Best seller

Exploratory Sketchbook: Find Your Drawing Style

A course by Sarah van Dongen
Illustrator. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Joined March 2020
, Illustrator

Discover fun methods to develop your ideas and draw from observation using gouache, watercolor, and colored pencils

  • Best seller
  • 99% positive reviews (2K)
  • 48095 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Discover fun methods to develop your ideas and draw from observation using gouache, watercolor, and colored pencils

  • 99% positive reviews (2K)
  • 48095 students
  • 16 lessons (2h 34m)
  • 27 additional resources (12 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

An original idea can come in many shapes and colors—sometimes when we least expect them and often when we’re drawing without restraint. Illustrator Sarah van Dongen believes having fun is one of the most important components of the creative process and finds it’s key to being able to create daily. She describes her illustrations as something between reality and imagination, using her life’s everyday moments as prompts to fill her sketchbooks and create illustrations for clients like Tiny Owl Publishing, Adobe, and AWW magazine.

Let Sarah take you on an inspiring journey through her illustration universe. Discover her methods for creating unique illustrations and finding your drawing style. Learn how to use color, composition, texture, and anatomy to draw from observation and tell the stories you want to tell.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Materials Matter
  • U3
    U3. Preparation Exercises
  • U4
    U4. Complete Illustration
  • U5
    U5. Fill that Sketchbook
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Meet Sarah van Dongen, learn about her creative journey, and discover some of her work. See the illustrators and books that influence her creative ideas and get a quick overview of what Sarah teaches you in this course.

See the materials Sarah uses and learn about the different kinds of sketchbooks available so you can choose one that is best suited to your drawing style. Discover how to use your materials, including how to mix paint and use markers and crayons for detail work.

Time to get started with Sarah’s fun exercises! Begin with color by seeing how to make a color wheel and mix your paints. Next, work on your observation skills with Sarah’s prompts and tips. Learn how to draw people with some simple anatomy theory and finish the unit with a perspective and composition exercise.

Combine your newfound knowledge from previous exercises to create your final self-portrait illustration. Draw thumbnails to establish your story until you have a final image and define the colors you’ll use to capture the mood. Begin with a line drawing, paint your image, and then work on the second layer using colored pencils and markers to add the final touches.

In the last unit, Sarah shows you how to keep sketching and filling your sketchbooks to further develop your style. Finish the course with some advice on how to create interesting content for Instagram and get noticed by future clients.

What is this course's project?

Create a self-portrait illustration with mixed media by following Sarah’s creative techniques.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is for illustrators of all levels who would like to improve their observational drawing techniques and discover their unique drawing style.

Requirements and materials

To take this course, you will need a curiosity to explore your creative ideas and illustration style.

As for materials, you will need a sketchbook (or loose pages), gouache, graphites, colored pencils, and any other drawing material you wish to use such as markers, crayons, chalk, watercolors, etc.


48095 Students
1954 Reviews
99% Positive ratings

Sarah van Dongen

A course by Sarah van Dongen

Teacher Plus

Sarah van Dongen is a Dutch illustrator based in Amsterdam who is passionate about telling stories. She began her studies in comparative literature but enrolled in the MA in Children’s Books Illustration in Cambridge, UK after realizing she wanted to pursue a more creative career.

Sarah’s illustration work can be found in children’s books, stationery, newspapers, and magazines across the globe. Her clients include Flow Magazine, Adobe, Tiny Owl Publishing, and Ragged Bears Publishing, among others. Sarah enjoys exploring themes like gardens, food, social interactions, mental health, and her childhood. She doesn’t shy away from subjects like insecurity, loneliness, and loss, she expresses them in her sketches to help make these feelings more comprehensible.


  • U1


    • Introduction
    • Influences
    • What Will We Do in this Course?
  • U2

    Materials Matter

    • The Sketchbook
    • My Materials
    • Use of Materials
  • U3

    Preparation Exercises

    • Color, Contrast and Balance
    • Observation and Mind Bank
    • Simple Anatomy and Self Portrait
    • Perspective and Composition
  • U4

    Complete Illustration

    • The Story, Sketch and Color Palette
    • Layer One, Paint
    • Layer Two, Colored Pencils and Markers 1
    • Layer Two, Colored Pencils and Markers 2
  • U5

    Fill that Sketchbook

    • The Next Image
    • Sharing Your Work on Social Media
  • FP

    Final project

    • Exploratory Sketchbook: Find Your Drawing Style

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Exploratory Sketchbook: Find Your Drawing Style. Illustration course by Sarah van Dongen Best seller

Exploratory Sketchbook: Find Your Drawing Style

A course by Sarah van Dongen
Illustrator. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Joined March 2020
  • 99% positive reviews (2K)
  • 48095 students