What are some good creative sketchbook tasks for graphic designers?

Hi all.

I just got myself a new sketchbook and want to fill it, but am feeling stuck on ideas today. I want it to be useful for graphic design - sort of like some things to build up a ‘cookbook’ of graphic design ideas and potential inspiration. Does anyone know of some creative ‘tasks’ to fill a sketchbook with? Other than markmaking and typography. Basically any good and useful sketchbook tasks.

I would love some prompts to fill the pages.

Thank you to anyone who stopped by to read this :slight_smile:

Look around you. See what’s there. Record it. Have a thought about it. Say something. Interpret. Job done.

You can’t / shouldn’t contrive creativity in order to fill a book. Creativity is your unique response to the world around you. A sketch book is a [private] reference to this. What you then choose to do with that creative process is up to you. A sketch book is a tool to help you nurture and refine this skill. Not something to just be filled up for it’s own sake.

Get out there and really look at the world around you.

A sketchbook is part of “learning to see.” As Sprout said, draw what you see around you, but also, really look at how things interrelate to each other. One winter day I was on the second floor of a library, looking out the window at some trees. On sketching them I realized I couldn’t “see” the foreshortening of the straight-on view of the branches in my sketches so filled 3 pages until I got it right. Little things like learning perspective, focus and object relations in drawing will make you a better graphic designer in the long run.

Or, sketch some designs you see out there in real life, and maybe do some sketch-arounds to see what happens if you change element placement. Why did the particular designer make the decisions they made?

A sketchbook is a good place to be wildly creative and unrestrained. How about a series of brainstorms of concepts or words that are then refined slightly to just before computer stage?

You could pick some random words to depict.

Don’t use a sketchbook for designing. Use a sketchbook for sketching. Go outside and draw a tree. The next day, draw that same tree from a different angle. Only spend 10-15 minutes on each.

  1. You will be happier in the future looking back on your sketchbook as a development of your own abilities.
  2. You should never present designs in a sketchbook. They should be presented almost in a dry schematic professional way.

Use sharp X-Acto knife, keep your pencils sharp, use your eraser sparingly, work light to dark, get any mats cut professionally…

Pretend your portfolio is a car you are detailing. Get it all because you will be judged by your neatness more than you’d believe.

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