Make a Sketchbook

Jack B. Yeats spent most of his childhood in Sligo where he lived with his grandparents. He worked as an artist from the age of 17 until he was 83 years old. He always loved Sligo and said that every painting he made “had a thought of Sligo in it”.

He always carried a sketchbook in his pocket and made sketches of all the things he found interesting. He especially liked drawing the people and the landscapes of Sligo that he saw every day. Jack also loved to draw characters from his favourite stories.

Jack B. Yeats, A Broadside, 1908 -15

Jack B. Yeats, A Broadside, 1908 -15

Start your own sketchbook

Why not start carrying a pocket-size notebook around and use it to draw and doodle. Any notebook will do.
You can stick things in that you like and make drawings and write stories about the things you see every day.

Tips to get you started

Find a notebook you can carry around with you.

Jack B. Yeats was fascinated by horses. Explore your house for things you find interesting like your family, your pets, flowers or even birds you might see in your garden.

Make three quick sketches of everything you choose to draw and don’t worry about it being perfect.

Try to make a rough sketch of something new every day.

Experiment using pens, pencils, chalk, collage or crayons.


Jack B. Yeats used to use his sketchbooks as inspiration for his paintings.
One of Jack B. Yeats secrets was that he used to paint with his fingers instead of a paint brush. You can do the same!


When your sketchbook is full of ideas pick one of your favourite drawings.

Re-draw your favourite sketch onto a large sheet. This time you are going to paint over the drawing.

Use a brush for the first layer of paint.

Let it dry and then add more paint and texture by only using your fingers. See how Jack B. Yeats adds texture to his painting below.

Jack B. Yeats, Johnny Patterson singing ‘Bridget Donoghue’ (The Singing Clown), 1928

Jack B. Yeats, Johnny Patterson singing ‘Bridget Donoghue’ (The Singing Clown), 1928


Green Paint Splash

To see more of Jack B. Yeats paintings in The Niland Collection click here.

Ask a parent or guardian to take a picture of your work and share it with us.
Don’t forget to sign it with your name and age.

We will post your artwork on our website and Instagram account

@modelsligo / #themodelinsideout

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