Tips for Drawing: Nothing is Wasted

Continuing with tips for drawing, here’s another thing that I struggled with, and maybe you do too. I hated “wasting” materials. Looking back, it sounds crazy. I would literally feel anxious about “wasting” a page of my sketchbook with a bad drawing. My precious, precious sketchbook! Some teachers said to just draw over top of other drawings if I didn’t have room. I shuddered at the thought. “COVER the drawing I just did?! RUIN the drawing I’m trying to do now?!”

They were at a different place than I was. I didn’t want to sacrifice all my hard work for “the process” and that was a big barrier for me. I wanted every drawing to be a masterpiece, and every page to hold only the best work I’d ever done.

The truth, honest to goodness, is that you are not wasting anything. You are improving, and with that comes some sort of cost. If you’re hungry, you might go buy a sandwich. You have to hand over money in order to not be hungry anymore. Is that money “wasted?” Good heavens no! It is for a PURPOSE that you give up that money. Transfer this to drawing: To improve, you need to “spend” time, paper, and graphite. What you get is not temporary lack of hunger, but real, tangible skills that you have FOREVER! Think of how awesome it would be if every time you ate a sandwich you were less hungry for the rest of your life. That is how drawing is. As you improve, you improve for good. Not just until dinner time, but forever going forward.

If you don’t want to draw over a previous drawing, then don’t. That’s an option, and a good one. Be aware, though, that you will have to change your perspective on using paper like I did. Instead of feeling the pages of your sketchbook are being wasted, realize that each page is bringing you closer to your (perhaps new found) goals of getting better. That’s not a waste any more than buying a sandwich is! It’s okay to fill up a whole sketchbook with not-so-great drawings. In fact, you SHOULD fill up sketchbooks. That’s how to get better after all.

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It’s been a long time since I felt that feeling but I know exactly what you’re talking about. When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money so if I got a notebook or sketchbook every page was extremely precious to me and I’d fill every inch front and back. Even draw on the covers. I wish I had kept those books it would be fun to see them now.

Also to add to your suggestions, go out and get some newsprint paper. That’s something available these days that I wish I had, because it’s cheap and you can get very large sheets which are always better for big loose drawings. It is the perfect paper for practice.


Located your blog through AOL. You know I am signing up to your rss this very second.


I like to draw on regular white printing paper because it’s dirt cheap and you can throw it away if you mess up. Sometimes you can get it for free by trading in old ink carts from a printer.


Nice piece of info that you’ve got here. Nice way to look at things instead of thinking your piss poor at it.

Jerome Castler

I’m going to go get a ream of paper and just draw on every page now! 😀


i hate wasting paper so i do all my stuff on the computer.


Fabulous posting bro. This important is just a tremendously nicely structured post, just the critical info I was looking for. I treat my sketchbooks like friggin’ GOLD which isn’t good for me.