Virtual Resources – Object 3

This sketchbook contains 165 sketches by the artist Samuel Lucas senior. It is undated but thought to be made sometime between 1840 and 1870. The sketches are done in sepia ink, some in watercolour wash. Lucas was born in Hitchin and lived there for the rest of his life.

Sophie’s thoughts:

I love all the different characters Samuel Lucas has captured in his sketchbook. I really feel like I get a sense of the different people he came across in his day to day life. The drawings are unique and delicate and have been made quickly, which also appeals to me as an artist.

Thoughts from the learning team:

This is a wonderful example of pen and ink sketching done by an artist in small moments in time. The sketches are done fast and with a huge sense of humour.


Firstly, we are going to make a zine which is like a little booklet made from a single piece of A4 or A3 paper. Then we are going to fill it with simple sketches of a person, or people, that are important to you. This could be someone alive or passed, friends, family members, or even someone famous you look up to. We are also going to build in a bit of collage.

Whilst you are making your mini-sketchbook have a think about these questions:

  • Why is this person (or people) important to you?
  • What memories do you have of them?
  • Can you remember any specific things they said, or did that made you smile?
  • How do they make you feel e.g. calm, warm, loved, special?

I chose to make a mini-sketchbook with drawings of my grandma. She has been a very special person in my life and thinking about this as I made my zine and did drawings of her was a really calming process which made me feel very grateful to have known her.

Materials – a piece of A4 or A3 paper (white or coloured), scissors, a pencil, glue stick, any collage bits, reference photos of your chosen person or people (you can also draw from real life if you prefer).

To start I made my zine booklet. This is a simple folding process which is demonstrated in the above video. Have a practice a couple of times if you need to and perhaps try A4 and A3 paper to see which size you prefer.

Personally, I find plain white paper quite daunting to start a drawing on, so I like to prep my pages before I start sketching. I got a small selection of coloured and patterned bits of papers (I like old envelopes) and spent a bit of time tearing and cutting them, before sticking them to my pages. Immediately your zine will start to look more interesting…

I then started my drawings, based on reference photographs I had to hand. I decided to do mine on separate bits of paper, but you can draw them directly into the zine if you want to. You don’t need to be really good at drawing to do this. I used some tracing paper and acetate to trace some of mine – it isn’t cheating!

Afterwards I stuck my drawings into my zine to create the sketchbook. They look great layered over the collaged pages. I also added a few labels with memories written onto them.

I think my mini-sketchbook acts as a lovely keepsake, and it makes me happy every time I look at it. You could also make them as gifts for people and even send them in the post to let someone know you are thinking about them.