Things to fill your sketchbook with (8 Art Mediums)

Are you looking for things to fill your sketchbook with? In this article I show you the different mediums and techniques you can use to fill your sketchbook.

What are great things to fill your sketchbook with?

You can use the following things to fill your sketchbook with:

  1. pen and ink
  2. colored pencils
  3. watercolors
  4. gouache
  5. acrylic paint
  6. charcoal
  7. graphite
  8. mixed media (mix everything together)

Also check out my guide to these 11 easy ideas for drawing in your sketchbook and how to use colored pencils on black paper.

Here are some of the best things to fill your sketchbook with:

1. Fill your sketchbook with pen and ink drawings

Pen and ink drawings are a great way to fill up your sketchbook.

The contrast of the ink against the paper can make your sketches pop, and pen and ink drawings are versatile enough to be used for all kinds of subject matter – from portraits to landscapes. 

Pen and ink drawings are best done with waterproof inks so that you can add washes later on if you'd like.

India ink is a good choice, but there are also plenty of waterproof fountain pens on the market that would work well too.

My favorite way to sketch in ink is with a simple office ballpoint pen.

Experiment with a few different types of pens until you find one that you like working with. 

2. Fill your sketchbook with colored pencil drawings

One of the great things about colored pencils is that they offer a lot of versatility.

You can use them to create very detailed drawings or to make more loose and abstract sketches.

And because they come in such a wide range of colors, you can let your creativity run wild as you're filling up your sketchbook.

If you're just getting started with colored pencils, then you might want to start by revisiting some of your older pen drawings.

See if you can add some color and dimension to them with your new medium.

This will help you get a feel for how the colored pencils work, and how best to use them to achieve the results you want.

Once you've got a handle on that, you can start experimenting with more color studies.

This is a great way to get to know the different colors available, and how they interact with each other.

You might want to start by creating a few simple color wheels, or exploring different ways of shading.

Then, once you're feeling more confident, you can start tackling more complex compositions.

3. Fill your sketchbook with watercolor studies

Watercolor paintings are beautiful and can add a lot of interest to your sketches. They can be tricky to master, but with some practice, you can create stunning watercolor studies that will fill your sketchbook with color and life.

Make sure you're using a sketchbook with the right thickness of paper to withstand watercolor.

Watercolor paper is different from regular drawing or printer paper because it is made to withstand the wetness of watercolors without warping or buckling.

Make sure to choose a high-quality watercolor sketchbook that is at least 140 lb (300 gsm). This will ensure that your painting turns out looking professional.

4. Fill your sketchbook with gouache paintings

Gouache is a type of paint that is similar to watercolor but is thicker and more opaque.

It can be used in a sketchbook to produce beautiful, colorful paintings.

Here are some tips for using gouache in your sketchbook:

  • Prime your paper with a layer of gesso. Gesso is a type of primer that will help your paint adhere to the paper better. Gesso your sketchbook page first. Simply apply a thin layer of gesso to the entire surface of your paper with a brush and allow it to dry completely before beginning your painting.
  • Use light colors first. When using gouache, it is important to start with light colors and then build up to darker colors. This will help prevent any muddy colors from forming when the different colors are layered on top of each other.
  • Experiment with different techniques. Gouache can be used in a variety of ways to create different effects. Try using a dry brush technique or adding water to your paint to see what effects you can create.  
  • Allow your painting to dry completely before adding any details. Once you are happy with your painting, allow it to dry completely before adding any details with waterproof ink or pen. This will help prevent smudging and streaking.

5. Use acrylic in your sketchbook

Acrylic paint is a water-based pigment that dries quickly and can be diluted with water if needed.

Just make sure that you're using artist-quality paint so that your colors are nice and vibrant.

When it comes to brushes, you'll want to use ones that are specifically made for acrylic paint since they're designed to hold up against heavy pigments.

Now that you have everything you need, it's time to start adding some color to your sketches.

To do this, simply paint directly onto your sketchbook page using whatever colors you like.

I like to use a limited palette so that my paintings don't look too busy, but feel free to experiment and see what works best for you. 

One thing to keep in mind is that because acrylic dries quickly, you'll need to work relatively fast when applying it to your sketches.

6. Fill your sketchbook with charcoal sketches

One medium that is great for sketching, and that you should consider using, is charcoal.

Here's why. 

Charcoal is messy – and thats okay

Charcoal can get smudged and smeared, but that's all part of the artistic process.

And besides, it's easy enough to fix if you don't like the way something looks.

Just grab a kneaded eraser or a piece of paper towel and go to town until the results are more to your liking.

Charcoal is easy to use and control

Another great thing about charcoal is that it's easy to use and control—even for beginners.

