The short answer is…YES!
The long answer is yes, we do, it’s called our sketchbook!
An artist’s sketchbook is a bound book with blank pages that artists use to keep visual records of observations, plans for future art projects, ideas and themes with which they are interested, and verbal, often personal, reflections. Artists may incorporate some or all of these uses into their personal sketchbooks in order to best suit their needs as an artist. – Debban
The sketchbook assignments are a way for students to explore art concepts and techniques that we do not have time to devote entire class periods for. They are a mixture of assignments requiring creativity and/or skill.
Each sketchbook is designed for students to spend at least 1-3 hours of after-school time over a 1-2 week period, depending on the complexity + mediums required to render the artwork.
Some sketchbook assignments have even been outside the blank page of a book…for our latest sketchbook assignment each student completed at least one CD Weaving to contribute to a larger collaborative piece that is going to be hung as a decorative wall hanging in Minnie Howard!
(this is an example I found from the internet, our pics are to come!)
For a link to this teacher’s blog click here.
Sketchbook assignments are to help you grow as a creative + innovative individual! Students are often held back from their own hesitation or fear of not doing something right. I love this excerpt from Chase Mielke blog about people being born as ‘natural risk-takers’, but that changes as we grow:
We are born risk takers. We will do just about anything as babies, no matter what the outcome of the risk. Some of these risks are idiotic. Others are critical. Think of one of the most basic functions: walking.
Picture Baby A about to take his first steps. His parents are probably staring at him, rooting, clapping, smiling, videotaping. Now, this move will not bode well for Baby A, who will most likely crash to the ground in an uncoordinated thump. But Baby A don’t care. Baby A is a risk taker. And as the much anticipated fall happens, the parents no doubt scream and cheer rather than chastising their tot for failing.
What does Baby A do after this failure? Try again. And again. And again (at least until his parents can get that perfect Facebook-worthy video posted). Baby A will do this until he can walk. And voilà! We have learning. Walking is not the most employable skill, but we have progress, people.
This natural risk-taking is critical to development. And yet, at a certain point, we stop taking risks that help us grow. But we don’t stop taking risks because of physical danger (I once saw a kid kick himself in the forehead just to see if he could, so I can tell you physical danger is not an issue for today’s youth). We ultimately stop taking risks—positive risks that lead us forward—because of social danger. And so a critical question educators must ask themselves becomes: Are we creating a culture of academic risk-taking in our classrooms?
Chase Mielke and AffectiveLiving, 2014.
Each day I push my student artists to go beyond a realm they are comfortable in. To be successful in art, a creative field, or an innovative job, individuals need to take risks. We learn from the process and we learn from our mistakes. High School Art class is a great time in life to do some learning. (That is when you have a bit of safety net below your feet.) All of the answers will not be in black or white in the real world – the gray matter is what is tricky, so the point is: TAKE RISKS IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK! I use a rubric where creativity and effort or worth more than half of any other criteria. You are rewarded for being an artistic risk-taker! Fight the blank white page!
I would love each student to view their sketchbooks as something personal they can identify with. Even if ‘it’ is not assigned by me and they want to practice drawing or explore a new medium, they should use their sketchbook for it! It is his or her book of blank pages for him or her to make their very own mark in. Even if I grade a few assignments in the book throughout the year, it is not mine – it is their property to use for art’s sake.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your sketchbook:
- Take it everywhere! You never know when something might deserve remembrance in your sketchbook. Additionally, if a potential employer happens to notice, you will always have something to show.
- Include a lot of writing and annotations.
- Treat it like a work of Art. Employers will look at your sketchbook like a resume and portfolio. Treating it with the same care as you do your finished works will add to your professionalism.
- Include a lot of contemporary artist research coupled with a few historical artists.
- Add a lot of technical research.
- Consider a handmade sketchbook. Many artists prefer to make their own books to use and some even prefer to use sheets of scrap paper rather than a bound book. You might find these alternatives more conducive to your working atmosphere so always make room for experimenting.
- Add a collage of found objects that you find interesting and design your page around them.
- Collect in the name of sketching! Certain items such as stamps, tags and receipts might give you inspiration.
- Experiment with various tools and materials. Be sure to also organize these materials so that you can easily travel and sketch in any environment without many restrictions and without much mess and frustration.
Melissa McDonald, Oklahoma City Contemporary Art Examiner 2011
If you are having trouble getting started or you are procrastinating click here for advice.
And for further advice, if you find yourself relating to any of these memes, you are better than that (even though I adore #3480)!
For any of you that are on the same page with the captain, willy or the minion…follow my blog + sign-up for remind. You will get email updates on the class and get group reminders texted straight to your phone! It’s a no-brainer.
It will help you avoid this…
and when you are wishing for a better grade…
Remember, I am trying to prepare you for the real world that is lurking beyond these high school walls, however, full of opportunity for the persistent + strong! Use this time to be ready to make your mark on the world!
Again, for all my kiddos and parents, this icon is a direct link to our SKETCHBOOK PAGE!