My 2023 Sketching Goals

December 30, 2022 | 11 Comments

I’ve been having a lot of fun going through all my 2022 sketchbooks (see my last article for a photo of the pile). Looking at every image and reading all my notes is a good way to get a clear picture of how well I accomplished my 2022 goals and to decide on what I want to work on next year.

So how did I go in this year?

My 3 overall sketching goals for 2022 were:

  • telling better stories of my day
  • sketching on location as much as possible
  • finding new ways of sketching the same objects and scenes.

And to achieve those goals I wanted to build these habits:

  1. Sketching in the morning when I go out for my takeaway coffee
  2. Keeping my sketchbook open on my desk during the day
  3. Working out some options for a short nightly sketching session
  4. Do a quick sketch whenever I go out for an appointment or a social gathering… even if it’s just a simple continuous line drawing.
  5. Slow down and get into a good position so that my handwriting is always as neat as I can make it.


  • While I can always improve on the story-telling aspect of my work (both images and words), I’m happy with the progress I made in 2022. I’m pleased with how much more descriptive my notes are than what I used to write a few years ago. The more trivial the detail the more interesting it is to re-read!
  • I’ve been more conscious of slowing down when I write but I can still improve on this (Note: I set myself a high standard for my handwriting!)
  • My morning routine has become second nature to me and I generally keep my sketchbook open on my desk during the day. But I still struggle to have the energy to sketch at night so I often find myself finishing sketchbook pages in the morning of the next day.
  • I’ve definitely sketched on location a lot this year and tried to sketch most of the time when I go out.
  • It’s interesting that in January last year I didn’t mention my desire to go out on more regular dedicated sketching outings. I did make a more concerted effort to do that in 2022 and was more successful than I’ve ever been – but it’s still an area that I want to work on.
  • And finally, I well and truly found new ways of sketching the same objects and scenes this year! 🙂 2022 was definitely the year of unexpected explorations of new materials.

  If you want to read more about my 2022 goals please check out this article.

My 2023 Sketching Goals

Without any further ado… they are:

  • Continue experimenting
  • Make time for more dedicated sketching sessions at home and on outings
  • Continue to focus on telling better stories – of my day and the places I visit

And a few additional comments on each:


  • At heart, I’m a watercolour artist but I want to find ways to do work with lots of interesting textures. So this year I’ve gone on a huge tangent adding pencils and markers into the mix. I’m not sure how permanent these additional media will become but right now it feels SOOOO good to be playing and taking risks.
  • I aim to keep experimenting not just with mixing different media, but also with different mark-making tools
  • And I plan to continue to develop the design of my sketchbook pages (hmm, it would be nice to include more collage). So of course hosting a Live Version of Sketchbook Design will be a perfect way to start the year strong in this regard!

Dedicated sketching sessions

  • My initial goal is for two nightly sketching sessions each week. I intend to write a list of prompts or projects to work on so that these actually happen!
  • This year I started doing Friday outings but I often feel as if I can’t go out because I have too much work to go out. Therefore recently I experimented with Monday or Tuesday outings. I want to continue scheduling a weekly sketching outing to some part of Sydney outside my local area (and remind myself that it only needs to be a few hours  – not a whole day!)

Telling Stories

  • I plan to draw more everyday objects as it would be fun to have a more visual record of my day-to-day life (rather than just notes). I love combining object sketches with urban scenes on a page and some still-life projects might be a good option for my nightly session.
  • Focusing on different options the written component of my sketchbook pages would be fun. I want to continue to add more detailed notes of the trivia moments from my day and/or explore more experimental approaches to writing.
  • Watercolour On Location was a great prompt this year to sketch more complex urban scenes and tell better stories of place. I plan to do more of that!
  • Part of the success during my recent Port Macquarie trip was getting out my sketchbook every time I sat down. So reviving this old habit of mine will be a good way to remind myself that it only takes a few seconds to record a simple story of the place/event.

You might be thinking that none of these items relate to specific subject matter or concepts to develop in my art. I do intend to write a personal list of these and use it as a prompt during the year. But at this point, I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to work on certain aspects of my work.

The most important thing is to have a good sketching practice and simply do the work. I think that a lot of my experimentation this year has been the result of my morning sketching session and as I mentioned in Wednesday’s article the repetitiveness leads to exploration and my creative juices start flowing!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed hearing about my goals for next year. Are you setting yourself any?

My hope is that by sharing my own assessments it will help you to look at your own work and celebrate your achievements in 2022 – whatever they were!

As this is the last article for 2022 I just want to say thank you for being a part of my journey this year. Your views and continued support mean so much to me! I continue to blog so much as I believe it’s super important to document my work – not only simply to post images but to write my thoughts as it helps in my own development as an artist

And finally, special thanks to you if you have left comment/s – I appreciate every single one and you truly encourage and inspire me to keep creating!

See you in 2023!