If you make a mistake or don't like the way something looks, you can easily fix it or start over again without too much hassle.

You can also experiment with different techniques until you find the ones that work best for you.

Overall, charcoal is a great medium for artists of all skill levels. 

Charcoal can be used for a variety of effects

Not only is charcoal easy to use, but it can also create a variety of effects and pictures.

For example, if you're looking to create something dark and moody, charcoal is a great option.

Or if you want to add some intense shading to your work, charcoal can help with that too.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to what you can create with charcoal.

7. Fill your sketchbook with graphite pencil sketches

A pencil sketch is often the starting point for many artists.

They provide a simple, clean foundation that can be built with other mediums.

Additionally, pencil sketches are great for capturing subtle details and shading.

Here are some tips on how to sketch with a graphite pencil:

Choosing the right pencil

The type of paper you use will affect the type of pencil you need.

For instance, if you want your sketch to be light and delicate, use a softer lead like 2B.

Harder leads like 4H or 6H will give you darker lines that are good for bolder strokes.

Experiment with different types of pencils until you find the one that's right for you.

Sketching technique

There are several different techniques you can use when sketching with a graphite pencil.

The type of technique you use will depend on the effect you're trying to achieve.

If you want your lines to be soft and blurry, smudge them with your finger or a cotton swab.

For sharper lines, use a light touch and don't press too hard on the paper.

And if you want to create areas of darkness, build up the graphite slowly by layering light strokes on top of each other. Again, it's all about experimentation—try out different techniques until you find the ones that work best for you.

Adding details to your pencil sketches

Once you have the basic outline of your sketch completed, it's time to start adding details.

Start with the larger details like eyes and mouth, then move on to smaller details like eyebrows and eyelashes.

Remember to take your time and go slowly—it's easy to get carried away and add too much detail, which can make your sketch look cluttered and messy.

Once you're happy with the level of detail in your sketch, put down your pencil and step back to take a look at it from a distance. This will help you see any areas that need further work. 

Graphite pencil sketches provide artists with a simple yet versatile foundation that can be used for everything from quick sketches to complex drawings.

8. Mix everything to fill your sketchbook with mixed-media art

A sketchbook is a staple for any artist.

It's a place to practice techniques, experiment with mediums, and capture ideas.

But why stop at just one medium?

Why not go the full mixed media route and mix all the mediums above together?

Mixed media sketches are really fun to create and can make your sketchbook stand out.

Here's how to do it:

1. Pick a Project

The first step is to pick a project.

What are you going to draw?

What kind of mixed-media drawing are you going to create?

Will it be a still life?

A portrait?

Once you've decided on a project, you can move on to the next step.

2. Gather your supplies

For mixed media drawings, you'll need a variety of supplies.

This could include pencils, pens, markers, paints, pastels, charcoal, and more.

Anything goes. Just make sure you have enough of each medium to complete your project.

3. Begin sketching

Once you have your supplies gathered, it's time to start sketching.

Begin by making a light pencil sketch of your subject matter.

This will help you map out your drawing and plan where each medium will go.

4. Add in the Mediums One-by-One  

Now it's time to start adding in the mediums one by one.

Start with whichever medium you're most comfortable with and work from there.

Slowly build up the layers until you're happy with the result.

Remember that there's no wrong way to do this—just have fun and be creative! 

There's no better feeling than filling up an entire sketchbook with beautiful artwork—and that feeling is only amplified when that artwork is mixed media.

What are the benefits of filling my sketchbook with different mediums?

There are several benefits to filling your sketchbook with different mediums. First, it allows you to experiment and find the medium that works best for you. Second, it helps you develop your skills as an artist. And third, it makes your sketchbook more interesting to look at!

What is the best way to fill my sketchbook?

There is no one “best” way to fill your sketchbook. It depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to achieve with your sketches. However, I recommend trying out a few different things until you find something that you love.

What if I run out of things to draw?

If you run out of things to draw, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do. You can try drawing from life, using reference photos, or even making up your own subjects. One of my favorite creative limitations to set on myself is to dedicate an entire sketchbook to any of these interesting sketchbook theme ideas. The important thing is to keep practicing and developing your skills.

Can I use any type of medium in my sketchbook?

Yes, you can use any type of medium in your sketchbook. However, I recommend using a variety of different mediums to make your sketches more interesting. Additionally, some mediums are better suited for certain types of drawings (e.g., watercolors for landscapes).

How often should I update my sketches in my sketchbook?

There is no set rule for how often you should update your sketches.However, I recommend adding new sketches regularly to keep your sketchbook fresh and interesting. You can also use it as a way to document your progress as an artist. You’ll be surprised at how much you improve over time.