Recent Sketches: Changing where I place my text blocks

April 12, 2021 | 4 Comments

Those of you who have done my Sketchbook Design course will know all about text blocks and how important they are for the success of a sketchbook page layout.

As I’m trying to create a record of my life, the writing on my pages is just  as important as the sketches. If I add a paragraph worth of text I nearly always contain it within a block, and this block is an important design element.

Most of you are aware that I start my day recording some verses from the Bible which I have read first thing in the morning and for many years I’ve had the default position of a vertical column hard up against the left edge of a double page spread. This changes a little depending on the size and format of the book and I do mix it up sometimes within the one sketchbook.

But for the last week or so I’ve moved my text blocks away from the edges. This is very intentional as I’m exploring options for a new project coming up soon. (More about that tomorrow!)

This subtle change has made my pages feel very different (for me anyway) as the text seems to take up more space. I’ve also not had as much time to sketch lately so some of my pages are mostly text.

So here are my recent pages…

Re-sharing this page as it was the first time I moved my text block inboard

Experimenting with the dispersiveness of Aquarius paint and letting it explode on the page! A rough map of a family picnic

View of Rhodes from our picnic spot (done from a photo once I was home) and a quick hot cross bun sketch.

A very ‘text’ page… plus working out what skirt pattern to sew. I found out that the fabric stores have not received new stock of denim since March last year. Happy to have found one roll!

Another mostly text page (Monday was a sketch-free day!) – a new ‘tree’ (pot plant) in my local cafe and a carpark sketch from a gym visit.

Messy experimental sketch of a boring building from my car and map of my afternoon adventures (as seen here)

My usual afternoon latte, a colour swatch to explain watercolour magic to a new friend and a few swatches using a waterbrush.

Re-sharing the Cooma Courthouse spread so you can see it in context.

Another afternoon working at Goodfields

And finally a few rough sketches late at night after a big day of sewing and other chores. Recoding the threading issues with my overlocker (serger), a phone holder for my car and an eye massager.

As always… it’s good to put all my recent pages together like this and be up to date here on the blog.

How was your sketching last week? Did you manage to sketch a lot? Did you sketch anything exciting?



  • Maggie says:

    Hi Liz, I wonder why the pictures in your blog posts are no longer showing up in my email. I’m using Gmail with Chrome on my laptop. AhHA, it’s the adblocker. When I “allow ads”, I can see the pictures. Solved, but I’ll leave the comment in case anyone else has the problem.

  • Jamie C says:

    Not much sketching for me this past week! I miss it!

    Your moved text blocks do change the feel and flow of your pages quite a bit! I notice you have more white space in the center margins in a lot of these spreads, too, giving them a dual page look, over the one flowing spread look. It’s so nice having so many design options which really can help add to the mood and feel and flow. It communicates so much!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jamie – yes the white space is so important for the feel of the pages. I’m enjoying the change and it works well for days when I’m not sketching a lot.

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