Realistic Ariana Grande portrait drawing
Artwork created by @_manuelgamboa_

120+ Cool Drawing Ideas For Your Sketchbook

InspirationDrawing Written by McKella Sawyer Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

Drawing in your sketchbook is fun, relaxing, and did I mention fun?

It’s always crucial to study the fundamentals and practice your drawing skills like proportions, perspective, value, and composition.

Sometimes though, you just wanna draw. And it’s easy to get into a sketchbook rut where you want to draw but you’re fresh out of ideas(it’s the worst!)

So here are over 120 ideas for those days when you’re looking around like “What the heck do I draw?”

1. Shoes

Dig some shoes out of your closet and set up a little still life, or draw the ones on your feet (or someone else’s feet!)


2. Cats & dogs

If you have a furry helper at home, draw them!

If you don’t then just do a quick image search on Google or Pinterest to find a fuzzy friend to draw.

Cat drawings illustrations
Artwork created by @milkkoyo

3. Your smartphone

Come on, you always have this on you. Pull it out, lay it down, and start drawing.


4. Cup of coffee

Drawing is a great activity to couple with your morning coffee.

Whether it’s black coffee in an old mug or a fancy latte, this is one you should definitely try.


5. Houseplants

Do you have any houseplants around?

Draw their portrait and make ‘em look pretty.

If not, hop on Google to find a picture of a plant you’d love to have in your house.


6. A fun pattern

Start drawing swirls, dots, stripes, zigzags, or whatever you want to create a fun pattern.

Google “zentangling” to get inspiration. (Bonus: This is super relaxing and meditative.)


7. A globe

A globe on a stand is great practice for practicing proportions and symmetry.

You might even improve your geography skills at the same time!

Illustration of globe
Artwork created by @smashedfox

8. Pencils

Pretty much all artists have a collection of these laying around so make them pull double duty!

Dump out your pencils and start sketching.


9. Clothes

Draw that pile of clothes on your floor (pretty sure you have one).

Or draw clothes on hangers, that’s fun.

For an added challenge try drawing clothes on a person or mannequin, but ONLY the clothes.


10. Bananas & apples

Set up a little still life with some fruit from your kitchen. Then enjoy a healthy snack when you’re done.

Illustration of apples and fruits
Artwork created by @sketchingsabrinasinging

11. Kitchen utensils

While you’re in the kitchen: grab some silverware or cooking utensils, dump them on the table, and draw them where they fall.


12. Couch

You probably sit on your couch all the time. But have you ever really looked at it?

Get some practice at drawing soft material and gain a new appreciation for your favorite piece of furniture.


13. Headphones

Sketching knots and wires can be tons of fun!

Draw your headphones arranged neatly or in a tangled mess. Although come on, they’re a mess and you know it.

Drawing of headphones
Artwork created by @salome_ink_and_art

14. Your feet

With or without shoes, feet are an important part of figure drawing.

Put your sketchbook in your lap, look down, and start drawing. Try with bare feet, socks, whatever.


15. Your hands

Now these are always available!

Pose one hand and draw it with the other, or try drawing your dominant hand with your non-dominant one. Or just look up some references and practice drawing hands that way.

Come to think of it, yeah that 2nd option’s gonna be way easier.


16. Books

Books are surprisingly versatile subjects for artists.

Draw them stacked, open, sprawled on the floor, resting on a shelf, in a box or with a fox.


17. Trees and bushes

If you need a break outside find a shady spot and draw any trees or foliage you see.

You can also do this from a window or just draw from a photograph if the weather isn’t ideal.


18. Pillows

If you want practice time but just don’t want to get out of bed, well here’s your solution.

Practice drawing cloth, folds, and soft material without having to leave your comforter’s warmth.


19. Superheroes

Flip open a comic book and copy your favorite illustrations.

Draw a photorealistic rendering of your favorite Marvel characters, or invent your own superhero in your own style.


20. School desks

Waiting for a class to begin? Bored with the class you’re in?

Pass the time by drawing some desks. Just don’t get caught!


21. Balloons

Balloons are great practice in shapes, lighting, and shading smooth textures.

Find a photograph or use this as an excuse to buy yourself some balloons.


22. Lightbulb

Draw a real one on its own or in a light fixture, or draw a cartoony light bulb to spark your inspiration.

Drawing of a lightbulb
Artwork created by @tetra005

23. TV

Don’t just watch TV; draw it!

Sketch your fancy flat screen or go for an old-fashioned set with rabbit ears.


24. Cartoon characters

Draw your favorite cartoon or comic book characters, or make up some of your own.

