Six Ways to use a Mini Sketchbook or Journal
Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought an item of stationery (or indeed, any item) because it was cute, then realised you have absolutely no idea what to do with it? That’s definitely how I feel about this Royal Talens square mini sketchbook! If you’re in the same boat, fear not! By the end of this blog post, you’ll be brimming with ideas on how to fill this pocketsize beauty…
First up, the stats. It’s tiny but it packs a punch! It measures 12cm x 12cm, has a textured hardcover, elastic closure loop, ribbon page marker and 160 off-white 140gsm pages. It’s the perfect size for popping in your pocket or bag, or keeping on your bedside table or coffee table.
Let’s get cracking…
This might be the most obvious suggestion as the clue is in the name! A mini sketchbook is a great option if you’re new to drawing or trying to form a daily habit, as a tiny page is a lot less daunting in my humble opinion. Why not use a mini sketchbook to start a 100 Days of X challenge? You can share your progress on Instagram and connect with other creators, or keep it safely tucked away for your eyes only.
Botanical line drawings are my favourite, and I drew this dahlia with the help of Alli Koch’s “How to Draw Modern Florals” book. Flowers work really well for me as a daily drawing practice as they’re not too time consuming but I still get the satisfaction of having finished an illustration, rather than chipping away at a larger project over a few days. I need that instant gratification! The 01 and 02 Sakura Pigma Micron pens are my go-to tool for florals so I can add lots of detail.
If you’d love to sketch every day but are pushed for time, you could try a quick contour drawing, with or without your eyes closed. Just keep your pen/pencil on the paper for as long as it takes you to draw your chosen object. I like to close my eyes while I do them as it stops me over-thinking, and I’m often surprised by how much my sketches resemble the object I had in mind! Can you guess what the above contour line drawing is? Answer at the end of this blog post! This is also a great “warm up” exercise before a longer drawing session.
If you want to keep track of all the pens, washi and stamps in your collection but don’t want to re-swatch them every time you start a new journal, why not make a separate swatch book? It’s much quicker than rifling through your stash every time you’re looking for a particular colour or design!
These pages are a great size for swatching a collection of Archer & Olive Acrylograph pens, and the 140gsm paper means they won’t bleed or ghost.
How delighted do you think I was when I realised how perfectly you can fit seven rows of washi tape on each page? This discovery also sparked another idea…
Ta da! Mini sketchbook + days of the week washi tape = a match made in heaven!
Pre-empt the inevitable “what’s for dinner question” and make grocery shopping a breeze by planning your meals in advance. Why not use the rest of the sketchbook to jot down your shopping lists or favourite recipes? You could use this at-a-glance weekly layout for loads of things although naturally, my first thought was food!
I would absolutely love to be one of those people who powers through a couple of books a week and studiously writes wonderful reviews in a book review journal, but that’s just not me. I’m lucky if I read one book a month and I very rarely have any deep insights about them, but I do like to keep track of what I’ve read. I’m also very forgetful so I thought it would be handy to jot down a couple of notes in case I want to recommend a book to anyone else.
As I mentioned in the sketchbook section, a huge blank page can feel a bit daunting if I’m not really sure what to draw or write, but these mini pages feel very manageable. I printed out the book covers of all the books I’ve read this year as well as those in my TBR (to be read) pile, so they’re ready to be reviewed whenever I finish a book.
Dream Journal / Bedside Journal
The mini size is perfect for keeping on your bedside table to jot down your dreams, any nagging worries you can’t stop thinking about before bed and those bananas ideas you have in the middle of the night which are very occasionally useful! I won’t subject you to seeing any of the above from me, so here’s a nice “in situ” photo:
Kaweco Iridescent Pearl Fountain Pen - a perfect bedfellow for the mint green sketchbook!
You’ve probably seen it on Instagram and YouTube, but Nikki has been keeping the CUTEST travel journal in her mini sketchbook. It’s the perfect size to journal on the go but still has plenty of room for notes, sketches, photos and mementos! I’ll definitely be copying this idea next time I go on an adventure.
Hopefully that’s given you a little inspiration but of course, the possibilities really are endless! There’s lots more ideas for filling empty notebooks in this blog post.
We’d love to see what you’ve used your mini sketchbooks for, especially if you’ve been inspired by any of the ideas in this blog post. Please tag @nikkissupplystore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content.
Oh, and my contour line drawing was an old-fashioned sewing machine! Did you guess correctly?