Sketchbooks are good tools you can use to work through issues and ideas.
You can quickly try different designs by making lots of thumbnail design sketches. By doing that, you quickly work through ideas. You record these ideas on paper, and you can look at them, compare them, and come up with new or better ideas.
Writers invented the concept of morning pages. What you do is open a notebook, and you start writing. You write down anything that pops into your head. It is important to continue writing, not overthink it, and not censor while writing. Just write, write, write until you fill the number of pages you agreed to fill up beforehand.
This is a way of recording your thoughts so that you can look at them. You can browse through your notebook and see if there are themes. You recorded your thoughts! Now you can analyze them.
Writing can be therapeutic; it can help you work through your struggles. They can reveal themes you are thinking about and may want to explore through art.
Writing can be drawing, too. Think about it. You can draw the letters if you write carefully and weigh every word. Hand lettering is writing, too.
Those are studies of works by cartoonists I admire. This is a page similar to what I am doing in my sketchbooks at the moment. I am taking a break from Hard Practice and I am just having some fun cartooning instead. I write a lot. I make notes on what I like or don’t like about a drawing, and I write about what is on my mind to mine for cartoon ideas.
I read a quote somewhere, paraphrasing: “you often write not to say something, but to find out what you want to say.” I can’t find it anymore, but it is true. You discover what your thoughts are while you are writing about a subject.
Promising yourself that you will not show these notebook pages to anyone is important. You want to be unhindered and not have to worry about what other people think; you want to be brutally honest with yourself on these pages.
Later on, if you discover something beautiful in your sketchbook or notebook, you can copy it to nice paper, use nice drawing or writing tools, and prepare it to be presentable to the world. But that is a different thing.
You can share a sketchbook page, like I did above.
Maybe you will find out that you enjoy writing also! It does not have to be an either/or proposition; you can do both. When stuck, it often helps to change to a different medium or art form. Writing can be a great option as you can leave drawing for a bit and turn to writing.
That way, there will be no writer’s or artist’s block. You don’t have to impress anyone. Just go, write, doodle, and see what comes out of it. Copy existing text or copy an existing artist if you have to. You’re not going to show it to anyone anyway.
My experience is that beautiful things eventually start forming on the pages.
Draw, or write. There are no rules when it comes to sketch-booking.