7 fresh ideas for drawing at home on #NationalDrawingDay 2020

#NationalDrawingDay 2020 takes place on Saturday 16 May. This year, we’re giving you 7 drawing activities to keep busy at home. Drawing is an essential part of the visual arts and comes in many forms. From freehand sketches and doodles to professional applications like illustration and technical or architectural drawing.  

With basic equipment, any kind of pen or pencil and paper will work, drawing is ideal for trying at home. If you’re stuck with what to draw, try our tips to generate ideas and share your creations with us – we’d love to see the results.

You can share on social media and tag @RBSAGallery or send your work to marketing@rbsa.org.uk and we’ll share our favourites.

Idea Generator

There are lots of resources online to find things to doodle, if staying at home has got you fresh out of ideas. Try a daily drawing prompt or challenge, you will be sent a new theme each day and many artists share their daily sketches online to keep themselves motivated. Popular choices are Sketchbook Skool, Inktober and Doodle Addicts.

Find a list of ideas online, or team up with a friend and send each other a new idea each week.

This list by Creative Live is full of drawing ideas you can do at home.


Start with something simple or just a mark on the paper then let your imagination run free. Try patterns, words, characters or shapes and see where your doodles go. Often, people doodle best when their minds are distracted – such as listening to the radio or a podcast. Doodling can help develop ideas and style without too much pressure.

There are also plenty of books and online resources for mindful doodling such as Zentangle, which many people find calming.

Continuous line drawing

Drawing a portrait, or something from your daily challenge, but without lifting the pen off the page. This allows you to focus on the form of your subject in a new way, does your work stay realistic or is it more abstract? Experiment with shading and contours, and let any mistakes become part of the drawing.

Drawing around your home

It’s easy to take for granted the inspiration in our own homes and gardens as we see it every day. Take your sketchbook and pen and look around your home like a stranger might do.

Notice textures in brickwork, views from windows and even the jars in your fridge can make a still-life. Make everyday objects your drawing subjects and improve fundamental skills.

Take inspiration from RBSA Artist Ed Isaacs‘ series of sketches from his home during isolation. See more of Ed Isaacs’ work in the RBSA online exhibition Remote Access.

Ring Road Sheep, Ed Isaacs RBSA

Draw in the style of…

Choose an artist that you admire or find challenging and try drawing in their style. Try the RBSA Flickr page or Archive Collection to discover artists.

For more museum collections, browse open image collections such as Creative Commons to find inspiration. Many artists on social media use the popular hashtag #DrawThisInYourStyle to inspire their community.

The Russian Hat, Cristina Celestini RBSA


Cartography is the art of drawing maps and can be accurate for professional or historic reference, or just for fun. If you’re able to walk around your local neighbourhood safely, trace your steps once home and create a map including your favourite viewpoints or quirks. Or you can use free maps online such as Open Street Map, Google Maps or Google Earth to draw inspiration from.

Discover ideas from this collection of maps drawn during lockdown.

Upside down drawing

Find an image to draw from and flip it upside down. Looking at the image from a different perspective, literally, also guides you away from drawing by habit. Focus on lines, shadow and light, form and experiment with colour. When finished, turn your drawing the right way up and see if it’s accurate.

By Magda Petford, RBSA Marketing Coordinator

Comment below with your ideas for National Drawing Day 2020. Share your creations on social media with @rbsagallery and #rbsagallery or send to marketing@rbsa.org.uk

About Us

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts through a range of exhibitions, events and workshops.

The RBSA runs an exhibition venue – the RBSA Gallery – in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a short walk from the city centre.

The gallery is currently closed due to Covid-19.

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