – point, cap, or barrel.

19. Trees Outside the Window of Your Room

It would not be a bad idea if you try to draw trees outside the window of your room.

All you need to do is draw the branches and the crown and then find a balance that you are happy with.

Take a regular sketching pencil and start drawing.

If you know nothing about drawing, you may go for drawing a simple tree.

sketchbook ideas themes

20. Draw Smokey Eyes

If you love doing makeup especially eye makeup, then the best thing you can draw is smokey eyes.

Yes, it is right.

Take a sheet of paper with some good drawing pencils .

With the help of this drawing, you can try different eye shapes as well.

Drawing eyes is another good drawing idea that you can do in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a step by step to draw an eye .

21. A Robot

Why not draw a robot today?

Drawing a robot is one of the simplest sketchbook ideas that you must try if you are sitting alone and want to draw something to get some inspiration.

22. Your Headphones

So, you love listening to music on your headphones?

Why not try drawing your headphones?

Believe me, it will be a great idea that will not only give you inspiration but will make your drawing fun as well.

Arrange them neatly or put them on the table as they are, I mean in a tangled mess and then draw.

If you want to enhance your drawing skills and are exhausted with every drawing option you have, it is the best time to draw a car.

It is not only simple and easy but can increase your drawing skills as well.

24. A Fruit Cut in Half | a Unique Sketchbook Idea

A unique sketchbook idea is to draw a fruit cut in half.

Take your favorite food, put it on a plate, and cut it in half. Now take a paper and draw this fruit.

You can also add colors to enhance your drawing.

25. Draw a Dragon

To draw a dragon, the first step is to draw two circles that may serve as the guide to the dragon’s body.

Try to maintain the proper size and spacing of the circles as it may determine the dragon’s size.

Besides pencil sketch, try to give a color to your dragon. Use dark colors on the top of the head and neck.

26. Pillows

So, you want to draw something without having to leave your comforter’s warmth.

Making a sketch of your pillows is not a bad idea at all.

You can show folds of cloth with the help of a pencil sketch.

27. House Keys | an Easy Sketchbook Idea

Another easy sketchbook idea inspired by real-life is to draw house keys attached to a key chain.

If you want to acquaint your children with domestic animals especially cows, it is not a bad idea to make a drawing of a cow. It is very easy guys.

You just need to learn some simple shapes and it will not only become a doable task for you but a lot of fun as well.

You can add colors also.

29. A Cup of Coffee

Do you love coffee?

While drinking coffee in the evening, it would not be a bad idea to draw a cup of coffee.

Put it on the table and start drawing it from different angles.

You can also go to a coffee shop and try drawing there.

30. Draw a Penguin

To add creativity to your drawings, start making a drawing on a cartoon penguin wearing a scarf.

By drawing some simple shapes, you will get a drawing of a penguin.

All you need is a drawing paper, a black marker, and some crayons.

31. Butterflies

For making your drawings fun, try making a sketch of butterflies.

Add colors to enhance your artwork.

32.A Spider

Get outside of your comfort zone and draw a spider with its web.

34. A School Desk

So, you are waiting for a class to begin.

Pass your time by drawing a school desk.

35. A Cup of Pencils

Take a cup of pencils, put it on a table, and start sketching.

36. Draw an Octopus

Choose your favorite creature who lives in the water.

If you like an octopus, start making a sketch on it.

37. Draw Leaves of a Flower

Go outside and start drawing the leaves of a flower.

38. Draw a Smile

For drawing a lifelike portrait, know how to draw a smile. You can draw other facial features as well such as eyes, nose or ears, etc.

39. Balloons

Take a picture of balloons from the Internet or buy a few.

Take a paper and draw them. Use good-quality colors as well.

If you want to draw something unique and different, try making a sketch of fish.

Challenging Drawing Ideas That Will Give You an Interesting Drawing

Every artist wants to discover things and implement them in his/her drawings.

If you are an artist, whether a beginner or an expert, you should try something unique and challenging.

Although trying simple ideas save you a lot of time, if you spend all your time in sketching simple and easy things, you will fail to get improvement.

So, for you, we have compiled a list of some challenging drawing ideas so you can master in your field.

41. Drawing a Mandala

An abstract design that is circular in form is known as a mandala.

It may also carry some images in it that has a special meaning for the one who draws it.

It seems really complicated to draw a mandala but once you know the steps, it becomes very easy to draw.

