Dear Handmade Life Shop + Online Workshops
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Sketchbook Adventures Online Workshop




If you’ve ever looked at a drawing, painting or collage and felt inspired but also thought …
I don’t have time to create OR I wouldn’t know where to start OR I don’t have the skills to do that.

Then let’s dive in so you can:

  • Build your creative confidence and artistic skills.
  • Find and explore inspiration from your life.

Sketchbook Adventures is an online workshop that you take at your own pace. It will help you discover your hidden creativity and build your artistic skills through seven chapters featuring examples, videos, stories, exercises and lessons in techniques like drawing, hand lettering, mixed media collage and more. After you grow your skills, you’ll be guided through 31 prompts with examples. You’ll fill your sketchbook with drawings, collages and paintings as you uncover your talent and build your creative confidence.

You don’t have to be an artist or know how to paint or draw to fill your sketchbook pages with interesting, personal and well-designed work. The exercises and prompts take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to complete and you’ll work at your own pace throughout the course so you don’t need a huge chunk of time to uncover your artistic genius and create works of art on paper that are not only beautiful but are also personal expressions of your unique experience.

Sketchbook Adventures teaches you how to:

  • Build your drawing, watercolor, hand lettering, collage, image transfers, stamping and mixed media skills
  • Explore and record your life and experiences
  • Understand basic artistic composition, including balance, color, shape, pattern and theme
  • Find inspiration in the everyday
  • Source and build your tools and supplies on a budget
  • Increase your creative confidence
  • Make time for creativity
  • PLUS you’ll get 31 prompts and ideas with examples to get your creative juices flowing

Chapter overview


We’ll discover the importance of keeping a sketchbook and dispel the myth that only artists are creative.

Chapter 1: Supplies

You’ll learn about the essential supplies you need and how to fill your art supply bin on a budget. We’ll also go over supplies that you likely already have that can be used to create artwork in your sketchbook. The types of supplies we’ll discuss include: papers, writing and drawing tools, adhesives and sealants, cutting tools, painting and print-making supplies, and more. Includes downloadable supplies and resources list.

Chapter 2: The Elements of Design

We’ll build a basic knowledge of the elements of design including color, composition, shape and theme. You’ll learn why some colors look great together and others don’t, as well as explore the benefits of using a color wheel. Well-composed pieces will become second nature with tips on how to create balance on your page and develop a cohesive theme. Includes downloadable Color wheels + color mixing tips, Elements of design question tutorial and Inspirational shapes resources.

Chapter 3: Watercolor Techniques

Through tips, a video and exercises, you’ll master nine of my favorite versatile watercolor techniques including flat wash, graded wash, brushstrokes, color fill, salt, wet in wet, dry brush, splatters and resist. Includes downloadable watercolor mixing examples, top 10 watercolor tips and tricks plus a video showing how to do nine watercolor techniques.

Chapter 4: Hand Lettering Techniques

In this chapter we’ll explore fonts, define and come to understand terms like serif, sans serif, script, and more. You’ll also practice your hand lettering and develop your own unique style through five exercises. Includes downloadable font resource sheets, writing exercise to learn to love your writing, take a lesson from pros exercise, between the lines exercise, style exploration exercise, hand lettered quote exercise and a resource sheet containing 10 ways to add lettering and words in your sketchbook!

Chapter 5: Stamping and Image Transfer Techniques

We’ll go over stamping techniques including using pre-made stamps, carving your own stamp and creating patterns using stamps. You’ll learn how to make two of the most versatile and budget-friendly image transfer using shipping tape and blender pen. Includes downloadable tutorials to carve your own rubber stamp, shipping tape image transfer, blender pen image transfer AND a video demonstrating them all.

Chapter 6: Mixed Media Collage

We’ll go over stamping techniques including using pre-made stamps, carving your own stamp and creating patterns using stamps. You’ll learn how to make two of the most versatile and budget-friendly types of image transfers using shipping tape and blender pen. Includes downloadable exercises and tutorials on building your collage material collection, patchwork collage exercises and a video demonstration.

Chapter 7: Drawing

I’ll take the intimidation out of drawing by showing you techniques like using guides, carbon paper, tracing, blind contours and freehand drawing. You’ll learn about perspective, scale and proportion, which will give you a base of skills to build on as you work on exercises exploring drawing while looking at a live subject, from a photograph or using your imagination or memory. Includes downloadable exercise to draw one thing using four different techniques.

Chapter 8: Introduction to the Prompts

I’ll explain how to use the 31 prompts in the rest of the workshop to create unique pages in your sketchbook that are a true expression of you. Each prompt gives you a goal for the page, examples of the pages I created using the prompts and information to help you get inspired.


You’ll wrap up the workshop congratulating yourself on everything you’ve learned and how far you’ve come, as well as learn how to keep up with your sketchbook practice, creativity and inspiration.

About the instructor:

Sketchbook Adventures instructor Nicole Stevenson has been keeping a sketchbook for nearly 25 years, has been an art instructor for 15 years and has sold hundreds of pieces of her artwork.

Nicole’s path includes time as a creative writing graduate student in San Francisco, street artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk, costume designer, Hollywood flea market art vendor, DIY workshop instructor, co-founder of a non-profit that produced art shows benefiting charities, owner and designer of Random Nicole (an art-inspired clothing line carried at over 300 locations) and owner of craft workshop studio and retail store: The Craft Kitchen.

These days, Nicole can be found creating illustrations and designs for Show and Tell Design Studio, co-producing Patchwork Show: Modern Makers Festival and Craftcation: Business and Makers Conference and writing about business, making and her adventures for the Dear Handmade Life blog.

“It took nearly two decades of living a creative life to finally realize the one thing that all my pursuits had in common. Whether I’m creating a venue for crafters to sell their goods, a conference for entrepreneurs to build their skills, a logo for an art gallery or writing a story about my life, I’m always making something.”
–Nicole Stevenson

Nicole and her ventures have been featured in The Wall Street Journal,, The Los Angeles Times, Apartment Therapy, National Public Radio, Bust Magazine, Daily Candy, PaperCrafts Magazine, The OC Weekly and others.
When she’s not working, you may find her breaking up scuffles between her dog and three chickens, couch crafting while watching a film she’s seen too many times to count, playing guitar with her husband, sitting in her backyard with good friends and a margarita while playing Cards vs. Humanity, or squeezing in time for a quick trip to a lovely place where people are scarce and trees are not.