I've been reading all the posts about sketchbooks and I can't say what I
believe any better than Larry. If you haven't seen his site, I suggest you
I require a sketchbook in all our Fine Arts courses. We make the initial
purchase and the student is expected to have it throughout the sequence of
classes. I have written it into the curriculum and have strong suggestions
for the inclusion of a sketchbook/journal on the elementary and middle
At the high school, I divide the sketchbook into three parts. 1 - teacher
prompts, 2- research and thinking process, and 3- the students own "stuff."
I teach Advanced and AP art and for each project I assign, a sketchbook
assessment is included. I teach that there is no art without thinking, so I
want to see it in the sketchbook. It's part of the training. I try to teach
that art comes from observing and notating and commenting and that no idea
should be disregarded. I check sketchbooks at random. I expect that my
students have it all times.
One more thing. The sketchbook is becoming an important part of college
admission. Sometimes a great sketchbook can get a kid into a good art
school. AND, it will be required in an art school. One of my former
students, at Pratt this year, was required to have a sketchbook for EACH
If my house caught on fire, I would grab the dogs and the sketchbooks first.
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