Art · Notebook · Sketchbook · tips

4 Easy Ways to Fix Mistakes in a Sketchbook

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The majority of my drawings are done in sketchbooks, I’m sure many people can say the same for themselves.  Amongst the art fanatics, some suffer from an odd obsession with sketchbooks. I am definitely one of those people. Drawing in sketchbooks and having each page flow into each other is such a satisfying feeling. But, if you have ever used a sketchbook or drawn at all in your life, you would know that human beings make mistakes. Yes, most mistakes can be fixed in simple ways and still look okay. This post is for those “running the entire page” kind of mistakes. All of these solutions to your mistakes are ways to completely cover-up or disguise the error in your sketchbook…

Post-it Notes

When I make a disastrous mistake in my sketchbook, the first thing I use is a post-it note. I cannot express how much I love these little cover-ups. Post-its are the absolute life-saver when it comes to working in a sketchbook. If you were to look through my sketchbooks, about half of the pages will contain post-its. Post-it notes can be used for more than just fixing mistakes. They can also add an artsy feel to the page you are working on.

Applying post-its are just too easy. I suggest that you keep a few out as you are working, so when you realize that the person you just inked’s eyes are creepily crooked, you can pretend it never happened. And the great thing is, nobody will ever know! Just slap a post-it over your error and voila!, it ceases to exist.

Scrap Pieces of Paper

Using scrap pieces of paper is kind of the same idea as using post-its. The only difference is, you can cut or tear a piece of paper to be any size you want. While post-its will take care of the smaller mistakes in your sketchbook, a large piece of scrap paper can cover a vast area of space. This is very helpful when you either begin to despise a whole page or the drawing on the other side of the page begins to bleed through. If this happens, cover the entire page with a piece of paper so none of the bleeding from the other side can affect your sketch.


Painting in a sketchbook can always spice up a boring page. You can use paint to either add a nice wash background to your painting or you can paint over your work to hide it from the world. Either way works fine and can achieve some pretty cool effects on your page. Using paints always makes it look like you spent more time on your drawings than you actually did.

One thing to think about before using paints is that it’s important to check what type of paper your sketchbook is made out of. Paints like watercolor or gouache can easily tear up your paper and turn it into a soggy mess, which none of us want. In order to prevent this, either use a sketchbook that is made of thick, quality paper or simply use very light layers.

Being Creative

This method really exercises that creative part of your brain. When I say “being creative” I’m talking about feats like turning a ruined ear drawing into a beautiful rose sketch or making a ruined landscape scene look like a unique tattoo on someone’s arm. I admire anyone who can find a way to disguise a mistake using only their creativity. Honestly, I hold grudges against my art and struggle to see the potential it may have to be something else. In other words, I need to work on using this method in my own sketchbooks. This method doesn’t exactly cover-up your mistakes, instead it transforms it into something more pleasing to the eye. If you find a clever way to morph your art into something completely different, please send me a picture of it. Any person who uses this method will leave me extremely impressed.

I understand that covering your mistakes as an artist can be annoying. But not all mistakes are mistakes, if that makes any sense. If someone else tells you that there is a mistake in your artwork but you still find your piece to be satisfying, your art is perfect the way it is. These methods are a last resort. Trust me, I have had plenty of instances when my art doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to be. But to be honest, other than post-it notes, I don’t usually want to completely cover up my work. There are so many beginning artists who draw something and toss it as soon as it starts to look funky! I believe that a piece of art will turn out well as long as you keep at it, no matter how weird it looks.

So the only time you should use these methods is if:

  1. Your art is permanent and you don’t fancy it
  2. There is a bleed from the previous page and there is no other way to get around it
  3. If you just absolutely can’t stand that drawing and it makes you cringe just thinking about it. But I still suggest that you keep cringe worthy art because it is a part of your growth as an artist.


– Raven ._.


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