Sketching People: Using a small book

February 16, 2017 | 9 Comments

Despite the busyness of the last few weeks for me, I’m happy to report that I am sticking to my resolution of sketching people almost daily. Yay!

Not only that, but I am enjoying it immensely and have lots of ideas to share. However, as I’m not back into my usual routine yet (after moving into a new apartment this week), I am keeping it short and sweet today… tiny in fact!

I have been using this small book for all my people sketching. It has been great as it has taken the pressure off in three ways:

  1. It is a working book just for me and separate from my normal sketchbook (which a lot of people flick through), so it can be messy. Sometimes the learning process results in sketches that are not very pretty.
  2. If I do a sketch that I am not happy with I can simply turn the page and do another one – moving forwards at all times.
  3. It is so small that I can whip it out and use it at any time.

I am often in two minds about having a separate book for projects, but in this case it is working well. Have you tried sketching in smaller books? Do you find it liberating?

I’ll write a full update next week, sharing my process and what I have learnt so far.



  • Bridget G says:

    I love small books just for the portability. The drawing class I’m taking right now is requires larger scale drawings, and it just doesn’t work for me 🙁

  • Cori L. says:

    I love my smaller journals! I am able to keep one tucked in my purse at all times.
    I do use keep individual books at the moment….I too am learning to draw people and faces so I keep one for that, and I also am enjoying using a water soluble pen and water brush in another. It’s fun just to play with the materials and see what happens.

    Hope you are settling into your new apartment!

  • Sandra Deutsch says:

    What a sweet looking journal! Although it looks as though the pages are the same size there appear to be fewer of them…hence less weight and more portability. Please, what is it?

  • Carol Riddick says:

    You so inspire me! Now you are giving me permission for what I have been doing for awhile now keeping several books going for different learning situations. I know “sketchbook skool” prefers you use a diary or thematic journal. I do that and they are for public perusal, but I wouldn’t dream of letting folks see how I get to the

  • Julie-Anne Rogers says:

    I always have a small, pocket size sketch book in my handbag. That way I can sketch on the train, waiting in an office, etc. I love it.

  • Joanne Kalvaitis says:

    Thanks Liz,

    I’ve just got back to sketching and decided to do more practice on “people sketching.” The separate sketchbook idea is perfect.

  • Shiho Nakaza says:

    Thank you for the idea about carrying a separate sketchbook for a specific project! You are inspiring me to crack open a new sketchbook for One week/100 people sketches project.

  • Mary jo Ernst says:

    I have a small Epsilon Stillman and Birn book. I store it in my car along with a sketch and wash pencil and waterbrush. It is for impropmtu sketching . And just for me. I find i am more spontaneous with it and tend to not worry about the final result

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