Adding a variety of colors in a mandala may show your connection with your inner world and reality.

42. A Glass of Water

Creating a realistic drawing of a glass of water is another sketchbook idea that will make your drawings interesting.

With the help of this type of drawing, you can show reflection and transparency at the same time.

You can also show light passing through a glass of water to add to its uniqueness.

Plus, add light and dark tones as well to give a finishing touch to your drawings.

43. A Family Photograph

A family photograph is the next challenging yet stunning artwork you can draw in your sketchbook.

Take out an old photo with all of your family members and begin to draw a stunning family photograph that you will treasure forever.

You can also get inspiration from the separate photos and draw them as everyone is together!

44. Draw a Dandelion

By practicing to draw a dandelion flower, we are sure you will draw it in no time. It will be fun to draw.

You will need to have a watercolor paper, a good set of markers and paintbrushes, and a bleeding tissue paper.

45. Draw with Your Non-Dominant Hand or Use Your Both Hands

Using your non-dominant hand or both hands for drawing is a challenging task.

Using a non-dominant hand means that if you are right-handed, try to draw with your left hand.

Learning this type of drawing will definitely increase your creativity.

46. Your Hands or Feet

One of the most challenging sketchbook ideas is to draw your hands or feet.

Most people believe that it is quite difficult to draw a hand but once you know how to look for specific shapes, the task will become easier.

47. A Person You Admire

Drawing a photo of a person you admire is a good drawing idea.

So, take out his/her photograph and start drawing.

It may be a challenging task even for the expert artists so it is better to know the simple tricks by which you can sketch the basic outline of the person and then make minor adjustments.

48. Do a Blind Contour Challenge

Another great sketchbook idea is to do a blind contour challenge.

Take a paper and a pencil and draw anything without looking at the paper.

You can go for a simple drawing or you can draw anything that comes to your mind.

Another challenge that you can take is to draw with a pencil without lifting your hand from the paper.

49. A Scene in a Restaurant

Having dinner in your favorite restaurant?

Make some memories by sketching a scene in a restaurant.

Sit in the corner and start sketching!

50. A Pair of Glasses

Besides drawing a glass of water, if you want to learn more about reflection and transparency more, draw a pair of glasses.

You can also color this drawing and can decorate your room with your lovely coloring drawing pages.

51. Draw a Person Sitting in a Chair

Another challenging drawing idea is to draw a person sitting in a chair at different angles.

52. Shrubs and Bushes

Take your sketchbook out, find a shady spot, and practice drawing shrubs and bushes.

53. Play with Lighting

The next big and challenging sketchbook idea is to play with lighting.

Go outside of your house, choose your favorite spot, and start drawing different scenes of the day in the morning, evening, and at night.

54. A Spaceship

If you like to explore space and different planets, it is the best idea to draw a spaceship that is capable of returning from space to Earth.

This type of drawing will look very impressive.

You can also draw a cartoon spaceship if you want!

55. Draw an Image of an Old Person

It would be a challenge for you to draw an image of an older person.

Show the wrinkles on the face with drawing pencils.

You can also show an old man sitting in a chair or walking with a stick.

56. The Back of Someone’s Head

Waiting for your order in a restaurant? Want to do something to pass some time?

Take a paper and a drawing pencil and draw the back of someone’s head.

Or you may sketch someone on public transit as well.

It will be a little difficult but with practice, you will learn to draw.

57. Your Favorite Landscape

So, you wanted to go on a vacation but your plan canceled due to some reasons.

Do not be sad!

To feel like you are on your favorite spot, it is a good idea to draw your favorite landscape.

58. Draw a Statue from a Museum

If you want to learn more about art, try sketching a sculpture from the past.

Go to a museum, work on your ideas, and draw a statue.

With good-quality drawing pencils, make a sketch and keep it in your art gallery.

59. Make a Sketch of an Old Camera

So, we are talking about taking photos and drawing something for example a family photograph.

Now it is time to take an old camera and make a sketch of it.

The shape of the camera, its buttons, and the text on them will definitely give you a nice challenge.

60. Give an Object a Face

Create stunning artwork by giving an object a face.

61. Metal Objects

Metal objects do not only have a unique texture in them but reflect light as well.

It is also fun to draw metallic objects.

It would be a challenge for you to draw metal effects effectively.

The materials you will need for this will be a sharpened pencil, a ruler, an eraser and some good sketching pencils.