This one should be yabba dabba delightful.


25. Yarn ball

Yarn is a crazy texture. You’ll get a lot of practice here with lines and form.

Pro-tip: Don’t combine this with the “draw a cat” prompt. For obvious reasons.


26. Charger

If you’re craving more after drawing your smartphone, draw the charger!

If you feel really wild draw them both together.


27. Mouse & keyboard

Here’s a fun exercise in linework, shading, and perspective.

Challenge yourself to draw your mouse and keyboard, not just any random mouse and keyboard. Notice what makes it unique.


28. Glasses

Pose your sunglasses or regular glasses and start drawing.

You can have a lot of fun drawing clear or tinted plastic. Or some Where’s Waldo spectacles.

Drawing of glasses
Artwork created by @azeemkhawaja1969

29. Your bed

Try this for a crash course in drawing fabric folds.

But really this is more challenging than it sounds, especially if you don’t make your bed!


30. Staircase

Here’s an amazing exercise in line and perspective work.

Draw stairs from different angles to play with different perspectives. Also try to get the depth just right: it’s tricky but extremely valuable for all artists.


31. The trash

You’d be surprised how many interesting shapes you can find in the garbage.

Draw a dumpster or your kitchen garbage can, or even trash on the street. Then take a nice big inhale to get those “juices” flowing… or just throw it away. Litter ain’t cool.


32. Jewelry

Go through your jewelry box or draw a piece of jewelry on someone else.

See if you can capture the texture and sparkle.


33. Your idea of Heaven (or Hell)

Get creative here!

Make this a whole scene or a series of smaller doodles that encapsulate your idea of heaven or hell.

Or for you married folks maybe it’s better to imagine dinner at the in-laws house. Every night, forever.


34. A silly face

Let loosey and get goosey. Go for realistic portraits, cartoon expressions, or something in between.

It’s all fair game when the end goal is to be a goofball.

Drawing of a silly girl face
Artwork created by @my.graphite.stylus

35. Paper towels

They seem mundane and utilitarian, but even the most humble objects make great drawing practice.

You’d be surprised how interesting paper towels can be when you try to draw them. Sounds like sarcasm but worth a try right?


36. Notebook

Open, closed, spiral bound, try all the possibilities.

Play with different angles to practice perspective and maybe try drawing one of your other sketchbooks.


37. Bar of soap

Really get into the texture here.

Maybe add some soap bubbles and puddles for fun.

Drawing a bar of soap
Artwork created by @artistic_caroline

38. Shampoo

After you draw soap, get out a shampoo bottle and throw that into the mix.

Or squirt some on the counter just for the fun of drawing a shiny blob of stuff. I don’t know, it’s your sketchbook.


39. A skull

Skulls are super spooky and super fun to draw.

Also they’re genuinely good practice for portrait work and for studying anatomy in general.

If you have one hanging around, arrange it in a still life or draw it on its own. Or just find a photo of a weird animal skull to draw.


40. Skyscrapers

Draw these on blank or grid paper, or draw them wiggly on purpose!

Put your own spin on this and play with line and perspective work.


41. Game controllers

This is extra fun if you have a collection of different video game consoles.

Practice drawing proportions and how light reflects off different plastic materials. Tons of variety here with the shape of joysticks and buttons.

PlayStation 4 controller drawing
Artwork created by @usha_artwork

42. Gnomes

Because why not?

If you happen to have a gnome laying around, perfect! If not, Google image search has you covered.

Also I’ve heard you might check somewhere over your garden wall.

Colored pencil drawing of gnome
Artwork created by @latte_paint

43. Candy & junk food

If the fruit prompt didn’t do it for you, try this sweet alternative.

Draw the actual food or the package it comes in. Or both. Either way, you learn something!


44. Water bottle

Sketch your bottle, and don’t forget the shadows.

This is a great prompt for lighting practice and working around shapes.

And then, you know, drink some water. All this drawing can make you thirsty.


45. Birds

Draw birds you see in your neighborhood and flying around the local park.

Or do an image search for the most exotic bird you can find. This is one of the best prompts to go from easy to hard with so much to pick from.

Pencil drawings of birds
Artwork created by @janecabreraillustration

46. Christmas stuff

Draw lights, Christmas trees, presents, stockings, candy canes, fruit cake, your shih-tzu in his little Christmas sweater…anything goes!


47. Halloween stuff

Another holiday with even more weird stuff.

Skulls, bones, black cats, pumpkins, spiderwebs…the list goes on and on.

Draw your decor, your Halloween candy, anything you can find that’s Halloween-y.

