Building a Sketching Practice

I’m just back from a two week break from my computer and from blogging. I’ll post sketches from those days over the next week, but first some thoughts on a sketching practice. And some sketches from the end of last year.

Just before the holidays is when things get super busy. Commissioned pieces, last minute freelance, kids’ concerts, tying up big projects… the list is long and sketching seems to get to the bottom of that list. But Nina shared with me a super-simple google doc she keeps that helps her work towards a wee bit of sketching everyday. Each day has a one-line entry. The end of December looked like this for me:


It’s almost irrelevant what I drew and how long I sketched everyday, but the one red NOTHING day bothered me enough that another one hasn’t appeared since…

A few things help in drawing everyday:
1) having my supplies right by me, either in a sketchbag or on my work desk.
2) being okay with drawing anything, and drawing it over and over.

I sketched that cat so many times. You can see in that last shot that my sketchbook is on top of my computer keypad as I draw because the cat came and sat right where I was working and I just reached for my supplies and drew him.

On a day when I haven’t drawn all day I know I can still count on drawing the kids in the evening. Each of these spreads was done within one 20-minute practice session that the kids do most evenings.
I sketch on a continual basis, but it’s in fits and starts. 5 sketches one day. Nothing for the next few days, then another burst of sketches. I’d like to see if drawing everyday brings something to my work.

That’s my modest little sketching resolution for 2020. What’s yours?

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Animals, Everyday Sketches, people, san jose and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Building a Sketching Practice

  1. After taking Liz Steel’s Sketching Now on Location class, I had an aha moment when she said that she really sees improvement on her big sketching days when she does multiple sketches vs just doing one detailed, long sketch. Also, I love how Liz will attempt sketching a subject multiple times. So, one of my art resolutions for this year is doing multiple sketches of the same subject possibly on different media. So I have been doing 3-5 sketches of the same subject lately in different sketchbooks – including a few Hobonichi techno’s on Tomoe River paper, a teeny tiny 10th Anniversary Traveler’s Notebook on MD paper, and several other sketchbooks including Stillman & Birns and a homemade toned sketchbook. My other resolution is to get to know my watercolor and gouache paints better using Lisa Solomon’s Field Guide to Color.

    Happy New Year, Suhita!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. brendaclaire says:

    Love the idea of keeping track of daily sketches

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As much as I try to keep my rhythm, the Christmas holidays, more than any other, disrupts my daily sketching rhythm. Then when the New Year begins, I can’t seem to find my way back, my sketching groove is out-of-wack, my attention is blurry, my hand unsteady and my sketches kind of “off”. It is struggle to pull it all together but I know that consistency is the key. Sketching every day, every little snippet of time I can snatch and however shitty my sketches are, all conspire to bring me back to a satisfying and productive practice. So, I am smack dab in that blurry, wonky, miserable stage right now. However, I am not gonna let it phase me or trouble me too much. I refuse to wallow. Instead, I keep my sketchbook open with a pen on a blank page, water jar filled with clean water and brushes, palette and a few other supplies within easy reach. I know the fog is going to lift once I keep sketching, every day, this, and that and the other, anything, everything, whatever. I have no doubt I will get my groove back in no time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sankaranarayanan sundaram says:


    On Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 8:38 PM Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook wrote:

    > Suhita Shirodkar posted: “I’m just back from a two week break from my > computer and from blogging. I’ll post sketches from those days over the > next week, but first some thoughts on a sketching practice. And some > sketches from the end of last year. Just before the holidays is when ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Holly Tanner Strauss says:

    Im hoping to build sketching, create everyday habit on new years I came across a tiny Legion paper watercolor pad 2.5″x3.75 I discovered it my water brush pen and my mini palette all fit in my coat pocket so no excuse not to put brush to paper each day. They’re small enough to not get to precious about and for accountability and tracking, I’ve posted on my Instagram @holly.tanner.strauss. it was getting close to midnight and I had yet to paint so even in poor lighting I painted a moth and as a fun surprise woke up this morning to see the true colors. A little anticipation to start the day. I’m also putting a little note on my calendar when i paint.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Katie Roberts says:

    This is inspiring….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tina Koyama says:

    I just finished my 6th year of drawing every day (no misses), and the 2 years before that, I sketched nearly every day. My secret is to have low standards and expectations. 😉 Many days, I sketch only a piece of fruit (I sure wish I had a kitty!), but I truly believe that I learn something from everything I draw, even the same thing over and over, especially if it’s from life. So, “draw every day” is still my only goal. And your daily sketches (kids, kitties… you haven’t sketched the skull lately!) are always among my inspirations!


  8. Bernadette says:

    As always, I admire your quick study sketches especially of people. But today’s post that includes your kitty makes me smile! I’ve been trying to sketch our cat and having trouble with finding the form beneath the fur and distinct markings! Seeing your stetches, i tried again. That is the secret I believe…keep trying. My shetches were not as successful as I would like but your post encouraged me to keep on keeping on! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I really like the girls with the violins, as well as the cats. Also, good use of scribly lines.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the sketches of your kids practicing on their instruments.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. bookadept says:

    Sometimes the 30-day challenges help me…but sometimes the prompts are so generic that I get discouraged. This month I took on the Sktchy 30-faces-in-30-days thing, and that’s different enough to my usual to keep me interested and entertained. I admire the repeated-sketch thing, and need to do that myself. It would boost me out of the “perfection in this sketch” mindset, I think. Thanks, Suhita!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Marlene Lee says:

    To make sure that I sketch everyday, I carry a pocket sized sketch book and sketching supplies with me in my bag. So when I am out and about I’m ready to sketch in a waiting room, at the library or at my favorite coffee place. My larger sketch book is usually home open and ready to be painted or sketch on.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s so interesting to see the threesome views of the same subject – one of just an ink line, one of ink and color, one of just color without any line. Each imparts a different sensation. I suspect that in less capable hands, this kind of threesome would look like three errors. Yours are three portraits.


  14. Fabienne Dreelan says:

    Hi Suhita ~ yesterday I enjoyed watching on YouTube a sketching session you had with Maria from arttoolkit where you painted your cat & the negative space a neutral dark background which I absolutely loved! I also really liked the red square you painted & then added just your dark black ink over part of it – drawing your ink bottles… anyways because I really loved what you did I went searching for your blog… this afternoon I scroll through all of this year’s wonderful posts right down to this particular one – I couldn’t believe how much your gorgeous lil cat looks like our Mr Darcy!! 🙀😻😻 Right down to colour of coat & placement of white markings!! In fact when I showed my son – he at first thought it was Mr Darcy!! It was a very sad & emotional day when we had to make the difficult decision to put our fur baby to sleep right before lockdown! It’s taken me this long to slowly come to terms with his loss – he was such a friendly & spritely lil fellow!
    I have to say how much I love your ‘loose & fast’ gestural style!! ❤️💚💙🧡 I wish I had your talent… but one day I will attempt doing one of my many photos of Darcy in the style that you did with Maria that I mentioned at the outset! 👌🏼🎨😻🐈

    Liked by 1 person

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