Quick-and-Dirty (aka Everyday Sketches)

Sketching when I travel is easy: so much new, exciting stuff to be inspired to draw. Sketching when I am back home is hard. It’s especially hard to get back to sketching regularly after a big trip: 10 days in Manchester, and 2 weeks in Italy just before that. (Did I mention that before? Maybe I didn’t, I’ll be posting those sketches very soon!) We all have that long to-do list of everyday chores that takes priority. And, it can be challenging to feel inspired to draw when you are in a familiar place. But I’m trying to do a little sketch even on super busy days. Because quick-and dirty sketches are the perfect place to experiment.

Here are some from last week.

A page of ink sketches on tan paper. Playing with my new Venetian glass dip pen. I love the slightly scratchy feel of glass nib on paper.


Homegrown tomatoes look far from perfect, but they taste delicious. Watercolor and white gouache.

And then there’s these two kittens we just adopted. So you might be a lot of cat sketches in the near future. This first page of sketches is an ambitious attempt to capture kittens that won’t stay still. Noodlers ink and dip pen.

This next one was easier. Graphite, diluted ink and colored pencil.

And finally a quick head study done today. Watercolor and watersoluble pencil.

The longest of these (the tomatoes) took a little under a half hour. But most took just a few minutes, something I can do even on my busiest days.

Here are some thoughts on stuff I am doing to try and draw everyday:

  • No rules. draw from life. Or not. Use color. Or not. Share it. Or not.
  • Carry around a very small book and a pencil everywhere. That way I don’t feel I need my whole toolkit and a lot of time to sketch.
  • Keep a running list of ideas of little things to draw, techniques to try, mediums to play with: For those days when I am out of ideas.
  • Do a regular post of quick-and-dirty sketches. It’s hard to explain how that helps,but a commitment to blog helps me sketch.

Do you have any other ideas on how to make sketching an everyday habit? Any tips on what works for you? Share them here, and keep sketching!



About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Animals, Figure Drawing, Food, people, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Quick-and-Dirty (aka Everyday Sketches)

  1. Most of my sketches come from a feeling of urgency. That is, if I don’t draw this RIGHT NOW, it will disappear. That includes a lot of subjects like animals, sunsets etc. Yesterday I drew a fairy circle of mushrooms in a public park. I knew they would go away soon. And they did: little boys stomped on them. http://Www.colorfuljourney.us

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harold Goldfus says:

    I try to carry a pocket sketchbook and a gel pen with me wherever I go. If I am waiting in line at a coffee shop, I try to do a quick sketch of someone ahead of me in line or seated at a nearby table.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I carry a small mixed media sketchbook, a very small palette of paint, a small waterbrush (big brush small body), a small bottle of water, paper towel and it all zips up into a clear pencil case. This is always in my bag. It works when I am waiting. How often do we find ourselves waiting. It is a great way to pass the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. TheArtistOnTheRoad says:

    Great idea Suhita and I like your list of tips. It’s easy to forget how fun it is to create a quick sketch. Having a sketchbook in reach certainly helps. I often start my day with a list of things I want to accomplish and starting today I’m going to put sketching down as one of them.

    Love your quick sketches and looking forward to seeing your work from Italy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have also the last 3 years a pencil a sketch book [and a piece of plasteline to practice with human head] and everywhere i try to sketch, is my best time of every day.I move by metro by bus and sometimes i lose the station i have to go out, but i have problem i don’t like my sketches !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sheknow says:

    Grear to hear that you’re committing to quick and dirty everyday sketches! I’m one of those daily sketcher, rare poster…sometimes the daylight is gone by the time I get around to photo/scan the sketches. My personal goal is to sketch as early in the day as possible, especially since daylight hours are starting to get shorter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shiho, true sketching is more important than posting. And you are so great wiht the daily sketch. Good idea on the ‘sketch early in the day’, I’ll try that, because right now, it’s getting close to school pickup and “sketch something” is still unchecked on my todo list. ( btw, I find I love instagram for quick posting: just a photo of sketch, no real writing, the blog is for more thinking)


  7. miatagrrl says:

    Carrying a small notebook at all times really helps. There’s no pressure to make a “good” sketch or waiting for inspiration — just anything that passes my field of vision! Usually no more than 5 or 10 minutes each. No masterpieces, but I always say, any sketch is better than none! 😉



    • Like you, Tina, I’ve added a small book to my setup, and yes, it helps me expect absolutely nothing out of those sketches, which means I sketch more often. I think I’m going to take all these great tips form the comments and add them to the tips I have above, thank you!


  8. donmcn says:

    Hi, I admire your sketches. Posting seems to make me sketch more, no matter what they are like, I often post them anyway. It does eat up time though, I am thinking more and more that Instagram is the way to go.


    • You are right , posting is time-consuming. I use my blog more for writing and thinking about work and instagram for quick, almost wordless, single image posts. ( I am @suhitasketch on instagram)


  9. Swati says:

    Wonderful thoughts! I hardly post,but have made it a point to at least scribble a few lines before going to bed. But since this is the last thing I do, sitting on my bed,I end up drawing my right foot or left foot!


  10. Phoebe says:

    I’m just getting into watercolor. I have a terrific view of the San Gabriel Mountains from the end of my block so I have started to fill up all those pesky few pages at the end of sketchbooks with one quick and dirty watercolor a day as the sun sets. I’ve set a date on my phone (wish there were an app to change it automatically!) but it helps that it’s more or less at the same time – plus, since it’s more or less at 7 (for now) I can take a glass of wine with me and that helps.
    Quick, as in small palette, container of water, one brush, rag and sketchbook. No seat or other paraphernalia. I thought I’d get bored. Not so far.
    Oh, and Shiho is my inspiration as I know she sketches everyday despite working in a corporate environment!


    • oh Phoebe, that sounds like a perfect setup! and yes, Shiho is so good at keeping at it. Speaking of your sketching almost the same view everyday, did you see Liz Steel’s post today about sketching her coffee everyday? Along the same lines…


      • Phoebe says:

        Ah. I have now, and thank you for calling my attention to it! (So little time, so much to keep up on…) I’ve loved her cuppa tea drawings over the years and perhaps it was those that gave me the idea of taking on one subject again and again. I think there’s something about this that not only gives me the chance of exploring a subject in all its many facets, but (surprise…) in the few drawings I’ve done so far, I’m discovering things about myself.
        Now the dog walkers and neighbors, on the other hand…


  11. Liz Steel says:

    love it! these are great. look forward to seeing more!

    Liked by 1 person

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