Cool halloween drawing
Artwork created by @shauni_phns

48. Bathroom faucet

Utilitarian things like this are great for drawing practice.

Especially because you don’t look at them often so you have to pay attention to draw them correctly.


49. Bicycle

Bicycle, tricycle, unicycle, tandem, find any kind of bike you want and put pencil to paper.


50. Skateboard

Doodle around your own skateboard or a picture of one.

Really pay attention to knicks, scratches, and bumps that make that particular skateboard unique. Also I bet it’s got some sick deck art.


51. Monsters

Draw a portrait of your favorite movie monster or invent your own.

Cartoony or scary, the style is totally up to you. Might I recommend starting with Mike Wazowski and working from there?


52. A Chair

For an extra challenge, include shadows with as much realism as possible.

Draw a bare-bones kitchen chair or a plush armchair.

Drawing of a chair - realist style
Artwork created by

53. Isometric art

If you need a break from drawing true perspective, give this a try. It’s a fun challenge and not something that most artists bother to practice.


54. Quick poses

Practice your figure skills by limiting yourself to ten, thirty, or sixty second gesture drawings.

This process is covered in detail in Proko’s figure course along with all of his free figure drawing videos.

And if you don’t have a bunch of references saved locally you can always use one of these websites to auto-generate poses. This way you just focus on the drawings and really nailing those gestures.


55. Dice

Drawing plain cubes is great practice for shapes. But it gets kinda boring.

Here’s a fun spin on the classic “draw a cube” exercise.

Drawing of small dice
Artwork created by @davidknape

56. Monopoly pieces

While you’re digging dice out of your board games, try drawing Monopoly pieces too.

There’s a wide variety of subjects here so draw them together or one at a time.

Just don’t be too upset when you realize your old Monopoly game has all the classic pieces you miss.


57. Deck of cards

Before you leave the game cupboard, find a deck of cards.

Draw individual cards, the neatly stacked deck, or play a little 52 pickup and sketch the results.


58. Coins

After you draw some easy subjects take a break on the couch.

While you’re there go through the cushions to find some coins.

Try drawing super detailed pictures of individual coins, or dump them and draw them together.


59. Hair styles

This is another great one if you’re bored on your train commute, in a waiting room, or during a class.

Or if you wanna practice some weird hairdo from the 1930s you saw online.

Drawing of braided hair
Artwork created by @sininenmieli_art

60. The sun & moon

Whether you’re into realism or more stylized drawings, this is a fun idea for all skill levels.

Try drawing different phases of the moon for an even better challenge.


61. A bridge

You can draw anything from the Golden Gate Bridge to a simple footbridge in the woods.

Or even better: imagine your own.

Drawing of a bridge colored
Artwork created by @thousandkindsofart

62. Fish

Pull up a chair in front of your fish tank or Google pictures of the craziest fish on planet earth.

If you haven’t seen a blobfish before you might wanna look into that.


63. Airplanes

Mechanical things like airplanes are awesome for learning proportions and getting control of your lines.

Try drawing a single seater as well as huge commercial airplanes, or anything else inbetween.

Drawing of Serbia Air airplane in sketchbook
Artwork created by @alicethe22nd

64. Horses

Horses have fascinated artists for millenia.

They’re also insanely hard to draw and require a ton of practice.

Find a field of horses to draw from, or find pictures of different breeds. Catch them running, grazing, jumping, rearing up. The possibilities are endless.

Quick sketches of horses
Artwork created by

65. Company logos

This is especially great if you’re into graphic design so you can see how sketching logos works.

Try copying your favorite logos or invent some of your own.


66. Silly hats

Hit up Google for this one, unless you’re a crazy hat connoisseur.

Granted if that’s you, hats off to you! (Sorry that was so bad)


67. Famous statues

The Statue of Liberty, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Little Mermaid…

Google famous statues or statues that exist today. Maybe some others from history. Lots of marble to turn into graphite.


68. Wallet

When was the last time you really examined your wallet as an object?

Now’s your chance. Try drawing it open and closed, with money or (as we all know) without money.


69. Gym equipment

Draw weight machines, dumbbells, jump ropes, even the pool.

You can find so many interesting shapes and subjects in a gym and the machines are really complex which is great for practicing concept art ideas.


70. Table fan

If you’re sweating on a hot day, distract yourself by drawing your table fan.

Just make sure to sit where it won’t blow your pages around.


71. Old photos

Google or dig out some old photos and copy them realistically or in your own style.

This one prompt can keep you busy for quite a while and leave you smiling as you dig through old memories.


72. Toys

If you still have any childhood toys or if you have kids, well, draw some toys!

