Sketchbook Starters – Filling a Sketchbook with Ideas
A list of ideas to encourage students to work on their own sketchbooks. This is a good jumping off point for teachers and students who wish to try creating sketchbooks during the school year.
By Eileen Urbanski [Eileen is a teacher at Eagle & Union Elementary in Zionsville, IN]
Students will understand what being an artist means and demonstrate this through:
The use of a sketchbook to record their ideas.
Students will be:
- drawing from their imaginations
- drawing from real life objects
- using “how to draw” instructional resources
The creation of their own Art Book (portfolio).
Students will create:
- several pictures about famous artists
- paintings/drawings using new materials like pastels, oil crayons, paint
- drawings/paintings using new techniques like crayon rubbing, pointillism, computer art, printmaking
What You Need:
- Printing ink pad and stamps
- 12×18 paper
- Plastic binding combs
- Drawing Lessons From A Bear by David McPhail
- Badly Drawn Dog by Emma Dodson
- The Artist by John Bianchi
- Hands Growing Up To be an Artist by Lois Ehlert
- “How to Draw” books
- Art Reprints (search on Art.com)
What You Do:
Everyone is an artist – it is our very special skill! Out of all the creatures on the earth only humans possess the ability to be artists!
- Ask the students if they know what a sketchbook is and ask if any of them have one at home.
- Discuss how an artist uses a sketchbook.
- Discuss how they will use a sketchbook.
- Tell the students that because some of them work fast (rabbits) and some work slow (turtles), everyone will be getting a sketchbook to use for the rest of the year in art class. Tell them that It is used whenever there is extra time in art – if they finish their work before other students. It is a special place just for their art ideas!
- After Intro, read the book Drawing Lessons from a Bear.
- Have the students say out loud “I AM AN ARTIST!”
- Hand out sketchbooks and give the following assignments:
- Draw a picture of yourself on the cover (this is a self-portrait) and write your name and grade on it.
- Draw one picture inside using your imagination.
- Draw one picture inside from a “how to draw” book (students can look through the books you have on hand).
- Read the book – The Artist.
- Write a list of jobs that an artist can do on the white board.
Assignment (in the sketchbooks):
- Draw a beautiful sunrise
- Draw a rainbow
- Draw anything you wish (free choice)
- Read the book – Hands Growing Up to Be An Artist
- Enjoy the format of the book.
Discussion (talk about the following):
- How the family works on hobbies/projects at home.
- Talk about how the students will be creating their own Art Book. Emphasize that it will take a while to do each picture, but when they are done, they will be able to take it home and show everyone what they learned.
- Talk about famous artists’ paintings.
- Talk about materials like pastels, oil crayons, paint.
- Talk about new techniques, pointillism, computer art, printing.
- Make a picture inside the sketchbook using a new material.
Activity/Vocabulary Ideas for the Sketchbook:
- Van Gogh – Starry Night Crayon Rubbing, Markers, Expressive, Texture, Brushstrokes [lesson plan here]
- Edvard Munch – The Scream Oil Pastel, Crayons, Bold Colors, Movement, Emotion [lesson plan here]
- Piet Mondrian Compostion in R-Y B – Paint, Primary Colors, Shape, Line [lesson plan here]
- Leonardo DaVinci – Mona Lisa Watercolor, Crayons, Portrait, Depth (showing near and far)
- George Seurat – Sunday Afternoon In the Park Marker, Dots, Computer Pointillism, Landscape [lesson plan here]
- Wassily Kandinsky – Improvisation Printing, Non-Objective [lesson plan here]
Continue to come up with ideas for the sketchbook. When the school year is complete, students can take the books home and share with family and friends.