Some useful advice for visual artists on keeping a daily sketchbook

Photo by DHANYA A V on Unsplash

The Sketchbook Problem

First of all, the frustration.

Image: Adam Westbrook

A good idea feels nebulous at first.

In my experience, a good idea almost never appears fully formed.

A good idea feels like a visitation.

In her book Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert has this great way of describing ideas as floating sprites in search of human partners:


I took out a pencil and some paper and drew a straight horizontal line, like this:

Then above the line, I wrote these words:

Image: Adam Westbrook
  1. Show one thing at a time. Image sequences are similar to sentences in that you can only say one word at a time. Beginners struggle because they don’t realise they are presenting too much information at once.
  2. Clarity first. The priority with every image is precision. Can your…

Adam Westbrook

Video artist working at The New York Times. I write a weekly newsletter about visual storytelling and creativity.

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