sketchbook inspiration; calarts animation sketchbooks

I personally really love looking at other peoples their sketchbooks as mentioned before. Recently I found some other amazing sketchbooks online. For the character animation program at CalArts (California), people are required to submit sketchbooks as their application. The level of these drawings and sketches are amazing. And if you search these on youtube the results are endless and many of the not-accepted ones are just as good!

To give you an idea of what they contain here are the requirements;

In these sketchbooks, the following is required or asked;

Application Portfolio Requirements:

Part I: Observational Drawings (minimum 15 drawings)

Part II: Sketchbook / Visual Diary (filled or completed sketchbook):


  • Sketches from your everyday life.
  • Drawings that illustrate film ideas and story concepts.
  • Thumbnails of scenes that you plan to animate one day.
  • Random jottings that interest you.
  • Character designs.
  • Studies of images from films or other sources you like.

Part III: Other Work


Many of the people who send their sketchbook in, film them in case they are lost or to share with their followers. So check out some of my favourites;

Accepted CalArts Sketchbook 2015

CalArts Sketchbook 2015 (Rejected)

My 2014 CalArts Sketchbook – Rejected

Do check them out and let me know if you find any favourites!

What makes these sketchbooks so good? 

  • They showcase a high variety of work.
  • They show people practising loads of different subjects
  • The pages are well thought out
  • The whole sketchbook is filled

Obviously, these people are amazing artists. Their sketchbooks are full of work that I love and admire. They also showcase a lot of different ways to create and to add interest to a drawing.

If you want to know why you should be looking at peoples sketchbooks you can read my post on the 7 sketchbooks for inspiration. 

Why You shouldn’t look at these

Okay, I know I just told you to check those out but there are some side notes to be made.

Don’t compare your work to others

It doesn’t make any difference as long as you are trying to improve. Others might be at an entirely different point in their lives. And if you feel like your work is not as good at these people, just keep in mind that they might feel the same. Also, that there are people who look up to you and admire your work. In the end, it is about the joy of creating and growing and you shouldn’t be discouraged by other but encouraged by the great inspiration that they offer.

Don’t think of these as sketchbooks

And certainly, don’t think yours should look anything like that. These people are trying to get into a school. The program rejects loads of people. In the end, the sketchbooks look like sketchbooks but they require a lot of time and work. For these go; It might be quality over quantity.

In  conclusion; regular every day sketchbooks are meant to help you improve and practise. Not to be judged. So use these sketchbooks as inspiration but not aspiration.

Again; I would love to hear your thoughts and don’t forget to share your own sketchbooks or favourites in the comments! 


Trackbacks & Pings

  • The big draw artist event! (1-30 October) | Sofie Arts :

    […] so many people enjoying creativity! If you need some more inspiration; I have a blog posts about sketchbooks that inspire me and if you need some organising I also have a blogpost about organising your inspiration. Check […]

    8 years ago

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