62. A 3D Sphere

One of the most challenging sketchbook ideas is to draw a 3D sphere.

63. Draw Ocean Waves

It would be a real challenge for you to draw ocean waves as it is always challenging to make sketches of the things that are in constant motion.

64. Make a Sketch of an Old Factory

If you live in the city, go out with your sketchbook, find an old factory, and make a sketch.

It will be a great experience to draw the years of aging of an old factory.

65. Draw People Standing in a Line

Another amazing drawing activity is to draw people who are standing in a line.

It is always challenging to draw people.

So, if you want to improve your drawing skills, it is the quickest way.

Draw from Imagination

At times, you want to practice but there is not a suitable object to work on.

At this time, it is better to draw from imagination.

66. Create a Fun Pattern

Another amazing drawing idea is to create a fun pattern using dots, lines, swirls, curves, zigzags, and stripes.

67. Draw a Scene from History

Another drawing idea when working from imagination is to draw a scene from history.

Look back at the events of history and draw them on paper as if you were there.

68. Draw a Room You Want to Have in Your New House

If you are planning to move to a new house, it is a great idea to draw a room you want to have in your new house.

Sketch out the basic things like a bed, sofa, or dressing table.

Go for a pencil sketch or if you want, add colors to enhance your artwork.

This is also a great drawing idea if you are sitting idle and have nothing to do!

69. A Person Hitting the Ball

Another drawing from imagination practice is to draw a person hitting a ball.

Take a paper, draw a grid layout, and mark off the width and height of the picture.

Outline the shape of his body and draw his facial features.

You can make it simple or funny.

Let your imagination go!

70. A Moving Object

Get an observation from a photo and draw a moving object.

It could be anything like a car, a motorcycle, or an airplane.

71. Draw Your Meal

Another thing that you can draw is to imagine the meal you will eat for a week.

You can draw every portion of your meal with a pencil sketch.

72. A Couch

So, you have a couch in your living room on which you sit and enjoy watching TV.

Look at it deeply and get some practice of drawing a couch and show its soft material through the sketch.

You can also draw your favorite piece of furniture from your room.

73. A Tea Party

Planning for a tea party with your friends?

Let’s try out making a sketch of a tea party.

74. Draw a New Font

Take a paper and draw a few letters on it.

Also, try to draw a new font.

This will definitely boost your drawing skills.

75. The Items on your Coffee Table

If you want to draw something unique and creative, reproduce the items on your coffee table.

Plus, think about what more items you can add to your coffee table and start making a drawing on them.

76. Scenes from Everyday Memory

Think of two favorite scenes from your everyday memory.

Dedicate your time in drawing those scenes.

77. Superheroes

Pen a comic book and make a drawing of your favorite superheroes.

Not only this, but you can also create your own superhero in your own style.

You may go for drawing Superman, Hulk, Spiderman, Aquaman, and much more.

78. Draw Your Favorite Things

Get an idea of your favorite things in mind. Start drawing them.

As there will be a variety of things, so you will also get to learn drawing things from various aspects.

Try to add color in a few things while keeping a few items without color.

79. Draw Your Dream House

It will be a lot of fun to draw your dream house.

80. A Sailboat

Another classic subject for practice is to draw a sailboat.

81. Make a Sketch of Your Home in Space

To enhance your creative thought, make a sketch of your home in space.

More Sketchbook Prompts

Get ready to bring your A-game to art class. These sketchbook prompts are gonna take your creativity and imagination to the next level. These ideas are gonna inspire you to flex those illustration skills and make the most of every art session. 

82. Draw Your Favorite Animal

You can draw your favorite animal. It could be anything from a pet to a dangerous predator. Give yourself some freedom and get creative with the pose, surroundings, and overall look of the animal. 

83. Draw a Scenic View

Bring a landscape to life. It could be a cityscape, seascape, or a mountainous view. Add some details, like trees, buildings, and clouds, to make it more interesting. 

84. Design a Fantasy Word

For artists, who love using their imagination, a fantasy scene prompt is a no-brainer. You can create a world filled with mythical creatures, enchanted forests, and otherworldly landscapes. How cool is that?

85. Sketch Your Dream Vacation

Turn your dream vacation into a reality with a sketch in your sketchbook. From the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the bustling streets of Tokyo, capture the essence of your dream destination and exercise your artistic skills. So go ahead, grab your sketchbook and start planning your next adventure today!

