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I never really understood the importance of sketchbooks until I enrolled in the Make It In Design course. A sketchbook is your history as an artist. Your inspiration and ideas all go into it and then they become art.

“Never throw away anything that you draw because you may find that later you can use it.”

This was an opening idea. Never throw anything away. A doodle, a mark, a misshaped bird, save it all. That doodle or that mark could become texture on a pattern with a funny shaped bird. You never know!

I have so many sketches that pile up on my desk that I never do anything with. Sometimes, I think, “Oh, that was an idea, but now I’m over it.” And into the bin it goes. But now I have something to do with all of those misplaced ideas. They all go into my sketchbook and wait for inspiration to strike.

Now I have two sketchbooks. One is a large book where I keep all of my sketches and the other is a pattern inspiration book.

This is my main sketchbook. I don’t always draw directly on it; thus, I use a lot of tape. Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy cute washi tape patterns.

This is a pattern that I drew, cut out and then taped onto a page to figure out if the pattern would work or not. It did!

sketchbook 1

My final pattern.


This is another page where I experimented with painting clouds and drawing stars.


This resulted in a wrapping paper idea.

wrapping paper and gift

My second sketchbook is more of an inspiration book. This is where I keep everything that inspires me. It is great fun now when I receive catalogs and magazines to flip through the pages with a pair of scissors on hand in search for inspiration.

These pictures came out of a recent Anthropologie catalog and possibly a Pottery Barn catalog (Is it bad that I don’t remember? It had to be one of those two. I’ll do a better job of marking my sources in the future). I love the lines on all of these cutouts. The lace on the woman’s back and the light shades all make for interesting shapes that I could possible use in a design one day.

patternbook 1

This page one of my holiday inspired pages. I have a lot of these! I’m working on an exercise where I need to create my own check pattern. I love the color combination and how the checks are used. I still haven’t sketched anything out yet for this exercise, but I am getting a few ideas.


Keeping a sketchbook and a pattern book are excellent ways to maintain organization. Let’s face it. We artists aren’t the most organized people when it comes to our work, so every little bit helps!