Three Easy Sketchbook Filler Doodles using Markers
If you are anything like me, you may have all the intentions of using a sketchbook, but end up often forgetting to do so. It’s ok! You don’t become more of an artist because you have twenty filled sketchbooks to your name. We all have different processes and ways of figuring stuff out. Some of us are more “scraps of paper” kinda folks.
But sketchbooks do have their uses, and the only way I started to see their value was when I took the pressure OFF!
Here’s what I know:
Sketchbooks do not have to be stunningly aesthetic. They do not have to elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” from anyone. They are private playgrounds, where we get to try stuff out and see what happens.
Sketchbooks are places where our art is free to be underwhelming.
We don’t need to always get everything “right” in our sketchbooks - in fact, it’s better if we don’t. We learn from the trip-ups, the smudges and the weird angles. We can fill the blank spaces with mindful doodles, questioning scribbles or full-blown colour clashes… the subject almost doesn’t really matter. It’s the act of creating, of letting out some movement - THAT is the spark inside a sketchbook.
So, if you want to fill up some pages in your sketchbook, just to get the juices flowing, but are a bit stuck for what to do, here are a few easy ideas you can try. For these examples, I’m using a handful of marker pens, but feel free to try them with other mediums too!
*For reference, I am using Ohuhu markers here - check them out here (note - this is an affiliate link, which costs you nothing to click on, but which helps me in providing this free content via commissions for any qualifying purchases made. Thanks for your support!)
Pssst - In these examples I am using the same combination of colours each time, but feel free to use the rainbow!
Sometimes sketchbook pages can seem so very white and blank that they can overwhelm us with their nothingness - and we then find it hard to make the first mark. This prompt is handy for that, because it is all about taking one step at a time…
You don’t need to be good at drawing flowers here. You just need to be able to draw a few wiggly lines…repeatedly.
✍️ Grab a light-coloured marker pen (eg. I’m using a light grey). Yup, we’re going straight in with a permanent medium - we laugh in the face of “mistakes”, wha-ha-haaa!
🌸 Using a few bendy lines, draw in the outline of a “flower”. (This is not a particular type of flower, it’s just flower-like, so don’t stress!). Then, inside that shape, use more bendy lines to create “petals” - until you reach the centre where you draw a wiggly kind of spiral.
🔁 Now do this again somewhere else on the page. And again. And again. You can vary the size of each flower, perhaps putting some right next to each other in clusters, while leaving space between others. You can either stop when you’ve done a few, or carry on and fill the page more.
✨ When you have a good scattering of flowers, switch to a different medium-coloured marker pen (eg. I’m using a dusky pink colour). Use this marker to draw on top of the first, lighter flowers you drew - adding bendy lines just as before, but this time roughly in between the first lines.
You've created a loose flowery cluster form! Now you can try the process again, adding in some different coloured clusters, to give your page a bit of variation
Grab any of your lighter or brighter pens and fill any gaps on the page with whatever patterns you like - dots and dashes, leaves…just let your fingers decide!
This marker doodle idea encourages you to let go of trying to draw "perfect" flowers, and instead find joy in exploring a floral feeling 🌸✨
Here is an example of a floral cluster page which leaves a bit more space on the page, and one that fills up all the gaps!
These remind me a bit of ammonites or tie-dye spirals when I draw them! I like them because they are simple but weirdly satisfying.
All you need is four colours…
I’m using a light grey, a light yellow, a darker yellow and a dusky pink - and I use them in that order. Whichever colours you choose, aim to be using the lighter ones first and end with the darkest ones.
⚪️ Using your lightest colour - somewhere in the middle of your page, start your spiral. Draw small stick lines (radiating outwards) in a circle-ish shape, but as the circle starts to close, move around the outside of the lines you’ve already drawn. As you go, make each stick a bit longer than the last. This doesn’t need to be exact. Just rough stick lines will do! And then start to make the lines smaller again until you get so small you stop.
🟡 Using your second lightest colour - draw a line of this colour in between all your first lines - essentially repeating the spiral, but in all the gaps.
🟠 Using your first darker colour - draw short lines on top, which start from the inside of each line directing outwards, all the way around the spiral.
🔴 Using your darkest colour - draw short lines on top, which start from the outside of each line directing inwards, all the way around the spiral.
And that’s it! You can do one lovely spiral, or fill a page with them.
Experiment with colours, switching out the final colour to create variations and see which ones you like best!
These are like a bunch of loose, not too strict, continuous line drawings. They can all be as wobbly as you like - this is about freeing up your hand, letting go of tight structure and seeing where your pen goes.
✍️ Grab a light coloured pen and draw a jagged line across the page, a bit like a branch. Then, with your pen starting from a point on the “branch”, very loosely let your pen draw a vague leafy shape (like a wibbly diamond or oval shape). When it touches back to the start point, let it continue going, into the shape again as a slightly smaller version, and again as a
smaller one still, until the shape is filled with lines.
🍃 Then do this over and over again, filling the page with leafy forms. Once you have a good few done in this first colour, grab a different colour and add more.
🍂 Now take a darker colour and draw over the top of the first light coloured ones you did - but this time, put heavier pressure on one side of the shape, and lighten up on the other side (so varying pressure from heavy to light, heavy to light, as your hand moves around the lines).
🌳 Lastly, take a dark coloured pen and using the thickest nib of the pen, draw over the “branch” lines, but in a rough way - because there’s no need for worry here!
And that’s it. You can do as many as you like, and let your mind wander as your hand wanders the page. (You also don't have to use leaves as your inspo here - how about visualising geodes or rock forms?)
I hope you enjoy trying these out! If you do, please feel free to share and tag me on Instagram @gemmathepen so I can see what you create!
Keep making happy,