86. Draw Your Fam Portrait

A family portrait is a great way to create something and focus on the people you love. Try to include all members of their family, including pets, in the portrait.

87. Draw a City Skyline at Night

City skylines are incredible. (They look even cooler at night). Artists can draw their favorite city skyline lit up with the bright lights of the city. Focus on the architecture and details of the buildings and make it look as realistic as possible. 

88. Sketch a Park Scene

Parks are great places for artists to unwind, relax, and draw some inspiration. Draw a park scene with people, trees, and anything else you find interesting. You can add some color to the picture to make it pop. 

89. Design a Comic Strip

For artists who love to tell a story, a comic strip prompt is a must. Use your imagination and create a series of drawings to tell a story. Whether it’s a funny joke, an action-packed adventure, or a heartwarming tale, you can get creative and have some fun with this one. 

90. Sketch Your Favorite Food

Who doesn’t love food, my friend? Draw your favorite dish or cuisine. Whether it’s a delicious pizza, a mouth-watering burger, or a fancy steak, you can draw your favorite food and make it look as tasty as possible. 

91. Draw a Self-Portrait

Self-portraits are a great way for artists to reflect on themselves and their unique style. Draw a self-portrait—one that captures your essence and personality. You can add some color, background, and props to make it more interesting.

92. Create a Still Life Drawing

Still life drawings are fantastic! They’re a classic way to hone in on those observation skills and show off your attention to detail. Grab a vase of flowers or some other object from around the house and get to sketching! Make it as detailed as possible, let’s see those skills shine! Here are some still life drawing tips .

93. Sketch a Sweet Ride

For all the gearheads out there, this one’s for you! Draw your favorite ride in all its glory! Make it look as sweet as possible with all the details, whether it’s a fantastic car, truck, or motorcycle. Let’s see those flashy and impressive drawings!

94. Draw a Beach Scene

Time to hit the beach and bring out your drawing skills. Draw the sand, water, and all the cool stuff you see around you.

Add some people chillin’, boats, and palm trees to make it look like a tropical paradise. 

95. Design a Character

For all the storytellers out there, it’s time to let your imaginations run wild.

Design a fantastic character—whether it’s a superhero, a monster, or anything in between. Show off your creativity and have fun with it!

96. Sketch a Tree and its Surroundings

Nature lovers, this one’s for you. Draw a tree in all its glory, with its branches, leaves, and everything else that makes it special.

Add some birds, animals, and flowers to make it look like a real-life forest. Get ready to bring the outdoors inside with this sketch!

97. Create a Space Scene with Planet and Stars

Discover the wonder of space and bring it to life with a mesmerizing space scene in your sketchbook. Use color, light, and shadow to capture the vastness and diversity of the universe, highlighting the planets and stars that make it so special. 

98. Draw a Water Scene

Take advantage of the peaceful and calming effects of water by sketching a beautiful water scene.

Whether it’s a river surrounded by trees and rocks or a lake surrounded by mountains, you’ll learn about the value of nature and have the chance to experiment with different techniques for creating serene landscapes.

99. Create a Jungle or Forest Scene

Explore the beauty and intricacy of nature by creating a scene inspired by it. From jungles filled with animals and plants to forests with hidden creatures and foliage, you’ll have the chance to learn about ecology and biology while honing your skills!

100. Sketch a Historical Monument or Building

Discover the rich history and cultural heritage of humanity by sketching a historical monument or building in your sketchbook. From the Colosseum in Rome to the Great Wall of China, you’ll learn about history and architecture while improving your artistic skills. 

101. Draw a Favorite Mythical Creature in a Whimsical Setting

Bring your favorite mythical creatures to life with a whimsical scene in your sketchbook. Whether it’s a unicorn in a magical forest or a dragon in a magical castle, you’ll hone your skills in creating a fantastical landscape.

Other topics to help you draw:

  • 19+ Best Sketchbooks to Help You Make Better Drawings
  • 29+ Easy Ideas for Your Art Journal Pages
  • Can Drawing Be Learned?
  • 25 Must-Have Drawing Tools for Beginners

It is easy to get into a sketchbook but what if your mind is out of ideas?

It’s the worst.

The above-mentioned top 80 ideas, tips, and resources will surely help you to get to drawing for your sketchbook.  

