I'm starting to work on a new SketchingNow Course

September 2, 2020 | 9 Comments

Big news! I’m gearing up for my next online course…

SketchingNow Sketchbook Design

create a unique visual narrative of your life

Over the years I have gotten lots of requests for a course about how I design my sketchbook pages and so I’m super excited to be finally getting a chance to work on it.

It will take me a number of months to put together but I wanted to let you know early so that I can get your feedback and create the course you want! My plan is to start Sketchbook Design in January next year as a great way to kick off our sketchbook practice for 2021.

I sketch primarily to capture the moments in my life. I don’t care so much about creating masterpieces (although I’m always working hard to improve my skills) but my big goal is to create beautiful pages in my sketching.

I’ve always been interested in designing the layout of my pages due to my architectural training and personal interest in graphic design. A lot of people think that my pages just magically turn out as they do, but there is a separate design process that I go through (normally at the end of the day) to finish off my pages. I love this aspect of keeping a sketchbook!

There is no doubt that an interesting layout can compensate for an individual sketch that wasn’t particularly successful, and I see this happen in my own sketchbook on a regular basis. 

I have lots of concepts and techniques to share, some of which I taught last year during my workshop at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam. So I’m really excited to be able to go into more detail inside an online course. I strongly believe that anyone can create beautiful pages even if they are beginner sketchers.

As part of my early planning, I’ve created a huge image bank of my own sketchbook pages which have interesting layouts (it contains nearly 1000 images!) You will only see a fraction of these in the course, but it’s been really interesting for me to go back and look at how my pages have developed over the years. But even more exciting than looking through my own work, is the thought of the incredibly inspirational library which will be created inside the Sketchbook Design classroom by people from around the world. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself!  🙂

So I would love to hear from you…

  • What would you like to learn about keeping a sketchbook and designing its pages?
  • What aspects of your own sketchbook practice would you like to improve?
  • What are your sketchbook struggles?

You can add your thoughts in the comment section below – or even better – signup for updates using the link below and send me your ideas (and some sample pages from your sketchbook)  via email.




  • Ceri Donovan says:

    My main sketchbook struggle is that I always want a new sketchbook! I would love some pointers on how to make interesting looking pages, I don’t tend to add much writing, but it would be nice to do more than just plonk a drawing on a page, with date and location. I also have the tendency to get the size wrong and end up squashing things onto the page!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Ceri – ah! that’s a fun problem to have… always wanting a new one 🙂 And yes, I will be talking about all of those topics inside the course.

  • Jaye McKenna says:

    So pleased to see you’re planning this! I’m doing Foundations right now, and planning to take Watercolor when I’ve finished that. Looks like Sketchbook Design will be next!

  • Roger says:

    As an architect, I know how important text, handwriting and annotation can be – adding plans and sections / location plans / notes etc to drawings… I’m sure it’s on your list, but lettering’s a big one…
    Happy planning!

  • Nicki Haldane says:

    Can’t wait! 🙂 🙂

  • Nicki Haldane says:

    Thank you so much for planning the Sketchbooks course Liz.
    I have been keeping both a covid sketchbook (although i’ve run out of puff a bit lately) and written journal since iso started. I also love to keep a travel journal when i’m away. I guess i’m after some fresh ideas, especially page layout and lettering.

  • Jay Johnston says:

    Hi LIz,
    This sounds exciting!! Not something I even think about, to be honest. Have you seen the newish Travel Journal by Strathmore?. Has 100% cotton paper but small number of pages (10 or 20 depending on how you look at it). Teoh Li Chin did a nice review of it. Seemed to like it.

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