15 Drawing Ideas You Can Do in 5 Minutes

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

I’m excited to share 15 small drawing ideas you can do in 5 minutes to fill your journals with joy. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites to see if they spark something for you. If you work small, you can do a lovely drawing in just 5 minutes. This is something I host workshops on in my community, The Gathering – to help us use those little chunks of time to create. I’ve found that when I bring my portable art kit, I can make time for art in a lot of places – like in the doctor’s office, or parked in a parking lot, or at the soccer field. There’s time for art when we do just a tiny bit of prep.

If you work on tiny pieces, later you can glue them into your journal, or if you draw directly in a you small journal, you can fill a 2 page spread by drawing a little bit each day. I’ll show you examples of both approaches in the photos in this post.

Progressively smaller circles

For this piece, I used a circle with a blue watercolor background. I think the blue with the black ink is striking together. I have this tiny piece, and did an identical one that is a several inches bigger as well.

Waves

The square on the left has some collage on it, but look closely and you’ll see that it’s actually a series of gentle waves. I love drawing lines super close together and watching the line migrate this way and that.

Gingko leaves

You might notice that I have a lone gingko leaf on the collage page above, and on the page below I’ve just filled the 2-page spread with them, while also exploring interesting negative shapes between each leaf.

Want to learn to draw these patterns?

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Triangles

I love this triangle pattern. It’s so simple and yet gives such a sense of sturdiness and wonderful texture.

Feathers painted in ink

This has been one of my favorite slow painting patterns. Feathers are great fun to explore with their fringy edges and patterns.

Simple, stylized flowers

You might recall that I drew this pattern on a small piece of paper in the photo at the top of the post. Why did I draw them here too? Repetition in art is important. It’s important to let yourself have fun, and repetition builds skill and creativity as you make tiny adjustments with each drawing.

Watercolor lines

I love to paint long, flowing lines all in one color with varying levels of intensity. You can see my pink lines on the page below, opposite the floating lunaria seed pods.

Lunaria Seed Pods

Lunaria are those beautiful little seed heads that look like a lantern lit up. They are delicate and beautiful.

You too can draw and paint these patterns.

Join me for our FREE pattern drawing weekly workshop!

X shapes in watercolor

This pattern looks like a flock of birds – and yet it’s so simple and fun!

Painted watercolor circles

I had a blast exploring the concentric circles in different color combinations. I use these circles on art journal pages, in collages, and for finished pieces.

Grains of rice

This pattern has been a long time favorite for me and my students. You can do so much with so little! This is a full art journal spread of the Rice pattern, but I’ve also made truly large pieces with it, built from 2 inch squares. I find the simpler the pattern, the more endless the possibilities!

Simple brush marks over a watercolor wash

I had some watercolor wash backgrounds that were just too subtle to be interesting, so I cut them up. When I was looking for different ways to experiment with my new iron gall ink, I really enjoyed painting simple strokes of the deep charcoal color against the faint blue. I think this spread is a great example of how a series of very simple marks presented next to each other can create a lot of interest.

Make Your Own Pop-Up Book:

If you love this style of journal with all the flaps, pop-ups and windows, check out my pop-up book class: The Little Book of Wonder where you’ll learn it all.

Painted tiny circles and dots

I love this spread because it’s got so much repetition. Indigo circles, black circles, and big, black dots. For me, it doesn’t take much – I love repeated patterns!

Combine two of these patterns together to create something new

This spread has the rice pattern, a variation on the flower drawing from above, simple brush marks, and amorphous little cutout shapes.

I hope you noticed how much repetition happened throughout my journals. It’s okay to repeat yourself in art – especially if you are enjoying the pattern and having fun with it.

My students frequently worry about being “boring” but I often find that students flit from one thing to the next and end up with a result that bores them. When you jump around too much and don’t focus, the work is too safe – it’s too much like the teacher’s sample – or it’s trite – it’s missing that special twist that only you could put on it.

The good material from within each of us has an opportunity to arise when you repeat something again and again, and give it room to breathe, change, and evolve.

You know if you are playing it safe and boring or if something is lighting you up. Trust your instincts.I would love to hear about your experience. What kinds of patterns do you like to put in your journal? Share your ideas in the comments.

Creatively Yours,

Amy

P.S. Make Your Own Pop-Up Book: If you would love to make beautiful, dynamic journals with pop-ups and windows, check out my pop-up book class: The Little Book of Wonder where you’ll learn it all.

36 Comments

  1. Helene

    Absolutely love this. Thank you so much for sharing your talent and creativity. It’s very helpful to see examples of what we can create. Combining them is simply genius. So inspiring!

    Reply
  2. Dorothy Bethel

    Thank you! I love your art and ideas..

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Yay Dorothy. I’m so happy that this speaks to you. Thanks for taking the time to let me know! xo

      Reply
  3. Yin Mee Cheah

    I love this post. Such wonderfully simple ideas! I’ve encountered them before in your weekly sessions but I love how you’ve put them together here. It’s a great reminder and motivates me to get drawing! Thank you Amy!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Yin Mee! So lovely to connect with you here. I’m thrilled that you are motivated to draw. Happy creating!