It’s also a good excuse to hit up a toy store at 2 in the afternoon.


73. Celebrity faces

Portrait practice is so important!

And what’s more fun to draw than celebrity portraits?

Try drawing your favorite celebrities in famous roles or at red carpet events.

Fullsize Ariana Grande hyperrealism drawing
Artwork created by @_manuelgamboa_

74. Guitars

If you have a guitar, draw its outline and practice the details.

Pay special attention to frets or little details that make it special.

Water filling guitar - sketchbook drawing
Artwork created by @art.is_the.weapon_

75. A nice car

Draw your dream car and draw yourself driving it.

Or draw a clunker and slap a ticket under the wipers. That’ll show whoever owns that fictitious pile of junk!


76. The human torso

Practice drawing the torso and spend a lot of time here. Anatomy is huge and torsos have so much musculature to practice.

Try male and female, different body types, with and without clothing.


77. Soda cans

Pay attention to logos here and other things like bar codes or nutrition information labels.

Crunch a few cans if you want a more variety.


78. Scissors

For a deceptively simple prompt, draw scissors from different angles. Open and closed.


79. Staplers

While you’re rifling around for the scissors grab a stapler too.

If you want to get really crazy, open it and scatter a few staples around for an office-themed still life. Just don’t touch Milton’s Swingline.

Drawing of a stapler
Artwork created by @leee_ayla

80. Emojis

Copy some of your favorite emojis or design a few you wish existed.

This can be really fun because you can get pretty crazy with the artistic style.


81. Farm animals

So many to pick from here so I guess just draw your favorite!

Cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, rabbits, goats, get out there and smell that farm air.


82. Nature

This can be anything from vast landscapes like mountains or beaches, to the tiniest leaf or mushroom.

Try a bit of both.


83. Door knobs

Draw every door knob in your home and challenge yourself to make each distinct.

It’s harder than you think!


84. Ice cream

Draw it on the cone, in a cup, or still in the carton.

But draw quick before it melts!


85. Nutella

Basically ice cream but better.

Draw the entire jar or scoop out a spoonful and draw that before you gobble it up.

Drawing of a Nutella jar
Artwork created by @sasha.hortolomei

86. Oceans

Anything ocean-themed is fair game here.

Beaches, coral reefs, starfish, tube worms, anything you can think of. Maybe even some nude beaches if you’re into that kinda thing.


87. Any book cover

Draw your favorite book covers and maybe add a few creative touches.

So many beautiful book covers out there to pick from, with new ones published every week. Go exploring!


88. Houses

Draw your house, a friend’s house, or your dream house.

Or browse Pinterest “dream house” boards because you know there’s thousands of these right?


89. World capitals

Draw some of your favorite cities or world capitals you’d like to visit someday.

Images online might be the place to start but if you can book some plane tickets, even better.


90. A swingset

Visit the local park or your own backyard to draw a swingset.

Try capturing it from multiple angles to really expand your practice regimen.


91. A yeti

Whether you want to go cute or scary, try drawing one of these mythical creatures and see how it turns out.


92. Your computer

You spend a lot of time on your computer, so give it some attention and immortalize it in your art.


93. Flowers

Head outside to draw from life, or find photographs of your favorites if things aren’t blooming yet.

Or use this as an excuse to buy yourself a bouquet. Treat yo’self!

Drawing of a colorful flower
Artwork created by @sunnyflou

94. A clock

This could be anything from your microwave clock to a wristwatch to a grandfather clock to Big Ben.

Or maybe some kind of device that combines all three…


95. Thanksgiving

Draw a Thanksgiving feast, portraits of your relatives, Thanksgiving decor, or anything that reminds you of family time.


96. A king & queen

Draw a king and queen from history, from a favorite book or movie, or create your own.

The Queen of Hearts is also acceptable.


97. Motorcycles

Whether you’re into classic or newer bikes, this is a great idea to practice with texture, form, and shading.

There’s also some pretty gnarly designs out there.

Drawing of cool motorcycle
Artwork created by @paweljanuszwisniewski

98. Pool table

If you want to step up your basic shapes try drawing a pool table.

It’s all rectangles and spheres with a lot of nuances between them.


99. An old boat

You can make this as simple or elaborate as you want.

Old rowboat or crazy complex pirate ship, it’s up to you matey.


100. Magic

This one’s open to interpretation and that’s what makes it so fun.

Draw a rabbit in a hat, an abstract sketch of what a spell might look like, or something Harry Potter themed. Just be sure to make it… magical.


101. Dodos

They might be extinct, but they’re still great for drawing.

