Simple Sketchbook Prompt to Kick off the Day

Circles and Watercolor Paint | A Simple Sketchbook Prompt | TinkerLab

Today I have a fun and simple sketchbook prompt for you. This one is for all of my tinkersketch friends, new and old.

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

I’ve been trying to make a habit of getting up before the kids so that I can have a little time to breathe before the day begins. A few weeks ago I picked up these new Canson Mixed Media journals (Amazon affiliate link), found on sale at Michael’s,and I was eager to give them a try.

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

I started with made a random assortment of circles on my paper by tracing the inside of a tape roll. So easy, right? I was inspired by this zentangle post from Tiny Rotten Peanuts. Her photos are gorgeous — go ahead and check it out.

I used my favorite Micron pen for the task. If you like drawing with pen, Microns are the BEST. They’re waterproof, so after all of that drawing you can paint right over them without any fear of smearing the ink. I just noticed that Microns are on sale at Amazon right now (affiliate link) for about $1.50 — such a good deal!

Circles and Watercolor Paint | A Simple Sketchbook Prompt | TinkerLab

After drawing all those circles, I set out to fill them with patterns and paint. I decided to limit my palette to purple and red just to keep it clean and simple. After working on this for a while, I cleared the table and set up an invitation to paint for my family.

Circles and Watercolor Paint | A Simple Sketchbook Prompt | TinkerLab

The sketchbook invitation set-up

  • Sketchbooks
  • Assorted paintbrushes
  • Watercolor Set. We love this set by Prang (affiliate link)
  • Bowl of Water
  • Micron Pen
  • Rag to absorb water

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

When my kids sat down to it, I started another page. This one was much more loose and fun for me. I used the blank paint from the watercolor set and a super-thin brush from this crazy-cheap set to make those thin inky lines.

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

My husband and 3-year old got in on the action, and added a few more supplies.

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

I love how my little one interpreted this prompt.

Circles and Watercolor Paint  |  A Simple Sketchbook Prompt  |  TinkerLab

And then, even better, how she painted whatever she wanted. The whole point of this, after all, is to get some marks on paper.

p.s. The new sketchbooks journals are fantastic! The size of ours (7″ x 10″) was just right: big enough to work freely, but small enough that it’s not an overwhelming amount of space to fill. They absorb water beautifully without curling too much, and they have perforated edges so you can cleanly remove anything worth hanging or sharing with a friend.

More Sketchbook Prompt Ideas

The TinkerSketch Challenge

Instagram sketchbook prompts

Why I carry a Sketchbook

TinkerSketch Sketchbook Ideas

Draw Into Wet Paint

Crushed Flowers in the Sketchbook

 

TinkerSketch Instagram Sketchbook Challenge

TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram

It turns out that April will be a month of creative challenges here on TinkerLab! First up, we have the Creative Challenge for Kids, and secondly I’m excited to introduce our first Instagram challenge for all of us sketchbook fans: the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge. TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram

We first introduced the TinkerSketch Project a couple years ago, and without too much fanfare I’m happy to say that over 700 images have been tagged with #tinkersketch on Instagram. What’s a TinkerSketch? Click over here for more on that.

What’s the goal of the Sketchbook Challenge?

If you’re like me, you probably lead a busy life. You might have had some time to nurture your creative soul at some point in your not-too-distant past, but with kids/work/chores/responsibilities/name your excuse, you don’t have a lot of time for the creative YOU. The goal of this challenge is to make time (even if it’s just a tiny bit) to celebrate your creative self through hands-on making. If you join this sketchbook challenge, you’ll:

  • Improve your skills
  • Try and explore new ways of art-making
  • Land on new ideas that wouldn’t have emerged otherwise
  • Have fun
  • Model creative thinking for your child (if you’re a parent or teacher)
  • Celebrate the imperfection of your ideas
  • Think creatively
  • Give yourself the gift of time

How long will it take?

