Everyday Sketching, Learn to Sketch, Sketching

How to Turn Everyday Scenes Into Exciting Sketch Ideas

You said you’d like to sketch more but you are not sure what to draw, so you’re waiting for a special trip that will give you lots of sketch ideas. I agree that travelling is an ideal opportunity to open your sketch book. But please don’t wait to see a famous landmark to draw – draw what’s around you NOW too!

Hotel room sketch by Sophie Peanut
Sat on the bed drawing our hotel room – I experimented with different coloured line

Sketch ideas are everywhere

You see, holidays are few and far between and to draw from life you need plenty of practice. If you just draw when you are on holiday, you won’t get enough practice to really improve your skills.

I get most of my sketch ideas from my everyday life. My neighbourhood, my house, my family, the view out of my window, what I can see from my parked car. That way I can sketch most days. Most of the time it is not about inspiration. I just draw whatever is in front of me and let my pen take me wherever it wants, listening to ideas and inspiration as I sketch.

It means I can sharpen my drawing and painting skills and experiment with new techniques and materials all the time -so when I go on a special trip, I am ready for all the landmarks. But there’s more to it. It also gives me ‘Spiritual’ benefits.

But there’s more to it. It also gives me ‘Spiritual’ benefits.

'The Lodge' Savile Park Moor Halifax drawing by Sophie Baxter
‘The Lodge’ Savile Park Moor Halifax – This is a local landmark. I just pulled up outside and sketched it from the car.
A cafe sketch in mixed media by Sophie Peanut
A cafe sketch in mixed media – trying out pastel sticks.
Everyday sketch ideas - Mixed media sketch by Sophie Baxter
Here I experimented with various materials: watercolours, pastels, pen – look how much fun I had with the background!!

A connected life through drawing

Drawing my world seems to give me a deeper connection with my environment.

When you sketch, you need to really look at and study your subject and you’ll notice details you’ve never seen before. You’ll soon find beauty in the most ordinary and familiar settings and develop a sense of mindfulness and wonder. All this on your own door step. Try it and tell me what you think.

View from the Ski slope - Halifax UK ink sketch by Sophie Peanut
Quick value study from the ski slope (made of artificial brushes), made while waiting for my daughter (again!).
Parked cars - ink sketch by Sophie Peanut
A string of parked cars drawn in pen while waiting for my daughter to come out of school. I played with line, values and composition.
Crazy colours experiment - Sketch idea by Sophie Baxter
A crazy colour experiment, just drawing the view from my parked car.

How to make a mundane sketch more exciting

Here are a few ideas that I use to make mundane sketches more exciting – they might work for you too.

  • Focus on composition. Draw a few thumbnails and try to find an original composition for your subject.
  • Focus on value. Create a monochrome sketch using dark, light and mid tones.
  • Go wild. Take a step away from reality and use bold colours. The colours don’t need to be realistic but make sure you make use dark and light correctly for your sketch to work
  • Use line only
  • Use paint only
  • Paint quick blots of colour and sketch in pen on top
  • Speed sketch – create small 1 to 5 minutes sketches

You might want to read my post on 5 minutes sketches too – it explains how to make the best out of every sketching opportunity. Let me know how you get on.

My sketchbook is calling, so I am off for now.

How to turn everyday scenes into exciting sketch ideas by Sophie Peanut

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