Draw a group, or draw a single magnificent dodo all by its lonesome.


102. Ghosts

Have fun drawing cute, cartoony ghosts, or go all in with the horror and gore.

For an extra challenge play with drawing transparent ghosts. This probably requires a bit of color but it’s fun to see how far you can take little challenges like this.

Drawing of cute ghosts
Artwork created by @breanna.artt

103. Your window

Wherever you’re sitting, draw the closest window to you. Include curtains, blinds, and maybe even your view.

Or maybe a window to another dimension… *twilight theme starts playing*


104. Zebras

Drawing stripes is fun! Also pretty easy to color if you only have a standard graphite pencil.

If you loved the horse prompt then step it up a notch with this zany creature.


105. Jazz

Draw jazz instruments, a jazz band, or even an abstract drawing inspired by jazz music.

Your sketchbook, your rules.


106. Tuxedo

You can always draw a guy in a tux which is pretty sleek.

But you could also draw a tux by itself, a tuxedo cat, tuxedo cake… basically just start chasing tuxedos and see where you end up.


107. Wrapping paper

Whether it’s neatly on the row, plain, heavily patterned, or crumpled and ripped after Christmas morning, this is a fun one to draw.


108. Champagne

Practicing sketching a champagne bottle, a cork, champagne in a flute, or all three!

Make sure to get the bubbles in there too. Texture is everything.


109. The circus

Interpret this how you will but it better be festive.

Draw a tent, acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns, show horses, or peanuts!

You could even do a whole sketchbook series on this.


110. Movie theater

When you think movie theater, what images come to mind?

Popcorn, a ticket stub, or even a poster for the last movie you saw. Or the usher walking up the isles with a flashlight on a hunt for those teenagers making out in the corner.


111. Cigars

Draw a brand new cigar, one that’s smoldering and ashy, or a person smoking one.

And have fun with the smoke! That’s one texture you can really push with some practice.

Drawing of a smoking cigar
Artwork created by @blorichca

112. Pizza box

When your delivery shows up, save the box for drawing practice.

Some may call you crazy but I saw it’s worth it. Or maybe design your own box from scratch.


113. A chocolate factory

Try something that would make Charlie proud.

A building, a variety of chocolate, or something in the variety of Roald Dahl.


114. Anything upside-down

This is a classic art exercise because it forces you to look and not just draw what you think something looks like.

So turn any object or photo upside down and start drawing. Pay careful attention to every detail.

If you’ve never done this before you’ll be amazed at the end result.


115. The tooth fairy

When you were a kid, how did you picture the tooth fairy?

Try drawing that and make your kid-self proud. Or find a photo for inspiration and go from there.


116. Candles

Candles come in all shapes and sizes so they’re great practice for drawing forms.

Not to mention excellent practice for lighting if you draw them lit in a dark area.

Drawing of a lit candle
Artwork created by @drawingcera

117. Camping tent

Sketch a regular ol’ tent, with or without scenery, or design the ultimate camping tent.

Or go on a camping adventure and bring that sketchbook with you.


118. Hot tub

Keep it simple and just sketch a hot tub (with the cover on, if you want to stay REALLY simple).

Or draw a full-on hot tub party scene. But if you’re drawing from inside the tub make sure you don’t drop your sketchbook. Paper and bubbling water don’t play nice.


119. April Fool’s Day

Anything that makes you think of April Fool’s Day is fair game here.

From a cheesy banana peel, a flower that squirts water, some diagram for short sheeting a bed, or a picture of someone running into a wall of cellophane.

Turn your sketchbook into a prankster’s paradise.


120. Spaceships

Draw your favorite star ships from science fiction stories and keep em coming!

Add some rockets from history or use this prompt to design your own spaceships.


121. People

People are the ultimate drawing subjects.

Draw yourself, your loved ones, celebrities, and random people you see in public. There’s no better artistic practice than working on real people in the real world.

Realist drawing of three cubes
Artwork created by @daximusprime7

122. Cubes and spheres

Of course, you can always get back to basics with forms like cubes, spheres, cones, cylinders, and pyramids.

These forms are classics for a reason.

Also if you want some totally awesome & free exercises to practice drawing shapes you should check out the Drawabox lessons.

Drawabox is absolutely perfect for beginners and even really good practice for more experienced artists who want to improve their skills drawing from imagination.

Author: McKella Sawyer

McKella is an artist and freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. When she isn't painting or writing for clients she loves to write fiction, travel, and explore the mountains near her home either on foot, horseback, or a mountain bike. You can view her art on Etsy and her writing services at