As a result, this list will help you know what to draw in your sketchbook to create an amazing sketchbook. 

Not only will you have an amazing sketchbook, but by drawing these ideas it will be like sketchbook exercises to help you get better.

If you want to get perfection in your drawing skills, practice is very important.

You need to dedicate some time to this pursuit and by practice, you will be able to draw simple sketches to figure drawing to fully-rendered portraits in just a short span of time.

You can dedicate a specific time for this activity or you may even try out these ideas when you are bored or you want a break from your daily chores or you do not want your mobile!

So, what are you waiting for now?

Try out these amazing sketchbook ideas, practice your drawing skills, and add more to your creativity!

Question of the Day:  What are your favorite sketchbook ideas on this list?

Free Drawing Course – Draw Better In 9 Days

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sketchbook ideas themes

What to Draw

Sketchbook Drawing Ideas and Inspiration

sketchbook ideas themes

Everyday Objects

People / animals, get creative.

  • When You're Stuck

When you're struggling with artist's block, there are never too many drawing ideas. One of these easy drawings might joggle your creativity and help you put the pencil to the page. If you're unsure of what to sketch, let this article serve as the starting point of your brainstorming session. Hopefully, you'll land on some sketchbook inspiration that will launch you back into regular drawing sessions.

For best results, quickly read through this list of sketchbook drawing ideas and mark off any ideas that strike you. Next, build off of those ideas with others that come to mind. Finally, pick your favorite and just get started. Try not to overthink this process. Make your selection based on impulse instead. Don't worry if the drawing turns out poorly; that's the beauty of a sketchbook. Nothing is meant to be perfect — progress over perfection.

  • Head to a local body of water and sketch the shore.
  • Lay on the grass and draw the clouds.
  • Go somewhere you've never been and draw one nature find.
  • Draw the tree outside your window.
  • Find a landscape with depth, like a long winding road.
  • Have a friend send you a photo of a landscape from their phone to draw.
  • Draw an image from outer space.
  • Draw the same scene in the morning, afternoon, and night.
  • Sketch the exterior of your current home or a dream home.
  • Draw the scene outside your house after a tornado.
  • Learn how to draw waves in the middle of the ocean.
  • Use colored pencils to depict a pair of apples.
  • Draw one object that's on your desk.
  • Sketch out your last meal.
  • Throw a piece of clothing on the ground and then draw it.
  • Draw out your favorite food from memory.
  • Sketch out a picture of something that was given to you.
  • Pick one object and draw it from three different perspectives.
  • Draw an entire series of flowers, one stem at a time.
  • Sketch out one small section of a houseplant.
  • Squeeze a piece of citrus fruit and then draw it.
  • Draw an object in an unexpected place, like a toothbrush in a milk carton.
  • Create a drawing of your favorite crystal specimen.
  • Learn how to draw a charcoal portrait .
  • Work on one part of the face, like a series of eyes.
  • Turn your face into a cartoon character.
  • Take a selfie and then sketch it out.
  • Draw a small, obscure part of your face in detail like one eyelash.
  • Sketch yourself as an infant.
  • Draw a series of the same face depicting different emotions.
  • Draw a portrait of a person you wish you could meet.
  • Draw a face with at least one striking characteristic like a unibrow.

Figure Drawing

  • Work on your nude figures by drawing bodies in multiple positions.
  • Draw a self-portrait of you in your favorite outfit.
  • Sketch out an imaginary family portrait.
  • Draw a pair of holding hands.
  • Sketch out a person who is dancing.
  • Recreate your favorite photograph of you with family or friends.
  • Draw a piece of jewelry on a body.

Breeds and Species

  • Draw a fantastical series of butterflies.
  • Sketch an image of your pet.
  • Ask a friend their favorite animal and then draw it.
  • Go to the zoo and draw an animal up close.
  • Invent your own animal.
  • Draw a school of imaginary fish.
  • Quickly sketch out a picture of Frankenstein.
  • Pick and draw your favorite superhero.
  • Turn your pet into a character.
  • Draw a scene from your favorite fairy tale.
  • Design a high-tech robot or machine from the future.
  • Draw a random scribble and then turn that scribble into a character.
  • Craft your own anime character.
  • Practice your calligraphy skills.
  • Sketch out your favorite quote.
  • Turn a word or letter into a drawing.
  • Design a custom typeface.
  • Create a logo for a make-believe business.
  • Recreate an existing business logo like Nike.
  • Create make-believe characters.
  • Turn fruit into a person.
  • Draw an image from the last dream that you remember.
  • Fill an entire page with doodled objects then create a key of things to find.
  • Recreate your favorite famous painting in your style.
  • Draw a series of five three dimensional squares and shade each one a different way.
  • Sketch out a series of basic shapes like hearts, stars, and diamonds.
  • Turn a mountain landscape into an abstract fantasy world.
  • Make a drawing depicting your current emotion.
  • Ask the next person you see to name the first word that comes to their head, then draw it.
  • Create a custom pattern or wallpaper.
  • Draw a series of objects where each object is the wrong scale.
  • Create a custom paisley or mandala pattern.
  • Doodle whatever comes to mind without thinking.