      Reply
  4. Bridget

    Amy thank you so much for all that you share. Your beautiful art is so inspiring and I love all of the ideas 💡 💗

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Bridget:

      What fun that these ideas hit the mark for you. Happy creating! xo

      Reply
  5. Suzanne Phillips

    Thank you Amy 😊 doing some now to add to last night’s slow drawing x

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Suzanne:
      I’m so pleased that this post can add to your ideas for slow drawings! xo

      Reply
  6. Heema

    Hi Amy,
    I love doing the slow drawings. Whenever I feel disturbed by anything around me instead of reacting to it I resort to drawing on these small pieces of paper . They just call me down. As I am writing this I was working on my anger by just observing my breath n slowing down the pencil over the paper. And yay! I calmed down. Thank you so much Amy !
    Love you for your wonderful work!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Wow Heema! What a wonderful example of letting slow drawing translate into other areas of your life. Thank you so much for sharing it here! xo

      Reply
  7. Deidre

    When I did the 12 day Inchie challenge, I think I had the most fun with the prompt “stone”! They can be circles, or they can be ovals and such. And it doesn’t have to be a “perfect” circle or oval! Shading them in with pencil crayon or watercolor is fun and interesting too.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Deidre: It sounds like you enjoy a prompt that feels open and imperfect. What fun. Happy creating!

      Reply
    • Judy

      Terrific post! I instantly thought, “Secret exercises they DON’T teach you in art school!” These will help me reconnect with my long neglected art and boost my creativity all around. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hi Judy: So nice to “meet” you here! I am thrilled to hear that these ideas stirred up your imagination. I’m happy to share the “secret sauce.” 🤓 xo

        Reply
  8. Sylvia Tucker

    Thanks for this treasure, Amy, a beautiful visual collection to play with.

    Reply
  9. Linda H

    Thank you Amy for Sharing this Blog Posting I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend for some old Slow Drawing Re-Do’s and What If’s and some Journal Writings

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Linda I’m so pleased this gives you more inspiration! xo

      Reply
  10. Annie Froese

    Hi Amy! What a wonderful blog post. You have so beautifully encapsulated many of the patterns I have come to love and how you have demonstrated so many of your inspiring ways to put these little treasures together. Thanks for sharing your passion for nature and your ability to motivate so many to engage in the art of “slow drawing”. You are the best! Annie

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Annie:

      YAY what fun that you enjoyed this so much. I’m super happy that I can inspire you and I so appreciate your kind words. Cheers

      Reply
  11. MarlenaCB

    Oh, Amy, you make me smile each and every time I read your blogs. And the smiles come out with your salutation, “Dear Creative, Wonderful You!” I instantly feel inspired to grab a pen and start PLAYING (the little kid in me thinks creating = play!) Thanks for being YOU!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      This makes me so happy Marlena. Thank you so much for your kind words. xo

      Reply
  12. nancy

    What a great blog post! I have joined in the slow drawing demos, but often I am unable to see the live version. I love each lesson, some have become favorites and some not so much; I still try them all and try to figure out how to make it my own. I have not constructed any journals yet, but your blog has given me some ideas and a starting point. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      This is wonderful to hear. And if you feel like you’d like some more inspiration or guidance in journaling this way, you might check out my pop up book class: The Little Book of Wonder. Happy creating Nancy!!!

      Reply
  13. Kathleen Metz-Carson

    I’ve been following you for a while now, and have purchased 4 of your classes. You stand alone in your take on art and how to approach it. You’re not in our faces with your teaching. Wish I could have been at HBC’s retreat last week. My little sister was in your class!

    Thank you for your style.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh wow Kathleen – how fun! Who is your sister? I’m so glad that my approach works for you. (It works for me too ;P) Happy creating!

      Reply
  14. Bobbie Montague

    Thank you so much Amy, will you or have you slow drawn the rice pattern as a class? I love those every time I see them but don’t know where to start! Thank you for this post!
    Hugs
    Bobbie amontague

    Reply
  15. Elaine Robesky

    Thank you for sharing these ideas and beautiful relaxing drawings. They make me relax just looking at them.
    I took your Inchie Challenge and enjoyed it so much. I have always been a repeative design artist because of how it makes me feel as I draw. I was a People Manager for 60 years and had to attend many long corporate meetings and when I found I was getting sleepy I would doodle. Lots of my doodles, (some I kept) where quite good. Thank you again for sharing your ideas and wonderful pictures above.
    Happy Artist, Elaine

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh yay Elaine – I’m so happy to hear it! Happy drawing!

      Reply
  16. Debby Brooks

    Thank you for sharing these Amy, you are so inspiring and i try to join your live slow drawing each week…don’t always make it, so I try to catch the replay. I have several of your classes and just recently purchased Fluid Art and Little Book of Wonders. Finishing up a local painting class right now, but I can’t wait to get started on the books. Thanks for all your inspiration!!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Debby I’m so happy that this post, the slow drawing sessions and the classes are an inspiration. It’s my hope to keep you a happy artist. Cheers and enjoy that in person class. xo

      Reply
  17. Marie Declercq

    so nice and inspiring

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I’m so glad they speak to you Marie!

      Reply

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