Why Do Artists Keep Sketchbooks?

Why Do Artists Keep Sketchbooks

It’s common for artists who work with many different types of mediums to work with sketchbooks. In fact, many even have more than one.

If you’ve ever wondered, why do artists keep sketchbooks, it’s a relatively difficult question to answer as every artist is different.

Some people may keep one as a personal memento whereas others might keep one to use as a professional portfolio. If you’re trying to figure out why you should invest and keep a sketchbook, we will give you some of the common reasons below.

Reasons to Keep a Sketchbook

Private Expression

The number one reason as to why artists keep sketchbooks is because it gives them a safe and comfortable place to express themselves. In today’s day and age, everything is on social media and relatively nothing is sacred, which is why owning a sketchbook gives you a private venue for letting out all of your emotions and creativity.

The best part is that you don’t have to share it with anyone, so if you’re struggling with a strong bout of emotions or if you have a concept that you’re not ready to show your friends and family, the perfect place for it is in your sketchbook.

Private Expression-Reasons to Keep a Sketchbook

Improving Skills

Another way to answer why do artists keep sketchbooks is to think about how their skills evolve over time. Unless they were particularly lucky and born with the gift of creating amazing pieces of art, the vast majority of artists need to refine their skills over the years.

Instead of spending an exorbitant amount of money on large canvases and paints, you can focus on improving your drawing, painting, and sketching skills in your sketchbook at any time you desire.

Much like anything else in the world, the more practice you’re able to have, the better you’ll get.

Dealing with Immediate Inspiration

There are thousands of things in our world that inspire us every day, and as an artist or a creative minded person, you’re going to want to take advantage of inspiration as often as possible since it could help you create your next phenomenal piece.

From writers to charcoal drawers, a sketchbook gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the moment and express your creativity immediately.

For example, imagine you’re on a walk through the park, and you find a bunch of wildflowers that really pique your interest. Instead of trying to keep a mental memory of what the flowers looked like so that you can sketch them when you get back home, all you need to do is pull out your sketchbook and draw them right then and there.

Creating a Book of Inspiration

There are times when certain pieces of your work are going to inspire you to create more pieces, whether they are similar or not. In fact, this is how plenty of artists start to create series of paintings and sketches as each drawing inspires the next.

As you begin to fill your sketchbook with plenty of things, whether it’s photos of family members, your own personal artwork, or things that you’ve collected on your travels, you’ll have an inspiring book to look back on.

Not only can a sketchbook help you come up with more ideas for future art projects, but it can also be a phenomenal reminder of who you are as a creative soul. If you’re having a down day or if you’re dealing with something tumultuous, all you have to do is turn to your sketchbook to help you feel lighter and more alive.

Making Thoughts Real

If you took the time to think about all of the fictional characters and scenery you’ve imagined over your lifetime, you’d be amazed at all of the phenomenal things you could have put into your sketchbook. As another way to answer, why do artists keep sketchbooks, it’s simply because they want to get everything that is in their head out on paper, similar to how writers travel with a journal or a laptop at all times.

As someone who is skilled in their craft, it would be a shame to not take advantage of transforming your creative ideas into something on a physical piece of paper. This is not only beneficial for you to realize your true potential, but it’s also a great way to show others all of the creative images your brain conjures up throughout the day.

Professional Purposes

It’s also incredibly common for artists to rely on their sketchbooks for professional purposes; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they use their first or second books, but more so the ones that they create later on in their career. If you’re looking to have your artwork displayed in a public area or if you’re applying for a specialty school, you’re going to need to get your hands on a portfolio.

A sketchbook is a raw and unique source of all of your projects and being able to show them to your employer or a potential art school counsel is a great way to share not only what you’re technically capable of achieving, but also the creative things that run through your mind.

Testing New Mediums

It’s never too late to try using different mediums for your artwork and if you’ve been thinking about transitioning from pastels to charcoal or from art pens to pencils, using your sketchbook is a great idea. You won’t have to invest money in new materials and you’ll be able to purchase a ton of different mediums to work with.


Of course, there are more than seven reasons as to why artists might rely on sketchbooks as some may use them to reflect, visualize new ideas, or to inspire confidence when they feel like theirs is lacking. However, if you’re thinking of reasons as to why you should have your own sketchbook, it’s important to think about its importance to you.

It doesn’t matter if you never end up showing your sketches to anyone, or if you save it for your future children to appreciate, it can always be beneficial to keep a history of your artwork.

About the Author

Rob Miller is an amateur sketch artist, a freelance writer and a keen foodie. When not sketching and writing - he loves to read and explore the nature, especially the beach near his home.

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