If you accept this challenge, you will set aside just five minutes each day aside for making, creating, and experimenting with your ideas. If you have extra time, you could always dive in for longer, but your minimum commitment is five minutes each day.

Great, but 5 minutes is still a lot!

There are so many ways to do this. For example, you could:

  • Wake up a little earlier than usual, brew a pot of something warm, and curl up with your sketchbook for a few minutes before the rest of your home wakes up
  • Carry a sketchbook in your bag and pull it out when you’re waiting in line
  • Designate “creative time” where you and your child draw in sketchbooks side-by-side

But my stuff is sure to suck.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

It might, or it might not. The point here isn’t to create a masterpiece but to unleash your creative energy. Your creations don’t have to be works of amazing art, and in fact they probably shouldn’t be all that spectacular, especially if you’re pushing yourself to try something new, experiment, and be bold. Be confident with whatever you create, knowing that you’re on a journey to feed your creativity.

What Sketchbook and Tools do you Recommend?

Our best advice is to visit an art store and test out sketchbooks to see which one feels right to you. That said, here are a few tips:

  • Size: Find a size that fits your situation. If you think you’ll take your sketchbook on the road, find something small enough to travel in your bag
  • Paper: Choose paper that is heavy weight and designed to withstand water and wet media. Look for the weight of paper in terms of how many pounds it is: the higher the number, the heavier the weight. Something over 70 lbs. should do the trick
  • Spiral or book-bound: Do you think you’d enjoy a spiral-bound book or traditional binding more? We recommend spiral binding because the pages lie flat easily. Some people like traditional binding more because they can design/paint/draw a double-page spread without having a gap between the pages.
  • Strathmore: One of my very favorite sketchbooks is the Visual Art Journal for Mixed Media by Strathmore. The pages weight is 90 lb. and you can get this book in a number of sizes. My personal favorite for on-the-go is 5.5″ x 8″. If you like to work big, they have one that’s 9″ x 12″.
  • Stillman & Birn: A friend just gave me a Stillman & Birn Zeta series and I love it. The paper is 180 lb.
  • Pens: Get yourself a few pens that you love to use, and be sure to have at least one waterproof, archival pen in the mix so that you can paint over your pen lines without worrying about your drawing bleeding with water. Micron Pens are a designer favorite, and they come in tons of sizes and colors. This all-black set includes a few different pen sizes and this brush-tip set includes six different colors. Sharpies are another wonderful choice with so many options to choose from.

Will there be any support?

For each day of the challenge we’ll share our own daily entry on Instagram and Facebook, along with a few extra ideas in case you need a little bit of inspiration. We encourage everyone who joins the challenge to leave supportive comments on other participants’ images. Since it can be hard to put ourselves out there, it’s always nice to receive a friendly pat on the back when pushed outside our comfort zone.

I’m in! How do I do this?

  1. Print out or bookmark the list you see at the top of this page. Each day has a new prompt that will inspire you to make something.
  2. Interpret the Prompt: You can interpret the daily prompts however you want. “Drips” to one person may mean flicking watercolors off a toothbrush and to another person it might mean covering a page in marker and then leaving the page outside on a drizzly morning. You can take them literally or not — this is completely up to you. If you’re really at a loss, leave a comment below and we’ll help you noodle through it.
  3. Make stuff: You could put all your ideas into a sketchbook (it is called a sketchbook challenge, after all), loose leaf paper, post-it notes, or something else.
  4. Share it! This challenge can be a totally private affair and you never have to let a soul know that you’re working on it, or you could share your creations with others. I’m a private person, but I find that sharing things like this actually motivates me to work harder. If you’re up for it, we invite you to share your daily sketches on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Basically, wherever you like to drop your social media mat. Simply tag your image or post with #tinkersketch, and you could also ping us at @tinkerlab to let other people know about the challenge
  5. Tell others. If you could use some back-up, share the Sketchbook Challenge calendar image from this post on Instagram or with a friend, and encourage others to join you on this fun, creative journey.
  6. Support others. Take a moment to cruise around and look at other images that are tagged with #tinkersketch, and leave a supportive comment to build community and basically make someone else feel great about the effort they’re putting into their creative journey.

