sketchbook page

Circling around my sketchbook

Workshop, courses?

If there is something new to learn in the creative process, I am in.

And so I did an online workshop on developing sketchbooks. And this workshop definitely changed my mind on this subject.


Six inch square

First surprise was the size of the recommended sketchbook. 15 cm or 6 inch square!

For some reason I have a weakness for squares, so the square sized paper had my heart already. No questions for me at this point.

But working on a small size of paper surprised me with wonder. The given explanation for this was simple. Working on ideas on a large size of paper is a time consuming action. For as the opposite is true. The smaller pieces saves you time and withhold you from repeating yourself too long, if this isn't necessary. Simple isn't it?

Another eye-opener.

During the course we created a theme based sketch-book. One of the challenges of the Sketchbook workshop was to keep make the circle the red thread through your pages.

Every instruction we received was based on creating circles. Drawing, painting, sketching, pealing, searching, writing. The main theme was: circles.


Personal library

Creating one book circling around one theme, creates documents, you can rely on for future use. If there are more ideas than pages of your sketchbook, create another one.

With time, you build up a nice personal library full of original ideas.


Letting go!

The last thing I like to share with you is this. One of the goals was, to let things go. For me that mended, don't think on your design work, just doing. Let the ideas flow out of your brush, pen, fingers and so on. Just let go!


This was such a freeing quality to my sketchbook work, I can be totally addicted to this way of working through the creative process. And next to that, the original ideas as outcome as natural follow up.

Being original

If you really let you self go, you come up with other things as you usually do. And that makes quite a difference, don't you think?


Let me ask you something

Of course practicing is the key to success. Now I have a document on circles, I am planning to start sketchbooks on other themes as well.

  • If you could choose a theme for a sketchbook, what would you choose?
    A shape or a motif, a color or a technic, a season or a trend?
  • What is fascinating you?

Our industry is all about creativity. So maybe you wouldn't create a sketchbook yourself, but would like to flip through the pages of a theme-based book of ideas.

  • What would be your choice?

If you like to share your thoughts on this with me, please feel free to write down some of your ideas, in the comments below.

I begin with an idea and than it becomes something else.

Pablo Picasso quote

Sharing ideas, creates new ideas and keeps flowing the process.


sketchbook |ˈske ch ˌboŏk|

noun | a pad or book of drawing paper for sketching on.

Dionne Swift logo

I did my sketchbook workshop organized and lectured by Dionne Swift. If you want to go more in-depth in upon your sketching process, I can sure recommend this online course to you, . You can find more information here.

Developing Sketchbooks Online by Dionne Swift
Developing Sketchbooks Online by Dionne Swift

As an inspiration board I created a pin-board on inspirational circles. In the 'pins in the picture' series, I highlighted this board here.

pins in the picture, circles

5 reacties

  1. […] If you are interested in where I am in this part of the creative post, I recommend reading my post, 'Circling around my sketchbook' on this subject. During this workshop, I created a sketchbook themed on circles. And so is the […]

  2. Heather8 juni 2015

    Thanks for these great tips!! I think my favorite idea was the sketchbook theme… Sometimes having more restrictions in your work can allow more creative ideas to surface. I love the Sketchbook Project for that reason… Check them out @

    1. Esther8 juni 2015

      I agree with you, Heather. I am a huge fan of having restrictions to push the creativity and come up with fresh ideas on the subject. Thanks for the link as well, I will check it out 🙂

  3. Katja Ollendorff8 juni 2015

    Esther this is great! I think I would have to choose anything other than florals for my sketchbook theme. I have a tendency to always go to florals, and I would love to push myself past what comes readily. I love how varied your examples are. Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing. —Katja

    1. Esther9 juni 2015

      Oh wow that is very nice to hear, Katja. I can sure recommend the workshop I did on developing Sketchbooks. It really helped me reflecting my own process and made it fresh again with lots of opportunities to work and creating new ideas. I could only share some of the interesting topics, but there are several more. For me it was a new and fresh look on sketching and gathering new ideas. Thanks.

      And is there another topic you like to work with, next to the florals? I am curious what you would choose in this. 🙂


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