When You're Stuck

If none of these drawing ideas got you out of your rut, then perhaps it's time to try something different. Considering the following drawing tips if you're in need of a fresh start.

  • Change your location. If you always draw at the same desk at the same time of day, try to switch up your positioning to get inspired. Move to a different room or go outside in the shade. You might have the best technique at your desk, but inspiration could strike for a new sketch out in the world somewhere.
  • Switch up your medium. One effective solution is to experiment with different media that you're unfamiliar with. Instead of a pencil, try out crayons, pastels, or charcoal. You might even enjoy some painting projects.
  • Get accountable and set a deadline. If you draw for fun, chances are you might not have many deadlines. However, if you want to take your drawing hobby more seriously, set a deadline. You can do this by joining an online drawing challenge on Instagram or taking on drawing commission for a friend.

We hope these sketching ideas gave you hope that blank pages aren't all that awaits you. If all else fails, go back to the basics and start with some simple drawing exercises. You could also find and follow along with an online drawing tutorial. Good luck!

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  • Introduction to Photography: 8 Tips for Beginners

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Home > art & design

60 + Easy Drawing Ideas For Your Sketchbook

sketchbook ideas themes

You’re looking at a blank sketchbook page and you’re at a loss for your next drawing idea…again. Whether you need a creative break in the day, a weekend project, or more drawing prompts to fill the pages, it can be challenging to keep generating cool drawing ideas.

We’ve compiled a list of ideas, tips, and resources to jumpstart your creative juices no matter your drawing expertise – now grab your tools and get going.

Drawing Ideas: People

  • Draw a caricature of yourself.
  • Depict yourself as a superhero.
  • Draw self-portraits from different perspectives. Try positioning a mirror from different angles.
  • Sketch your hands in different positions. Draw your feet.
  • Draw a close up of the eye. Try your teeth. Do a study of different people’s ears.
  • Draw a self-portrait from your reflection in a spoon.
  • Draw yourself double your age.
  • Study and sketch people in cafes, parks, and on public transportation.

CreativeLive has tons of classes on Art & Design, Photography, and more. Learn more. 

Drawing Ideas: Landscape/Perspective

  • Draw the view out of a window.
  • Draw the clouds.
  • Capture the view from your car’s rearview mirror.
  • Play with perspective: look up under a bridge, between high rises, or at the ceiling of an elaborate building. Look down over an overpass, a cliff, or from a balcony.

Drawing Ideas: Imagination

  • Draw an object and give it a face.
  • Create an alternate cover to your favorite book or album.
  • Illustrate a scene from your favorite song.
  • Draw a scene or character from your favorite book.
  • Illustrate your favorite fairy-tale.
  • Invent your own insects.
  • Draw an intricate made up flower. Make it a bouquet.
  • Design your own typeface.
  • Draw something truthful.
  • Draw something false.
  • Create your own game board.
  • Combine animals to make your own mythical creature.
  • Draw a scene from a dream you’ve had.
  • Draw a home in outer space.
  • Play the exquisite corpse drawing game.
  • Fill the page with things with wheels.
  • Fill the page with things that float.
  • Fill the page with robots.
  • Combine two subjects that don’t belong together in the same scene.
  • Design your personal logo.
  • Divide a paper into 6 sections and create a different pattern in each one.

Drawing Ideas: Still life

  • Draw a towel in different positions: crumpled, hanging, strewn on the ground.
  • Get a handful of utensils and toss them on the table. Draw them as they land.
  • Draw a still life of items from your fridge or pantry.
  • Draw the ingredients of your next meal before your prepare it.
  • Draw an old pair of shoes.
  • Draw a pile of unfolded laundry.
  • Draw a fruit or vegetable sliced open.
  • Draw the inside of your closet.
  • Draw your room before it’s cleaned.
  • Draw the same still life 3 times, zooming farther in each time.