Anything else?

If you have any questions about the prompts or other parts of this challenge, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for supporting TinkerLab with your purchases.

Less is More: A Child-Adult Art Collaboration

How to set up a Child + Adult Art Collaboration

painting on sketchbook

I was on Instagram the other day and shared a sketchbook collaboration that my five-year old and I were working on. My friends Ness from One Perfect Day, Kate from An Everyday Story, and Shana from Ain’t no Mom Jeans asked me to share more about how we collaborate. They asked:

Who suggests the ideas, colors, etc.?

How do you encourage/add input etc. without taking the lead?

I’ll try to answer these questions through the photos that emerged from our latest collaboration:

Who suggests the ideas, colors, etc?

For this particular spread, I sat across the table from my daughter and we chatted while we worked on independent projects. She had a collage project going, so I pulled out my sketchbook and started to experiment with her materials.

We had small piles of colorful paper on the table and I thought I would try to layer them.

How to set up a Child + Adult Art Collaboration

At this point she continued to work on her own project.

But I have tot tell you something: I knew that it was just a matter of time before she would join me.

She almost always does. Making art with her is a lot like having a conversation. We might start out our conversation talking about two entirely different things, but as we get more comfortable chatting we get in sync with one another.

Our sketchbook sessions are a lot like that. We’ll start of doing our own thing, and then she’ll inevitably see a way to make my design better, and will ask to join in.

I always welcome these moments.

Back to the question (Who suggests the ideas, colors, etc.?), I’m flexible on this point. I’ll often initiate the collaboration and will select the materials or colors that we begin with, but I’m open to my child’s contributions. In the sketchbook image that prompted this post, I chose the red and pink, while my daughter suggested black and white.

My tip to you: Accept all offers from your child. Consider this a grand experiment and don’t worry one bit about the final product. Who cares if your child wants to cover the whole page with black paint. That would be an experiment worth pursuing. Just consider Robert Rauschenberg’s Untitled (Glossy Black Painting) or Louise Nevelson’s Sky Cathedral. How else would these world-renowned artists have figured out the power of black paint without first testing its limits?

sketchbook pattern with paper

How do you encourage/add input etc. without taking the lead?

I got this far with my design, and then I started to add squiggles around the paper with a black Sharpie maker. N gave me some feedback, but didn’t ask to join in.

Then I got an idea to add some paint, and I had a feeling this would catch her eye.

Yup.

We each took a brush and got busy adding dots and lines.

Because these collaborations usually take place on art that I initiate, my daughter is absolutely fine with my contributions and she doesn’t feel like marks that I make violate her work. Back to the conversation analogy, these work sessions are like back-and-forth chats. I’ll add something, and then she’ll add something. And we often really do talk as we work, sharing ideas before we commit anything to the paper.

Less is More

I love the last moment of our session, and it’s a great lesson for anyone who’s still reading. At one point she put her brush and down and told me the painting was done. I wasn’t so sure and kept on going. She took her seat across the table from me and gently said, “remember Mom, less is more.”

painting on sketchbook 2

She was right. You have to know when to stop. And I put my brush down too.

Reason #1: Why I Carry a Sketchbook

Why I carry a sketchbook

Do you carry a sketchbook around in your bag or purse?