  • Tina Koyama says:

    Your annual goals and your entire well-documented creative process is always very inspiring to me, Liz! Have a wonderful 2023!

  • Pete Payne says:

    I started 5 different sketchbooks the beginning of 2022 with the intention of doing different things in each….nearly 12 months later each one has about 4 completed pages…I regret not following through with my goals. It seems such a waste. Procrastination is my nemesis ??

  • Jani H says:

    Thanks, Liz, for your inspiration and ideas. I am new to art and had never thought about setting goals. What a wonderful way to begin 2023. Happy New Year.

  • Sydney Brown says:

    Your pages are just gorgeous, Liz! You are such an inspiration, both your skills and your stamina!

  • Kathryn McGuinness says:

    Thanks Liz, I really enjoy your beautiful work and your ability to articulate your thoughts and process. I loved your thorough review of 2022 and goals for 2023. They are so well thought out, detailed, and an inspiration to me. I was able to partially meet my 2022 goal of sketching daily by taking part in your live versions of Foundations, Watercolor and Watercolor on Location. They were so great and I learned so much. Your classes provided me structure that I really need. My 2023 goals are to just start a sketch and go for it on location. I would like to reduce my anxiety around making bad art on location. My second goal is simply to do a sketch daily. In 2023 I look forward to seeing you and taking part in Sketchbook Design. Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year.

  • Patricia Robinson says:

    Dear Liz,

    Last year I received WoL for Christmas; I did more than half before fading, but then a Great Revival with the live version. Thank you for sharing, teaching, laughing and loving us all on the course!

    Miles of possibilities ahead, I think. Your goals are a nudge to write some of these down – and review this time next year. Carefully thought through, yours are an inspiration – and goals should be achievable, at ones own level. The WoL course has been so good! My wishy-washy pictures have tones! I still draw and paint standing up in ten minutes while husband visiting the loo, but the forum’s comments, and yours, have been in hugely helpful about sketching with family.

    And yesterday I looked at the sketching course free lessons; I need to get my head round WoL first (3rd time…) before embarking on another course. But I wove through your comments and blogs and found a place where you talk about A5 sketchbooks. I’ve just been away for a few days to Dorset, pre-Christmas birthday, and I took an A5. Lighthouse moment! It went in my handbag, with paint, brushes, pen. So no tottering under the weight of a separate art bag on the shoulder. No stiff arm holding an A4 book. It was so much easier! I’ve always assumed you sketched larger; yes, I know you always describe your books, and tell us the size, so it’s my eyes deceiving me watching the videos. There’s no hope really is there?! So one of my goals is to use the A5 size, and to do more in it, instead of just on dedicated art outings, when an A4 size and a chair would be more appropriate.

    Thank you so much for your blogs, which I treasure, and look forward to the ping on my phone! Thank you for being so lovely!

    Every good wish for 2023. God bless you!


  • Suzanne Violet says:

    Thank you for keeping us entertained, encouraged, wanting to draw more often and learning to remember to record our lives in pictures and words no matter how imperfect they may seem.

    All the best of good health, good friends, good drawing in 2023. I’ll look forward to your blog and emails.

    My goal is to finally complete your watercolour course I bought ‘a few years ago’!!

  • Susan Chan says:

    I completed 4 sketchbooks this year and it is heartening to see my progress since I took your first ever Sketchbook Design course a few years ago.
    My parents died in 2021 and in June this year my brother and I held a commemoration of life for them. I used a sketchbook to document our family stories, while using the illustrations to record my travels through Ontario and Quebec over the four weeks leading up to the commemoration of life lunch in Toronto. The parallel storylines worked well.
    Drawing helped me grieve and the skills I’ve acquired through your courses have made me proud of my output.

  • Lea Barlowe says:

    Dear Liz,

    I have a simple comment. Seeing these shots of your sketchbooks makes one realize just how lively and vibrant your colors are! Whenever there are what I assume to be scanned images of individual pages or sketches in your emails, the colors are washed out and lack contrast. I wonder, is that done on purpose? So seeing these shots is a true gift! Thank you.


  • Janice Troyer says:

    Your posting of looking back and forward at your sketching goals has inspired me to think about my goals this coming year. I was so busy taking classes this past year between your courses and Jane’s plus traveling overseas, I didn’t have a lot of time to document my life and be more spontaneous with my sketching. I’m looking forward to doing that this coming year and have written down a few goals for myself to be sure I keep my sketching practice going without taking a full load of classes. In brief my 4 goals are 1) to put pen to paper everyday-including starting a morning quick sketch practice 2) working up to 1 sketch outing per week (a little harder for me during the winter months to do every week) 3) working in my “theme” book-including going back to the Elements section of the WOL course and 4) playing with the inks in my fountain pens so I’m more satisfied in using them.

    So thank you for the inspiration and Happy New Year! See you in Sketchbook Design.

  • Liz Steel says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments – I can’t believe I missed replying at the time!

    (I’m checking my 2023 goals and thinking abut next year!)

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