Sketchbook Assignments

Sketchbook Assignments

Sketchbooks are an indispensable part of every artists life! It is where skills are strengthened and ideas are recorded and worked through. They are essential in developing creativity! Often sketchbooks are used in preparation for upcoming projects and practicing various skills. It should be a place where artists are completely free to experiment and find their visual voice.

Current HS Sketchbook Assignment Handout: SB ASSIGNS-ADV HS ART Q2 2015-16

Past 2015-16 & 2014-15 Assignment Sheets:

Sketchbook Assignments HS Art Q1 2015-16



Great books on building creativity:

These are the requirements for my HS Art Sketchbook Assignments:

You must complete a minimum of 5 assignments listed below in each 9-week period.

  • Drawings should fill the ENTIRE sketchbook page (points will be deducted for small drawings.)
  • Include DETAILS (include textures & value, unless otherwise specified.)
  • Spend a minimum of 45 minutes on each assignment.
  • Each sketchbook assignment counts as a QUIZ grade!
  • Sketchbooks handed in late will be accepted but 30 points removed for lateness, 2 days late will receive a “0”.
  • DRAWINGS NEEDS TO BE FROM DIRECT OBSERVATION ie: you LOOKING at the objects! That means NOT from memory, photos, or imagination. (except where otherwise noted). Pay close attention to proportions (size relationships)

YOU MUST LABEL EACH PICTURE at the top with the appropriate title (ex: SB #1: Black & White Design)

Grading: Total 25 pts. Each
Size 0-5
Effort 0-10
Creativity 0-5
Label 0-5
Total 25 pts.

Sketchbook Assignments:

Below are just some of the sketchbook assignments we have done throughout the years. Not listed are the essential contour line & gesture drawings that are required throughout the year.

Non-Objective Shape Line Design SketchbookSB #1: Black & White Design: Using only simple geometric shapes (circles, squares, rectangles & triangles) create an interesting composition with a focal point. Without outlining any shapes use parallel lines to give different values for each shape. Use only horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines. You can also use Solid black or solid white to fill a shape. Use a ruler & circle templates!! Medium: Sharpies

SB #2: Juxtaposition Drawing: Create a new object by combining 2 unrelated objects-one needs to be from nature, the other needs to be mechanical. Render with full shading. Medium: colored pencil

SB #3: Contour line: Look in your backpack or purse, pull out 5 things you use on a regular basis (phone can not be one!) arrange them in an interesting way, then draw a contour line drawing (outline only) of the composition. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #4: Scissor Metamorphosis: Use a pair of scissors as a beginning point, creatively transform the scissors into something else- a monster, a robot, a machine, a vehicle, an animal. Change its scale & it purpose. Render with full shading. Medium: colored pencils

SB #5: Student Choice: Choose your own subject and complete a drawing using skills & techniques learned in class. Medium: Your Choice

SB #6: Preposterous Cross-links: Choose any 2 words below to combine together in one image:

Turtle      Octopus      Snake        Bird       Bee          Rat    Fish

Pencil      Saw            Hammer    Pliers     Scissors  Tire    Clock

Medium: colored pencil

SB #7: Futuristic Mutation: Take an everyday object and use your imagination to redesign it with a futuristic look. Medium: colored pencils

SB #8: Small world: What if you were the size of an ant, draw the view you would see if you were in a forest looking at ground level looking up. You can have it look cartoon-like, add fantasy creatures (keep them appropriate!) Medium: colored pencils

SB #9: Shoe: Draw one of your shoes from your closet. Or a shoe that you think is very interesting (ballet, boot, etc.) ADD FULL SHADING Medium: colored pencil

SB #10: Wheels: Draw something with wheels (Real or imaginary). Medium: your choice

SB #11: 2D & 3D Arrows: Create a full page composition using a combination of 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional arrows. Use overlapping to break up the spaces into interesting positive and negative shapes. Medium: Outline with sharpie and fill the shapes with markers

SB #12: Non-objective: Create a non-objective drawing using lines, shapes (geometric) & color-use a color scheme! Medium: Markers or colored pencils

SB #13: Pet Portrait: Draw a picture of your pet or the pet you would LOVE to have. Medium: Colored Pencils

SB #14: Skateboard Deck Designs: create TWO designs for the bottom of a skateboard. You can use realistic, abstract or non-objective designs. Keep it CLEAN & appropriate. Medium: Sharpies & Markers

SB #15: Hand Value Study: Draw your hand in 2 different appropriate positions (both on the same page). Render with full shading. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #16: Eye Study: Find 4 different eyes in magazines. Cut them out & glue them to your sketchbook page. Draw the eyes underneath the picture & render with a FULL range of shading. Medium: pencils or colored pencils

SB #17: Color Scheme: Choose your own subject, create an obvious focal point and complete the drawing by coloring it in a color scheme of your choice. Label what color scheme you used next to the title. Medium: Colored Pencils, Paint, or Markers

SB #18: Realistic VS Abstract: Choose one object to draw (an interesting one! NOT simple!) Divide you sketchbook page in half with a pencil line. Label at the top of one side “Realistic” & on the other side label “Abstract.” Under the Realistic side, use a pencil to draw the object as realistically as you possibly can. On the Abstract side, distort your object so that it is still somewhat recognizable-use abstracted colors to color it. Medium: Colored Pencils

SB #19: Crushed Soda Can: Draw a crushed soda can, include details like the logo. Render with full shading. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #20: Worm’s Eye Point of View: Draw your choice of subject matter from a worm’s eye point of view. From below looking up at the subject. Add shading to indicate highlights & shadows. Medium: drawing pencil

