When I run sketching workshops, I always start with a series of warm-up drawing exercises to get the creative juices flowing - they loosen you up and take the pressure off. Because even a bad (and often hilariously bad) drawing is better than an empty page!

So if you're sat with a blank page in front of you and need a little push to just get started and draw, this is for you! 

A hand holds up a printed paper fortune teller, with yellow circles on the outside.

Time Limits

Timing your sketch is a good way to force yourself to not think too hard and just get whatever it is you're drawing down on the paper asap! What's the most important feature you need to capture? How can you prioritise lines/shapes to capture the form?

After a few times you start to know how much detail to aim for, and often realise that even simple drawings can look quite effective!

I generally go for 30 sec, 1 min, 2 mins or 3 mins - these may seem quite short but just for initial warm ups you don't need long, too much time and you could start over-working your sketch.

An open sketchbook with pencils resting on it, next to three colourful marker pens. A folded paper fortune teller sits next to it, open with green and pink sections inside.

Drawing Prompt

For this resource I broke it down into four types of thing that might be in front of you - an object, a person, nature, or a building. It depends how ambitious you want to be with each sketch, but no one is expecting a full building drawing in 30 seconds! A section of it is fine - same with nature, you may want to focus on a specific leaf or branch rather than a full tree.

A paper craft folded fortune teller with yellow circles on the outside and pink and green sections inside. Instructions on how to fold it are next to it on a white sheet of paper.

Sometimes it's good to shake up what materials you use, I'm such a creature of habit and end up using the same things a lot. Choose from pencil, pen, colour pencil, paint, ink, marker pen, pastels - anything you like to use!

A table with an open sketchbook, three marker pens and two pencil lying next to it, and a paper fortune teller open with a drawing of hands. Text says 'Non-dominant hand drawing'


These are always fun, as they pretty much guarantee you won't be able to be a perfectionist with your sketch - and making bad drawings in the first step to making good drawings (even if it is a bit cliché!) Below are some drawing twists to keep you on your toes:

  • Continuous line - Put your pen/pemcil onto the paper to draw and don't lift it up again until you finish the drawing. This can be quite interesting for faces as you end up with extra lines between they eyes, nose and mouth!
  • Blind drawing - Keep your eyes fixed on the object/view you are drawing, without looking down at the paper at any point. This is quite hard at first as you're so used to looking down at where to place each line, and the end results are often quite funny!
  • Outline/silhouette - Imagine the object you're drawing had a light behind it like a shadow puppet, and you could just see the basic shape with none of the details - just draw around the edges.
  • Non-dominant hand - Use your other hand to draw with, left or right - it's interesting to see how much it changes things! Ambidextrous people: put your pen in your mouth and draw! (Just kidding!)
  • Two colours - This is best when using markers - pick two colours and only use them to capture the scene in front of you. Try overlapping them to create a third colour, as well as leaving blank areas - the colour of the paper can be used as a fourth colour!
A hand holds up a printed paper fortune teller, with yellow circles on the outside, and green and pink sections inside.

These paper craft sheets are in my online shop here - all you need is scissors to cut the page into a square then it's just a simple bit of folding to make your fortune teller! Happy sketching!