Sketchbook Skool is the Best Art Therapy

This is a different kind of blog this morning. I’ll be posting a portrait later but this morning, for those of you who have started following my blog recently, who aren’t regular readers, I want to tell you about Sketchbook Skool, the place where I am constantly learning, developing, sharing and practicing my drawing skills.


I joined the online drawing school and art community Sketchbook Skool (SBS) in October 2014. SBS was founded earlier that year but, becuase I didn’t think I was much good at drawing and I didn’t think I had the time to draw regularly, I didn’t joined in the first 2 semesters.  But, being nosy and a huge fan of one of the co-founders, Danny Gregory, I watched what they were doing and I saw the output of these students  audit was clear to me that everyone was having huge fun and producing amazing work.


So I started saving my pennies and I took my first kourse (don’t ask why, no one knows, but SBS generally use k’s instead of c’s) in the third semester. one of the BEST decisions I ever made. I’ve taken a kourse every semester since, sometimes two; I save every spare penny because I’d rather spend them on SBS courses than go on nights out on the town or buy clothes or anything else (expect art supplies, of course, that goes without saying).


It’s not just the kourses that are fabulous, it’s also the kommunity of students that exists both in the Sketchbook Skoolhouse, on Instagram, on Facebook, and also increasingly now on Sktchy (where students migrated to in some numbers after it was introduced to us by fakulty member Vin Ganapathy in the recent Polishing kourse).  And that community is there to support and encourage not only during term time but also during vacations.


Most importantly, as I soon learned, it doesn’t matter how good your drawing your skills are. Sketchbook Skool is an art skool and kommunity for absolutely everyone. Students include practising artists and illustrators, but they also include absolute beginners and people of all ages and all skill levels and all interests. All that matters is that you want to sketch. If you want to draw you’re welcome and you will be absolutely encouraged and supported. The only danger, and it is a real danger I warn you, is that drawing will become an addiction. I have gone from someone who struggled to do an occasional drawing in a sketchbook when on holiday, to someone who finds it hard to put my sketchbooks (note the plural there, I have 7 or 8 on the go at any one time) down and get on with the jobs I need to do around the house and to earn a living…



And all the sketches on this page are from SBS courses I have taken, starting in 2014 at the top of the blogpost, finishing in 2016 at the bottom. There’s a new Sketchbook Skool semester starting this Friday, 10 June. If you’re interested in taking a kourse, head on over to their website here and have a look at what’s on offer this term –  you could start at the beginning with “Beginnings”, or try “Expressing”(the duck above was made on that kourse), cook up a storm with Koosje Koene on her kourse “Draw It Like It’s Hot”, or, if you have children you could have some family fun with them on “Playing”. Whatever you do I promise it’ll be fun.

Express it in lettering

The new year saw a new Sketchbook Skool (SBS) course, Expressing commence and I don’t think I’ve ever been busier planning, sketching, painting, posting and commenting in the SBS skoolyard. Expressing began with a klass by Koosje Koene on hand lettering.  Koosje introduced students to a whole range of hand lettering techniques and encouraged us to explore both serif and san serif alphabets as a homework exercise.

I had fun working in my sketchbook on these.  I found the dog alphabet on Pinterest but haven’t been able to identify the source – if anyone knows who created it please let me know so I can give credit where it’s due! It’s a wonderful alphabet and has received lots of love.

I was soon having so much fun that I started to play around not only with alphabets but also with illuminated lettering. This A was drawn on my iPad and is heavily influenced by a beautiful card I have featuring an illustration by artist Lesley Buckingham (the card can be bought at

And I loved drawing this illuminated S from an 19th century book.
Our final exercise was to letter some words – a phrase, lyric or short sentence. I chose a phrase that I’d seen on Tumblr recently and produced in my sketchbook with ink and watercolour. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy a week of lettering but by the time I was working on this exercise I knew I could happily spend the rest of my life doing nothing else! It seems to require just the perfect combination of planning and inspiration.

I was having so much fun I did two more lettering pages!

And then I did another one on my iPad…


Question now is, can I stop lettering and get on with my other assignments?