November 2020 sketching

November 30, 2020 | 14 Comments

This article was supposed to be a roundup of my posts this month, but it’s been extremely quiet here over the past few weeks. That’s because I’ve been almost completely focused on preparing and filming my next course – Sketchbook Design.

It has been taking up more time than I expected because:

  • It’s brand new material which I’ve never taught before and I keep discovering new concepts and strategies which I want to include in the course! 🙂
  • I’m spending a lot of time looking through my old sketchbooks to find the best examples to use. Flipping through almost all of my sketchbooks since 2007 has been a very special experience so I’m not rushing it.
  • I’m filming it all on my own this time. It’s a nice challenge making sure all four cameras (yes four!) are doing what they are supposed to do. As a result I’m spreading out the filming sessions and this is making the whole process more enjoyable.
  • I’ve been putting all the course material into a sketchbook – it’s a little meta to have a Sketchbook Design sketchbook! I’m really really happy with the result!

I’ve still been sketching even though I haven’t had much time (or focus) to dedicate to my sketches. But I’ve been experimenting with different layouts and enjoying using a smaller book. This time it is the Stillman and Birn Alpha Softcover 5.5″x8.5″ portrait book. I managed to find some time last week for scanning and so I’m including a few pages below.

As for articles here on the blog I have been focusing on sketchbook related themes:

Do you add writing to your sketchbook pages?

How is your sketchbook practice?

There is also a Scottish castle sketch done during a zoom call: SketchChat Session: Urquhart Castle

And that’s about it for November’s articles! Wow! it really has been a quiet month hasn’t it?

Finally, here are a few pages from my current sketchbook. As mentioned above I’ve been trying out a few different things in the layout on these pages.

Although different from normal these layouts are not new. Rather they are ideas which I’ve done a long time in the past. Going through my old sketchbooks has certainly generated new stuff for me which I’m looking at exploring further in the coming months – both in my own work and also inside the classroom.

These pages contain a fair few cafe sketches. I’m working at my local cafe a number of afternoons a week. Being around people when I have a really heavy work load is so special! With so many parts of the world back in lockdown, I certainly don’t take our current freedoms for granted – no new cases for a few weeks here in NSW.

Although I was super quiet online this month, I’m really happy with the amount of sketching I actually managed to do!

How was your sketching in November? I would love to hear from you.

If you are receiving this article via email please click here and scroll down to leave your comment. Thanks!


  • Carrie Lensink says:

    I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my sketchbook layouts but am just starting a dedicated advent journal focusing on the theme of trees and would really like it feel more special, so it’s really helpful to see some of your interesting and lively compositions! Can’t wait for the class!!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Carrie – I can’t wait either! I’m sure that we are all going to be super inspired by each other during the first run of Sketchbook Design.

  • Susanna B says:

    Wonderful spreads. 23 Nov is particularly striking with its unusual round layout and turquoise writing adding round internal frames! I’m very much looking forward to the new course. 🙂

  • Anneli Timmerbacka says:

    Two theme in my new square Travelogue sjetchbook (first time) :
    -finding interesting late autumn things and views in cloudy, ‘limited color’ Finnish nature. That’s a challenge. Mostly from my own daily photos.
    -Wednesday Zoom sketching with friends I met in Amsterdam Symbosium
    I try to use different layouts

    In my small Stillman and Birn Landskape Alpha:
    -sketches in Café

  • Sondra Blake says:

    I just finished your Foundations course and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so comprehensive and packed with good info, demos and dialogue. You are an amazing teacher. Sondra Blake

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Sondra – thank you SO much. It makes me so happy that you enjoyed it! I hope you have seen real change in your work.

  • Zora Poznic Polh says:

    Can’t wait for the intro video for your new course.

  • Suzanne Spaid says:

    I started a journal for Bible verses that I have found particularly helpful, instructive or touching. I love how you include verses in your journal. I think I will add verses into my sketchbook as well as the journal.

  • Sean Didier says:

    So very excited for your new class on Sketchbook Journaling! I’m taking Foundations now and just love it! I have learned so much! Looking forward to signing up! Sean Didier

  • Ben says:

    Liz – your sketchbooks are beautiful. You can tell you’re an artist just by the handwriting – art in and of itself!

Leave a Reply