DPS Sketchbook Challenge, Made Easy

Double page spread sketchbook challenge

Are you participating in the DPS challenge? You can join at any time and your sketches can be as basic or complex as you like. My friend, Aude, told me that some of the entries I shared last week intimidated her. These weren’t her words exactly, but that was the gist of it, and I thought I needed to reset this challenge since that wasn’t my intent at all. I love how the honesty of good friends can help me grow and and hope you’ll also tell me if I get off track.

If you felt the same way or felt discouraged by this challenge, I hope you’ll consider giving it a try. The idea is to show up — FOR YOURSELF — and make something almost every day.

So I’m sharing some of my quickest, simplest DPS entries as examples of how easy this can be. The threshold for joining isn’t that high and the time commitment isn’t too grand.

In the picture above, my kids and I painted on a piece of paper that I later glued to my sketchbook. When it dried I added some glitter glue and white reinforcement stickers. It’s simple and didn’t require a lot of special talent, but it works.

sketchbook challenge

This challenge isn’t for everyone, I understand that, but if you’re the least bit interested in charging your creative batteries, I hope you’ll consider giving it a go. The process has done tremendous things for my own creativity and my kids’ as well. As I sketched over breakfast the other day my daughter said excitedly, “can you get me my sketchbook? You gave me an idea!”

sketchbook challenge

The other wonderful part of this project is the growing community of enthusiastic and supportive #tinkersketchers. If you’re on Facebook, you can see some of the images that readers have added on my wall. And if you’re on Instagram, you can search for #tinkersketch where you’ll see the full gallery of participants’ posts. We comment on each other’s images and provide each other with the motivation to keep going.

I have to share this comment from Angalata in Spain because it summarizes the spirit of this project so well:

“I feel so lucky… I found people who look what I do and who wants to share with me what they create (and nobody judges nobody creations), I can express myself, I delight with beautiful sketches, collages, compositions, paintings… I think about what (or most important… HOW) can i create something… some days it takes me 5 minutes and other days I spend about an hour… I create with my kids, alone, or with my dear husband playing his guitar… and because create something is the ONLY WAY to create. Maybe some of our #tinkersketch creations ar imperfect, as you say, but I love them because they are a present for myself. I am a proud confetti owner (and, al last, I recive free english lessons, too ;-D) So… thank you, Rachelle and my lovely #tinkersketchers.”

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.

  • Copy a pattern from a towel, dish, napkin, etc.
  • Doodle with your eyes closed
  • Write words that your children say and circle your favorite ones
  • Make another picture with those favorite words
  • Rubber stamp it
  • Paint with red wine vinegar
  • Listen to a song and draw doodles along with the movement of the music

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


  • 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


  1. Ooh, I’m so tempted to join in with this – it’s such a good idea, but I’ve tried and failed at this kind of thing before, and I’m so afraid of it turning into one more thing that I feel I have to do. My creativity tends to come in bursts, but at the same time I’m also aware that it feeds on itself. Perhaps I’ll give it a go when I return from holiday….

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from, Jude. I’m the same way, which is partly why I had to make a public announcement about this…just to hold myself accountable! You have to do what works for you — there’s no pressure here at all and you can join in when (and if) it works for you. Have a wonderful holiday!

  2. You have talked me into it! I’ll try to post a few of my sketches on Instagram as I go along.

    • Yeah!!!!! I’m so excited to have another convert, Jalarah! Look forward to playing #tinkersketch with you soon. xo

  3. I’ve been wondering about getting back into a sketchbook habit (I say “back into” as though I ever had one in the past for more than a week) and stumbled across your site. I’m curious/mildly concerned, though, about one thing…why two pages? I have always hated working on the back of a previous picture, and having an image essentially “cut” down the middle by the binding. Would you be interested in accepting OPS as well? 🙂

    • Hey Sonja, Great question. When I work with wet media or Sharpies I’m sometimes remiss to work on the back of those pages, and will often skip a page so I won’t work on soaked-through paper. This idea was first introduced to me as a DPS, and I like the wide landscape page, but of course it could be a OPS. Whatever works for you — these are merely suggestions and the main objective is to build a low threshold exercise in creativity into your day!

  4. I missed this post! Every day I feel more lucky, we are a creative community! I subscribe EACH WORD I wrote… and EACH WORD you say. TY!

  5. I am so thrilled to have found your website. I am creative but don’t consider myself artistic. I have 2 boys, 3 & 2, and really want to instill a love for the creative in them. I prefer open-ended activities so the few ideas I have seen at a quick glance through your site have me so excited. I can’t wait to introduce them to some of the ideas. Thank you.
    And I might just start my own DPS Book …

    • I’m so glad that you found me too, Rene! The projects on my site, and my philosophy about fostering creative thinking, in general, supports open-ended projects that encourage discovery and experimentation. It sounds like we’re a good match! If you’re interested in the DPS project, have you seen the latest TinkerSketch post. This project ran a couple months ago, but if you scroll through the Instagram images you’ll get a ton of fun inspiration: https://tinkerlab.com/tinkersketch-sketchbook-challenge-instagram/

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