I have one with me almost all the time. I say “almost” because today I found myself without it — left behind in my art studio — and I furiously scrambled for scraps of paper to entertain my 3-year old during an impromptu meeting. Thankfully she was happy with a book I had in my bag and found a way to keep herself busy for close to an hour. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. That need to deliver a special magic bullet that your child will swoon over for an endless period of time. Or at least until you finish a conversation or eat a meal. Why I carry a sketchbook The other day, three-year old Rainbow and I were hanging out during her sister’s dance class, and I encouraged her to dance along on the sidelines. This child loves to dance so much that she insists on wearing ballet slippers everywhere. No joke. They’re the dirtiest ballet shoes you’ve ever seen. But on this day, she wasn’t interested. Probably too much dancing in the grocery store aisles. So I brought out my sketchbook and started to draw in it.  Have you experienced the phenomena of drawing in a sketchbook with a child looking on? It can be like bringing out a piece of candy and devouring it in front of them. They can’t resist it, and usually beg to join in. Well, this is the case with my kids anyway, and I encourage you to try it and see what happens. In the spirit of research, please let me know how it goes.  I made a simple line drawing of a tree and some stars. Nothing fancy. It was all for me and she must have sensed the exclusivity of it. Rainbow looked on, chomping at the bit, and asked me for her markers (which I also try to carry with me at all times). I happily passed her the book and she got right to work filling in my drawings and adding her own marks. How the sketchbook saves the day. I gave her some room and ten minutes after the class ended she was still at it. Why I carry a sketchbook We had to coax her her outside with a promise of dinner.

#TinkerSketch on Instagram

If you keep a sketchbook (with or without your child), you’re invited to add the #tinkersketch hashtag to your photos on Instagram or Google+.  You might also like to follow Tinkerlab on Instagram for more creative inspiration.

A Question for You

I’m always eager to find fun things to carry in my bag for my kids. What’s your go-to toy, tool, or piece of entertainment magic?

Tinkersketch Art Ideas

tinkersketch art ideas

Tinkersketch Art Ideas :: Tinkerlab.com

Are you a creative parent or teacher who’s looking for some art ideas?

Do you know about the ongoing #Tinkersketch art journal challenge that’s brewing over on Instagram? Every day, people just like you and me show up to snap and share photos of their sketchbook art ideas. 

The idea behind this challenge is to make a little bit of room in our busy parenting lives to create via glueing, painting, collaging, and experimenting in a sketchbook everyday, or as often as we can.

When I first introduced this challenge I had a lot more time on my hands (check back tomorrow for an announcement about where my time went!), and I made time to create a tinkersketch every day. I now experiment in my sketchbook when I can, usually alongside my children when we’re all at the art table, and I never regret the time I spend doing this. I share this to say that if you feel strapped for time, create something when you have the time and your efforts will not go unnoticed by you or your child.

Tinkersketch Art Ideas: Highlights from Instagram

There’s a lovely crew of dedicated tinkersketchers who continue to inspire me and each other with their quick sketches, material explorations, and collaborative art journaling with kids. Chelsey, one of my Tinkersketch buddies, wrote this inspiring post about her Tinkersketch journey. She says in the post, “I thought hard about doing it, but was really nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever even owned a sketchbook in my life. I am NOT an artist and do not feel creative in any way.” And then she tackled the project with so much gusto that I’ve considered asking her to take it over!

Here’s a peek at a few of my favorite images from this month…

art ideas

Altered book image@emog

“Ella cus” (She sews) is a beautiful and delicate song from #laiaia@angaleta who blogs at Encenentlaimaginacio 

art ideas

Sometimes the tinkersketch moves off the page like this Pumpkin Painting, @supershortcake,

Nutmeg, Curry, and Paprika painting, @angaleta who blogs at Encenentlaimaginacio 

art ideas

Painting with Chocolate, @angaleta who blogs at Encenentlaimaginacio 

Child’s Tinkersketch, @aneverydaystory (Kate) who blogs at An Everyday Story

art ideas

Child’s Tinkersketch: “Lucy is inside a robot and controlling it on the left. On the right is Lucy and theo. theo is sad because he wants to be in the robot., @cmarashian who blogs at Buggy and Buddy.

Mixed Media Weaving, @emog

THIS WEEK’S TINKERSKETCH PROMPTS

When I first shared this challenge I posted prompts, and it’s been a while since I’ve picked up on this. Will you tell me if this is useful?

