February TinkerSketch Daily SketchBook Art Challenge

You guys…I am so excited to say that the TinkerSketch challenge is back! Brace yourself for another round of fun and easy-to-achieve sketchbook challenges for the month of February. Will you join me?

First of all, this challenge takes place on Instagram, so you’ll want to start by following TinkerLab over there.

Next, you’ll want all the details. Read on for more…

february art challenge

What’s the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge?

TinkerSketch is a daily sketchbook practice that invites you to experiment and play with ideas and materials in a low-stress, fun, and mind-stretching way.

Who is this Sketchbook Challenge for?

If you’d like to jump-start your creativity with a daily mark-making routine or establish a more regular art journalling practice, this challenge is for you. The stakes are low and it’s super easy to do, even if you have no experience or low confidence with making. And if you’re busy, the time commitment is minimal.

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.

painting on sketchbook

If you join this sketchbook challenge, you’ll:

  • Improve your drawing, painting, mark-making 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?

While you can spend as much time at this as you like, just set aside five-ten minutes each day aside for making, creating, and experimenting and you’re in business.

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

Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com.

I’m REALLY not an artist. Are you sure this is for me?

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

This is for everyone, truly, and you are not expected to make a masterpiece with this practice. Rather, the point is 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 will I Need?

While you can certainly go all-out and buy a ton of stuff for this month’s challenge, it’s not necessary. I’ll share some of my favorite tools in a minute, but you will basically need just a few things, and there’s a good chance you already have them:

  • You will need a sketchbook or a ream of paper
  • Some mark-making tools like pens and pencils
  • Paint and brush
  • “Attaching” materials such as glue and tape will come in handy
  • Collage materials such as scrap paper, newspaper, old homework, or magazines.

This list contains affiliate links


My 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? I 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.
  • My favorite Sketchbooks. I have two favorites in this category for working with both wet and dry media. Both of these books can handle paint. Strathmore Visual Journal is made of heavy duty paper (90 pound weight), perfect for mixed media, and comes in a few sizes. For easy, on-th-go journaling, I like the 5.5″ x 8″ journal at $6.89. I also like the Canson Mix Media journal that’s 7″ x 10″ for $8.19.  A friend just gave me a Stillman & Birn Zeta series and I love it. The paper is 180 lb.

My Favorite Mark-Making Tools

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 mine, too!), and they come in tons of sizes and colors.

See our Resources Page for a full list of recommended supplies for tinkering, art journal keeping, and art making with kids.

Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com.

Will there be any support?

For each day of the challenge we’ll share our own daily entry on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me!), along with a few extra ideas in case you need a little bit of inspiration. I 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.

Do I Have to Share my Work?

No sharing required! Some of us are motivated by sharing, since having others look at our work holds us accountable and we enjoy the feedback and community of sharing. However, you can follow the daily challenge, even peek in on other people’s work on Instagram, and never share a thing.

Can I do this with my Kids?


Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com. Kids welcome!

Can I see Examples of How this Works?

To see images from TinkerSketch past, click over here or search Instagram for #tinkersketch. You’ll see so many inspiring entries.

I’m in! How do I do this?

  1. Print out or bookmark the list you see at the top of this page or below. 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.

If you want to jump-start your creativity and start your art journal practice, join us for the FREE TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge in February 2015 at TinkerLab.com


  1. This is fabulous. I’m in, via my bloggy friend Emily – on Instagram she’s @squigglesndswirl and I’m @igiveyoutheverbs.

    Challenge accepted!!

    Great resource tips too, especially for my low budget.

    Can’t wait to start.

    • Awesome, Annette! I’m so happy that you’re jumping in (especially with friends — that makes it more fun). I’m also glad that the resources were helpful!

  2. […] prompts and I enjoyed the Stickmen project last year hosted by Lilian at It’s A Dome Life.  Tinkerlab host a great sketchbook challenge too which starts in February.  I am even thinking, for one […]

  3. This looks wonderful and I was ready to sign up. But I don’t have instagram and it looks like you can’t get it without a smarty pants phone. 🙁

    • Hi Melissa,

      You can absolutely play with or without Instagram. You are welcome to play without any technology whatsoever, and if you want to share images, you can do that on my Facebook page. It also looks like I’ll be starting up a Facebook group for this project. Would that help?


      • If you have access to any computer, even one with a Windows operating system, you can still get Instagram. It is available on the internet without needing to have a phone or tablet. So if you are able to access this website, you can also sign up for Instagram. Just google search Instagram.

  4. This looks like great fun and a wonderful way to get my creative juices flowing! I look forward to being in this challenge.

  5. Can we join in later? We would like to join in as a school project but may not be till after our holidays in a couple of weeks.

  6. This is great! I tried to do it last year when I was working full time. This year I’m on a creativity journey and this just what I need to keep me motivated!

    • Yay! I’m so glad that you’re joining me, Pat.

  7. Just went to AC Moore and bought Mommy art stuff. I can’t wait to start!

    • That’s so awesome, Kelly! My spirit always lifts a bit after I’ve been art supply shopping.

  8. Hey Mac users, here’s an easy way to print-out the list, if you’re like me and a: don’t have a ton of color ink left and b) couldn’t figure out how to print it from here, but want it in your binder ;D.
    1)screenshot it by pressing: command, shift,4
    2)drag the mouse over the area you want to capture (you’ll hear a ‘photo click’ when it’s done)
    3) Command Print


    • Thanks for the tutorial, Jessica 😉

  9. Thanks for the list. My Four year old son loves to create and loves doing what I do, now we have list we can do together.
    Thanks Again

  10. I enjoy the pictures posted but I can only see one for each day, either on Tinkerlab Facebook or Instagram. Probably I am missing something!

    Thanks for the inspiration

  11. […] a more minimalist life. Looking: forward to my BIRTHDAY next week 🙂 Playing: along with the daily Tinkersketch challenge. Deciding: I can’t do every single craft or creative thing. Must. Practice. Single. Focus. […]

  12. I just now saw this, and February is ending. 🙁

  13. […] you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember the TinkerSketch art challenge. This month-long challenge invited makers of all ages to show up for a daily dose of art making. […]

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