SB #21: Bird’s Eye Point of View: Draw your choice of subject matter from a bird’s eye point of view. From above looking down at the subject. Add shading to indicate highlights & shadows. Medium: drawing pencil

SB# 22: Paper Airplane:  Fold a paper airplane, place it in front of you & draw from direct observation as accurately as you can. ADD FULL SHADING Medium: drawing pencil

SB #23: Creative Hand Drawing:  Trace you hand -yes I said Trace your hand on your page (tracing is usually forbidden). Use your imagination to turn you hand into something different. Add details-make it interesting!  Medium: colored pencil

SB #24: Cloth Drawing:   Draw the cloth that is hanging on the art room wall. ADD FULL SHADING Medium: Drawing pencil or Charcoal pencil (spray when finished)

SB #25: Interactive Drawing & PhotoFine a photo either of yourself or someone else (can be from a magazine). Cut the person out & brainstorm how you can create a drawing that combines the two so that they interact with each other. ADD FULL SHADING Medium: drawing pencils

SB #26: Flat to 3D- Come Alive: Look at the two examples below of a flat drawing-mostly lines/no shading that slowly transforms to become 3D with full shading. Design your own drawing that morphs from flat to 3D. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #27: Visual Puns: Illustrate 2  two-word phrase using drawings of objects related to their meanings. Example: hot dog, hair brush, two face, fish face, bone head Medium: colored pencil

SB #28: Procreate Or Sketchbook App Drawing: Use your iPad to create an ORIGINAL drawing of subject matter of your choice.  Medium: ipad

SB #29: Botanical Study: Find a flower or plant from nature. Study it carefully before drawing. Draw the whole plant on 2/3rds of the page. Select 3 areas to “magnify” & draw smaller, partial up-close drawings of those 3 areas including all the details. ADD FULL SHADING Medium: watercolor, watercolor pencil, or drawing pencils

SB #30: Morphing Transformation: Choose 2 two objects (one animal & one man made) to slowly morph into each other. You should have 6 drawings illustrating the transformation of one object into the other. ADD FULL SHADING Medium: drawing pencils

SB #31: Mixed Media Experiments: Have fun experimenting with mixed media techniques. Do the experimenting on other paper, then cut out the different experiments & glue them in your sketchbook. Label each experiment with a brief description of how you created it. Try at least 6 of these different experiments. Use up a minimum of 2 pages in your sketchbook. Medium: various art supplies

SB #32: Collaged Music Sheet Drawing: Glue a music sheet onto a page in your sketchbook-Let it dry completely (do at least one day in advance). Choose an image or two to draw with India ink & draw it directly onto the music sheet. Add color with watercolors or colored pencils. Medium: collage, ink, watercolors or colored pencils

SB #33: Wooden Mannequin Sketches: Use observational drawing skills to draw a wooden mannequin  in 3 different positions. Pay careful attention to proportions-goal is accuracy! Medium: Drawing pencils

SB# 34: Line Inventory: See Liberty HS Art Teacher Page create an empty template — two rows of four squares; one row of four vertical rectangles; and one row of four circles. When you have drawn your blank template, place four different kinds of lines in the first row of squares. Refer to the example below, but do not copy — come up with your own kinds of lines. Then, invent a series of variations on each line in the remaining columns. Medium: ink or sharpie

SB #35: Tool Metamorphosis: See Idea from Stan Winston School Choose a tool (hammer, ax, wrench, pliers, drill) as a beginning point, creatively transform the head of the tool into something else– a monster, a robot, a machine, a vehicle, and instruments, an animal, etc. Change its scale & it purpose. Render with full shading. Medium: colored pencils

SB #36 Balance Sketchbook Assignment: Draw 3 squares or circles. Use shape templates & rulers to create non-objective design examples of each type of balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical, & radial). Use Shape templates to create designs that illustrate each type of balance. Fit ALL designs on one page. Label & color them with colored pencils or markers. Medium: colored pencils or markers

Types of Balance Sketchbook Assignment

Types of Balance Sketchbook Assignment


SB #37 Adult Portrait: Find a frontal view of an adult male or female. Cut it out or print it out. Open your sketchbook so it is showing 2 pages (a spread), glue onto the left side your sketchbook. On the right side use what we learned about adult human facial proportions to draw the portrait from the picture. Use light shading to indicate major values (highlights & shadows) or to lightly shade the nose. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #38 Refraction Drawing: Refraction is the visual distortion that happens when an object is viewed through a glass container filled with water (or some liquid). Find an interesting glass container (drinking glass, vase, jar, etc) and place a spoon or fork inside. Fill the container only half way with water and place it on a light colored surface.  Carefully observe the distortion. Use observational drawing skills to draw the glass, spoon, water & any lights/ shadows you see on the table surface. Medium: drawing pencils

SB #39 Illuminated Letter:  Choose a letter to draw. Go on a computer & play with the letter in different fonts- choose one & print it out. Look up examples of illuminated letters for inspiration. Draw the letter large in your sketchbook in pencil. Add decoration to the letter, possibly even a border Medium: colored pencils, sharpies & markers

SB #40 Fantasy Landscape: Use your imagination to draw a fantasy landscape. It can be anytime period on earth, in space or some other world. What type of plants, flowers, and trees would you see? What does the typography look like? can you see other worlds from the planet you are on? Are there buildings? What is gravity like in the land you are drawing? Medium: colored pencils

SB #41 Sign Language Hands: Choose either a short word(3-4 letters) or your initials. Using the sign language alphabet, finger spell each letter and draw each hand position. See Sign Language Chart  Medium: drawing pencils

Additional Sketchbook Resources:

3 CHEAP and EASY Techniques for Sketchbook-Making





Other HS Art Project Ideas

Have you done any unique sketchbook assignments with your students? If so, I would love to hear about them!

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