Feel free to use the art prompts if they work for you or ignore them completely and forge your own sketchbook path. Sketches can happen in a traditional sketchbook or on just about anywhere you can dream up. Remember, this past week @Supershortcake made her tinkersketch on a pumpkin, so go on and think outside the box. The objective is to make a little time to experiment with new art ideas in a supportive environment.

  • Fill the page with Jack-O-Lanterns
  • Draw with a hot glue gun
  • Combine skinny strips of tape and leaves in a collage
  • Make (and use) paper stencils like these
  • Paint an abstract picture of the colors of the weather
  • Write a poem about the place you live, and illustrate it
  • Document a song that you can’t get out of your head

How to SHARE your tinkersketch

  • Instagram: Upload a photo of your DPS with the hashtag #tinkersketch. My username is tinkerlab, in case you’d like to follow me
  • Facebook: Upload a photo of your DPS directly to the Tinkerlab Facebook page
  • Google+: Upload your DPS photo to your own page. Tag me @rachelle doorley  and/or @tinkerlab. Add the hashtag #tinkersketch
  • Twitter: Add the hashtag #tinkersketch
  • If you’re a Blogger, write a post about your tinkersketch adventures and share it with me! Feel free to snag the button up there if you’d like.

If you want to read more about the Tinkersketch project hop over here for the introduction and more info on how you can join.

Follow us on Facebook for more kids’ activities and ideas, and sign up for our newsletter.

Do you Keep a Journal or a Sketchbook?

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

Do you keep a journal?

I’m juggling a bunch of projects at the moment — did I tell you that I’m writing a book?  Gasp. That’s a post for another day! — and I’m trying to keep this blog going without killing myself in the process. One of the things that grounds me, and my kids, are our sketchbooks.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

When we have an idea, it goes into the sketchbook. When we buy new markers we test them out in the sketchbook.

I’ve always loved having a visual journal, and as a parent I encourage my children to keep one as well. Not only do journals enable us to capture a moment in time, but they’re witnesses of our past that can fill us in on little secrets, and they’re powerful resources for sourcing new ideas. When I have a block and need some inspiration, I can flip back through my journals in search of a technique or image that recharges my batteries.

Favorite Sketchbook Resources

Check out my Sketchbook Board on Pinterest, updated frequently with new ideas.

Balzer Designs. You’ll want to check out her gorgeous Art Journal Every Day posts.

Keri Smith, genius in every way. She’ll get you to think outside the box and is so good at pushing you outside your comfort zone. I think I want to be her.

Alisa Burke creates beautiful illustrations. Here’s a peek into her sketchbook and some artsy tutorials.

Journal Fodder Junkies shares some good tips and tutorials on attacking the blank page.

If you’re on Instagram and you’d like to join my FREE Sketchbook Challenge, all the details you need are here: Tinkelab’s Double Page Spread Challenge

What about you? Do you keep a written or visual journal?

 

How to Use a Sketchbook to Boost Creativity

quotes about life

Have you ever kept a sketchbook? Are you on the DPS (Double Page Spread) journey with me? Have you thought about joining, but you haven’t started yet?

When I introduced the DPS Challenge, I talked about the importance of starting a visual journal practice as a way to nurture your own creativity. But did you know that modeling habits of creative thinking such as experimentation, exploration of materials, problem solving, imagination, and a willingness to make mistakes is also one of the best ways to foster creativity and creative thinking in your child?

There are a number of ways to do this, and keeping a visual journal of your ideas is an easy way to begin.

drawing ideas sketchbook

by @Angelata, via Instagram

Are you blocked?

Are you on the fence? You really want to do this, but how on earth could you find the time? Maybe you’re waiting for the mood to strike, you have a fear of drawing, or you’re on the hunt for the perfect journal? I share these points because these are some of the things that have stopped me in the past: my day got off to a bad start, I slept in, I felt uninspired, or I had nothing to draw on. Wait until you see the last image of this post for a fun solution to that last problem.