Drawing Ideas: Weeklong

  • In your sketchbook, make 7 random scribbles or shapes. Over the course of a week, complete each drawing.
  • Illustrate your to-do list for the week
  • Draw every meal you eat for a week
  • Pick a subject and illustrate it a different way for 7 days.
  • Document your week as it progresses as a comic strip.

Drawing Ideas: Build a Daily Habit

It takes 28 days to make or break a habit. Join the thousands of creators that have been inspired by the free daily ideas in our 28 to Make series:

Drawing Exercises

  • Blind contour drawing: Without looking at your paper, draw any object, such as your own hand, in one continuous line without lifting your hand from the page. Grab a partner and do simultaneous blind contour portraits of each other.
  • Subtractive drawing: Try this one with charcoal. Using it horizontally, shade your paper an even value of grey. Now “draw” with your eraser – erase the highlights of your subject.
  • Left & right: Draw something with your dominant hand, then your non-dominant hand .
  • Everything else: Draw the negative space around an object.
  • Topsy turvy: Draw a portrait from an upside down photo.
  • Scenes from memory: Sketch 3 scenes from your day from memory. Play with perspective and try this daily.
  • Copy the masters: Draw a painting by your favorite painter. Or go to a museum and draw works you enjoy.
  • 360 degrees: Choose an object and draw its outline. Turn the object slightly and draw the outline again. Repeat.
  • Minimalist: Draw something with the fewest lines possible.
  • Get the gist: A great way to approach drawing the human body, gesture drawing captures the basic form of your subject in a loose manner that often expresses emotion. Try limiting your time to gesture drawings of 10-30 seconds.
  • Different techniques: Try shading different ways : hatching, cross hatching, stippling, and more.
  • Light it up: Play with lighting. Draw outside at different types of the day and inside using multiple or single light sources from different angles.

Drawing Tips

Consider the following tips to help improve your drawing skills:

  • Try different media Pencil drawings are just the tip of the iceberg. Try charcoal, pastels, pens, markers, crayons, and conte crayons. Experiment and mix media to discover what produces your best drawings.
  • Draw daily and at the right time Don’t just wait until Inktober to get on the grind. Find the time of day in which you have the most creative energy and don’t waver from it. After the first week it will settle in as routine.
  • Commit to a drawing series online Tumblr and Instagram among other platforms offer daily drawing challenges (think Inktober, but yearlong). Joining one of these and posting your drawings will increase your accountability and motivation. Not only will set themes give you direction and just the right amount of constraints to work within, you’ll also be joining a creative community that shares feedback.

Feeling Blocked?

Happens to us all. It’s part of the messy middle of any challenging project.

  • James Victore advises that you “ Feck Perfuction “, but if you’re at all like us, you might also need some of Gary John Bishop’s advice on how to “ Unfu*k Yourself “.
  • Creatives are hard on themselves. Mel Robbins can help you break the habit of self-doubt and build real confidence.
  • And most of all, listen to Ze Frank: your pencils are sharp enough . Just get started!

How Can You Learn and Improve Your Drawing Skills?

Check out the following resources for more drawing ideas:

Drawing Classes & Tutorials : 

CreativeLive has so many drawing and illustration classes, it can be hard to pick just one or two, so you might want to get a subscription and watch them all! Also check out: 

  • How to Make Money Drawing For Fun
  • Drawing for Graphic Design: 6 Exercises to Sharpen Your Skills ,
  • Drawing the Everyday Every Day
  • Drawing Basics

Additional Resources: 

  • Drawing Ideas E-book By Mark Baskinger and William Bardel, Watson-Guptill Publications. Buy here. 
  • Drawing: A Complete Guide (Paperback – Illustrated) by Giovanni Civardi. Buy on Amazon.  
  • The Master Guide to Drawing Anime by Chris Hart . Buy on Amazon.  
  • 365 Days of Drawing by Lorna Scobie, Chronicle Books. Buy Here. 

CreativeLive has thousands of free high quality lessons, and also streams classes for free 24/7. Subscribe for access to the full CreativeLive library on your own schedule, and learn a variety of different drawing and illustration techniques to express your creativity! Learn more:

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