Sketchbook Sneak Peek

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Stephanie Graegin

by Maxwell Tielman


Getting a peek into an artist’s sketchbook is oftentimes like getting to a glimpse into his or her mind. Filled with unfinished pieces, doodles, and ideas, they often act as a portrait of their creator—or a look into their own imagined worlds. Stephanie Graegin, a Brooklyn-based children’s illustrator, is no stranger to different worlds: her work often depicts a fantasy realm in which animals speak like people and take part in the many of the same activities (like riding the subway!). Stylistically, her illustrations are not just fantastical, but cute as a button, with purposeful pencil strokes and a warm autumnal palette. Her sketchbooks, filled with tiny pencil-drawn vignettes, carry much of the same picture-perfection as her finished works. Each drawing seems to have been crafted with the same consideration and the same amount of love, so much so that the characters inhabiting them appear ready to spring to life on the page. Check out the rest of Stephanie’s sketchbook pages and her own words about sketchbook keeping after the jump! —Max


Above image: A sampling of Stephanie’s work.

Why do you use a sketch book?   

I use a sketchbook to generate ideas, work on character studies, to make thumbnails for picture books layouts and to make reminder lists. It’s mainly a place to think. I never leave home without it.

What are your go-to sketch book supplies? Are there any brands or media that you’re particularly drawn to?

I love Moleskine sketchbooks and only use those. I like the 5″ x 8″ size for everyday and travel use.
I draw with mechanical graphite pencils, my favorite is the Sakura Sumo Grip .5.

Aside from preliminary sketches for larger projects, are there any things that you like to sketch just for fun? What are some things that you most frequently fill your sketch books with?

Besides drawing at home for projects, I draw in my sketchbook anytime I am stuck somewhere, such as commuting on the NYC subway. These drawings are for fun, but also for developing possible future picture book characters. They are usually of anthropomorphic bunnies, bears, cats and foxes, and often reflect my mood of the day.

Graegin2Sketchbook Graegin3Sketchbook Graegin4Sketchbook Graegin5Sketchbook Graegin6Sketchbook Graegin7Sketchbook Graegin8sketchbook Graegin9Sketchbook Graegin10Sketchbook

Suggested For You


  • Stephanie’s work is wonderful and her sketches are just as sweet! Such endearing little characters :) That pub sketch is a particular favorite. I also love Moleskine for sketching, such smooth paper, it’s the best. Thanks for posting. Your sketchbook series is really fun to follow!

  • These drawings and illustrations are wonderful! I think I have a Sakura Sumo grip .5mm pencil . . . but no talent for such fine art. You made my afternoon with these illustrations–thanks!

  • Stephanie,
    Your work is amazing! Love it all and the connection to family is so beautiful!

  • Wonderful sketches . Keep it up so every year new youngsters and their parents can enjoy the books.

  • Her sketches are so beautiful – her sketchbook is already like a picture book in itself! Thanks so much for sharing such talent. :)

  • My goodness, these are too cute for words – warm and whimsical and wry. I have so many favourites but “she was so angry she felt her head was going to explode” would take pride of place on my wall any day! No wait, the little girl and the cat at the piano! No wait, the animals at the bar! No wait…

  • what wonderful wallpapers these sketches would make, or note papers, or greeting cards. i would love to have a collage of framed sketches.