Jesse Zhang -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Jesse Zhang who is sharing a peek into her sketchbooks and chatting about the role sketchbooks play in her creative process:

I'm Jesse, a painter and illustrator from Brooklyn, NY. I enjoy drinking lots of tea, watching sci-fi shows, and staying up too late creating. 

Sketchbooks are so vital as an artist. It's a place for discovery, putting down all your ideas, and honing your drawing skills. Most importantly, it's a place to experiment without the pressure of creating something final. Sketchbooks are for being messy and making mistakes because there is always the next page.

Jesse Zhang, Sketchbook Conversations, sketchbooks, My Giant Strawberry

What keeps me motivated is drawing as much as possible. Creating a lot of terrible work that I don't show anyone. Keeping an "ugly" sketchbook where I can draw out ideas quickly for the sake of remembering it. 

My inspiration comes from creating constantly. Eventually, an idea emerges that I'm really excited to delve further into. Inspiration isn't some magical thing to wait on, it comes from deliberate practice and demanding for it to show up. 

Jesse Zhang, Sketchbook Conversations, sketchbooks, My Giant Strawberry

My favorite materials are FW inks, gouache, and a 0.3 Graphgear lead pencil. I use Moleskine "Art Plus" sketchbooks the most because the paper is thick enough for layering and mixed media. I also like Muji Sketchbooks for traveling because they're cheap ($4), light, and cute! 

Jesse Zhang, Sketchbook Conversations, sketchbooks, My Giant Strawberry

Trying to have a perfect sketchbook can be paralyzing. Instead, focus on creating daily and making that habit stick. Have fun and enjoy the process! One of the best things about keeping a sketchbook is seeing your work progress and change over time.

Thank you, Jesse, for sharing your story with us today.

Dear readers, you can connect with Jesse:

on Instagram: @imjessezhang
on her website: 
and on her blog:

Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews

*Photos in this post © Jesse Zhang. Used with permission.


  1. Your work is so unique Jesse! It is so different to anything I have seen before. You have an amazing talent. As always, a big thank you to you Anne for sharing. :)

    1. Thanks, Simone! I'm so glad you enjoyed spending some time with Jesse and her sketchbooks!


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