How do you get a drawing started on a blank page? What assists you in organizing your image and getting ideas for a drawing? What about using your sketchbook as the first draft for a drawing? Think about how you get started with a writing assignment. Often the first step is getting words on the paper. Maybe you like to write the first paragraph or maybe you make an outline of your ideas. Filling the page with words gives you material to edit and gets you going on the assignment.
I enjoy using my sketchbook as a safe place to doodle around with visual ideas. I just draw shapes and objects filling the page, no logic, no structure, just fooling around. I prefer to use a pencil because the soft lead moves easily on the page and this keep me relaxed and flowing as I draw. No erasing, I just draw right over lines I am changing. I allow myself to have a discombobulated page and my critical self is not invited to play.
Here are the two images that I was inspired to draw from the doodling page shown above. The composition of this first drawing was not as successful as I wanted and the birdhouse with the bird on top is visually confusing. I decided to use the same theme and draw another image. I find the second drawing is more successful and interesting.