My students make their sketchbooks as a design project. I provide three
metal rings which have hinges that are easy to open when new paper needs to
be added (purchased by the box at Office Depot). They are responsible for
cutting appropiately sized cardboard for the covers from boxes the
cafeteria discards. I have examples of bookmaking projects, so they are
aware of what design options are open to them. Most use white glue, tissue
paper, collage of their own drawings, a variety of specialty papers, etc.
The edges must be worked as well as both sides of each piece. Finished
covers are sealed with clear acrylic spray (done in mass outside). Good
design and originality are the goal and the students really get into it. I
stick with 8 1/2 by 11 inch pages and each two weeks they receive a xeroxed
set of assignments which is put into thier books before the next set of
drawing paper is added. I also use sulfite paper for the drawing pages.
The students cut that to the correct size and use a three hole punch.
Those students who use academic research and literary sources can use
regular notebook paper and printouts from the computer in the books also.
As the students mature they are more serious about saving the things that
help them develop their ideas. It helps the newer students to see the
books that have research and planning sketches along side the products that
We've been doing this for three years now and it hasn't exasperated me yet.
Though it is more difficult than purchasing sketchbook for the kids, I
think it is worth the effort and it is inexpensive. Because many of the
students are so proud of the cover they do a much better job of using the
inside. We exhibit some of them along with their matted work, canvases,
and three-dimensional work at our art shows.