I hope you won’t let these things stop you because this will only take a few moments of your day and the creative rewards…for you and your kids…are huge.

I should add that while I think I do a decent job in the drawing department, my three year old insists that her drawings are better than mine. And yours might too. Don’t let that stop you either.

happiness quotes

When I came across this quote, it reminded me of my commitment to myself to get right down to business and make something happen in my art journal on an almost daily basis.

It’s not always easy, that’s for sure. My kids demand a lot of me. My house will be a bloody mess unless I clean it. I never get enough sleep and could always use just a few extra minutes of rest. And this weekend, the weather was just too gorgeous to be tied down to a journal. But I can’t let these things stand in my way. They’re necessary, yes, but I search for pockets of time when my kids are playing independently, making art, or napping to jot down a quick sketch, collage, or visual reference to something I don’t want to forget.

by Nicky from Artful Genius

I thought I’d take a minute to share a variety of DPS entries to inspire you and further illuminate how motivating it can be to show up for something when there are others there to support your efforts.

Helen from Curly Birds drew this picture of her picking garden…the inspiration was found right in her backyard.

sketchbook drawing ideas

Please Grow Garden by Helen from Curly Birds

If you’ve been following my #tinkersketch journey on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that many of my DPS’s are imperfect, sketchy, and experimental. I’m not about perfection, but I do want to capture fleeting ideas and play with materials in a new way.

I love how Chelsey has taken on this challenge for herself and her daughter — in this example, they worked with similar materials (Cottonelle plastic bag) to create individually inspired pieces.

drawing ideas sketchbook

Mother + Daughter sketchbooks by Chelsey, @cmarashian at Instagram

The plan is to get the ideas out of your head and onto a page and create a visual record of experiences that you can refer back to at a later point. You may spend anywhere from three to twenty minutes (or more) on a DPS, and you shouldn’t worry about what the product will look like. This is about the process.

Melissa from The Chocolate Muffin Tree took a risk and used the huge collection of her daughter’s stickers to build this stunning mandala. No drawing necessary for those of you who don’t think you can draw!

sketchbook drawing ideas

by Melissa from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

And what happens in this process? Some of your ideas may be crap, but crummy ideas can lead to other ideas that are fantastic. If you have a fear of making crap, you’ll make nothing at all and lose the possibility of getting to the good stuff. Simple as that.

And finally, if you don’t have a sketchbook, that’s fine too. Many of us have cameras and smart phones that can document our ideas drawn on napkins, the backs of receipts, or even hands. Maya, from Meme Tales, and her daughter created these delightful mendhi designs on their hands and then uploaded them to Instagram with the hashtag #tinkersketch.

mendhi doodle

by Maya from Meme Tales

This week’s DPS prompts:

I’ll post prompts on my site at the beginning of each week. Some of you requested them, others did not. Feel free to use them if they work for you, or ignore them completely.

  • Manipulate paper bags: paint, tear, collage
  • Draw only with straight lines
  • Make a map of a childhood place from memory
  • Set a Timer: Make a 3-minute painting
  • Pick one object from nature and repeat it into a pattern
  • Write for five minutes. Circle all the words that stand out. Color them in.
  • Make a picture with tape + one other material
  • Take inspiration from a children’s book

Do you have ideas for prompts?

The more ideas, the better! I’d love to share them, so go ahead and add them in a comment or tweet them with the hashtag #sketchstarter

 Share

  • Facebook: Upload a photo of your DPS directly to the Tinkerlab Facebook page
  • Instagram: Upload a photo of your DPS with the hashtag #tinkersketch. My username is tinkerlab, in case you’d like to follow me
  • Google+: Upload your DPS photo to your own page. Tag me @rachelle doorley  and/or @tinkerlab. Add the hashtag #tinkersketch
  • Twitter: Add the hashtag #tinkersketch

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In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids