12 day challenge: Filling a small sketchbook

May 7, 2018 | 6 Comments

I have a little over a week to go until I head overseas for a long trip so it is not the time to start something new. However last week I completed my current sketchbook and wasn’t sure what to do next.

I actually started using an A5 landscape Fabriano Watercolour Book (from LarryPost), however the paper was just not working for me – a little ‘too good’ for the amount of time I can put into sketching at the moment and a little too different from my normal sketchbook. On Friday I realised that I hadn’t sketched in this book at all during the week, so I decided to abandon it and start another one! This is not something I like doing, but the book was actually preventing me from sketching so it needed to go!

I looked through my empty sketchbook collection and came across a A6-size hardcover Alpha. ‘Ah ha! this looks good – my normal paper but a radically different format!’

I have tried having a smaller secondary sketchbook in my pocket in the past, but it never seemed to work for me. This time the small book is my only book!

So, my crazy goal is to see how much of this book I can fill in 1.5 weeks. Can I completely fill it? You can see from the photos below that I am spreading myself out and doing very quick loose sketches, but still it will require intention to do something on all 120 pages.

Sadly my imac died last week… but thankful that I didn’t lose data and have been able to hook up my laptop to my second monitor and get back to work. The microphone reminds me that I had two podcast interviews last week!

Eek! hard to scale down my sketches to fit the small page size!

In a small book, a little bit of text can feel up a full spread.

Ok, starting to scale my work.

It’s quite liberating to work in a small book – take risks, do a quick sketch and then turn the page.


And finally…

Last year I found that switching format helped me – more about that here.

And if you are wondering, I am still thinking about my Everyday Sketching Prompts – it’s just that I am not recording them at the moment!



  • Greetings, Liz.
    I “fell” across your site a couple of weeks ago. I’m delighted I did. I think you may be a part of reawakening my watercolour energies again. I haven’t painted for 4 months, going on 5, blaming a host of responsibilities for consuming my painting time. Whilst I do have LOTS to do, I have realised upon reading your comments, especially for this challenge you’ve currently offered, is that I’m making excuses for not using this God-given gift. A gift on the shelf neither feels good to the giver nor the recipient. It’s time to honour the Giver and get painting! Even if I just get some sketches done.
    I really like your writing style: there’s a refreshing energy and encouragement within.
    You’re not bad on the end of a brush either!!!!!!
    Bless you, Liz

  • Tina Koyama says:

    A change in book format to shake things loose — I like it! If anyone can fill it in a week, it’ll be you! 😉

  • Kiwi Benton says:

    Hey hi could you tell me the name of the small sketchbook you used. I would love to buy one

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