Homeschooler Pro

How Do You Organize Sketchbooks

Sketching is an essential tool for many creative people. By sketching, designers, illustrators, and artists can plan out ideas, explore and experiment with shapes and colors, and even practice techniques.

A sketchbook is a valuable asset to any creative – it can be a place to store and organize ideas, inspiration, and experiments. But just having one doesn’t necessarily mean it’s useful. The key to getting the most from your sketchbook is organizing it.

Here are our top tips for efficiently organizing a sketchbook.

1. Label the Covers & Sections

Take a little time at the start of your sketchbook to label sections, so that you can quickly and easily find the different topics and ideas you want to refer back to. You could even add short descriptions and some keywords that can help you remember what is inside and how to use it in the future. When it comes to labeling the actual cover and spine of your sketchbook, this is a great way to make it easier to find in a crowded shelf, especially if you have multiple sketchbooks with different topics.

A marker pen is perfect for this, as labels can easily wash off when needed.

2. Create an Index

If you’re planning to use the same sketchbook for a long period of time and fill it with multiple designs or ideas, an index can be a really helpful way of staying on track. The easiest way to create a useful index is to draw a mini table of contents at the start of your sketchbook.

This can include the title of each page or project, the date(s) or month it was added, and any relevant notes on its contents.

3. Use Notations & Arrows

Notations are a great way to keep track of ideas and drawings without having to draw in your book. Quickly jot down a few keywords on the corner of the page or draw arrows to the locations of relevant drawings. Notations can be especially helpful if you’re sketching on one page, then flipping to the next one to continue.

4. Draw “Bridges” Between Ideas

Designers often come up with multiple ideas at once that interlink. Drawing in “bridges” between different ideas can help you make plans more quickly and also think of potential amendments and changes on the spot.

5. Make Use of Different Media

Of course, drawing is the most obvious way of recording ideas in a sketchbook, but it doesn’t have to be the only one. You can also use media such as collage, photos, prints, and scrapbook materials to visualize and document designs.

6. Print & Add Reference Images

Reference images can be a great source of inspiration when sketching, so it can be useful to add a few to your sketchbook. All you have to do is print a few of your favorite images – of characters, fabrics, typefaces, patterns – and paste them in.

7. KEEP A Running List

Keep things flowing in the sketchbook by adding a running list at the start of your book. This allows you to quickly jot down ideas and pieces of inspiration as you come across them, so that you can refer back to them later.

8. Build “Constructive Criticism” Pages

At the end of each project or idea, you can add constructive criticism pages to analyze what worked and what didn’t, along with any ideas for improvement. This will help you evaluate your work and make changes where needed.

9. Utilize Tabs & Dividers

When you’re dealing with a lot of material or a lot of specific topics, you can use tabs or dividers to organize your sketchbook. This will make referencing easier, as everything will be clearly subdivided.

10. Make Back Up Copies

Sketchbooks often contain really valuable information that can be hard or impossible to replicate. That’s why it’s a good idea to make back up copies of your sketchbook, ideally in digital format. Taking a few photos of each page can work well, although you could even consider scanning the entire book.

11. Log Your Sketching Journey

Not only are sketchbooks a great way to document your designs and ideas, they can also be used to record and mark your progress over time. Try including some notes throughout your book that can give you insights into where you were at that point, who you worked with, which tools you used, etc. This can be really helpful for analyzing your own path and for finding ways to keep pushing yourself further.

12. Shorten Your Sketching Times

The more organized your sketchbook is, the faster your work will move. You won’t have to spend time searching for documents or references, so your sketching times can be reduced significantly.

13. Create Boundaries

Giving yourself enough boundaries when it comes to sketching can be hard but essential. When you create clear sections and add labels to them, you can easily draw boundaries about which areas are for ideas, which for experiments, and which for finished designs.


Organizing your sketchbook correctly can be the difference between a useful productive tool and just filling a book with drawings, designs and ideas. Use the tips from this guide to get the most out of your sketchbook and to make sure your work is a source of inspiration, instead of a jumble of ideas that is hard to distinguish.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top