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Basic Art: Sketchbook 1, Due Friday Feb. 21st

Directions:  Your first assignment is about getting over the fear of a blank book and allowing for freedom and creativity. You will simply be covering pages with backgrounds and borders that will be drawn over top of in future assignments. Each page can now be “used” and hopefully the white page syndrome of the sketchbook will fall by the wayside. Remember you are not creating finished works, but creating interesting surfaces or borders to draw onto later.


You could draw a border around a page that is made up of doodles with pencil or pen-Put your drawing tool on a page -Close your eyes and draw for 30 seconds - Create a two color wash on the page.(wash=watered down paint, or watercolor) - Collage text on the page - Scribble on the page with pencil; blend with a paper towel to create a value - Create a one color wash on the page - Cut squares in the page - Draw a childlike drawing on the page and paint over it - Create a repetitive pattern on the page using a geometric shape - Find a simple object and cover the page with simple contour drawings of it - Using muted colors paint a page - Create a texture on the page with paint by lifting paint with a towel - Create a negative space painting with a wash - Cover the page with writing about your first day and summer - Collage random pieces on the page - Cut strips of colored paper and glue to the surface - Doodle on the page with a pen - Trade books and have another student treat the surface of a page - Tear a page out and re-collage onto another page - Find a leaf outside - Represent the leaf in some way on the page.

Basic Art: Sketchbook 2, Due Friday Feb. 28th


Draw the contents of your desk drawer

Just before your room is cleaned, draw it

Inside of your refrigerator

Inside your garage

Draw your dad’s work table

Before the dishes are washed, draw them

a pile of laundry waiting to get washed

yourself in a mirror

your brother/sister doing an activity, such as playing video games

your friend, or an enemy

yourself your toenails

your hand holding an object that is important to you.

your bird, cat, dog, fish, snake, leopard, lobster doing something strange

what is in the rear-view mirror of your car

Illustrate a famous saying/quotation

Create your own storyboard/ comic strip.

Draw your favorite cartoon character with background.

Create a new cover for the book you are now reading

Design a house that you would like to live in

Write a large number in the middle of the page.  Turn it into a person/animal.

Draw a picture.  Cut your picture into squares.  Glue the squares in a new design.

Basic Art: Sketchbook 3, March 6th

Sketchb 1: 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.  Try to draw it with full shading . 

Sketch 2: Student Choice:  Choose your own subject and complete a drawing using skills & techniques learned in class.

Sketch 3: Preposterous Cross-links:  Choose 2 things from this list and combine them together into one image/creature/thing:

Turtle      Octopus      Snake        Bird       Bee          Rat    Fish      Cat

Pencil      Saw            Hammer    Pliers     ScissorsTire    Clock   Drum

Sketch 4: : Futuristic Mutation:  Take an everyday object and use your imagination to redesign it with a futuristic look. 

Basic Art: Sketchbook 4, Friday March 13th

Sketch 1: 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 or make it realistic

Sketch 2: Shoe Draw one of your shoes from your closet. Or a shoe that you think is very interesting (ballet, boot, etc.) 

Sketch 3: 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.  Possible Medium:   Outline with sharpie and fill the shapes with markers

Sketch 4: Pet Portrait:  Draw a picture of your pet or the pet you would LOVE to have.  Possible Medium:   Colored Pencils

Basic Art: Sketchbook 5, Friday March 20th

Sketch 1: 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.  Possible Medium:  Sharpies & Markers

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

Sketch 3: 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. Possible Medium:  pencils or colored pencils

Sketch 4: 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.  Possible Medium:   Colored Pencils

Basic Art: Sketchbook 6, Friday March 27th

a dead bird in a beautiful landscape

a flower growing next to a turned over garbage can

a piece of cake and make it look delicious

eggs in the shell, scrambled, then over easy

one popcorn kernel popping, draw an opened bag of popcorn

a raw steak, steak bones

moving water, still water

a clear glass full of ice cubes

an object when looking through a tube or a microscope

an object seen through glass (how does the glass make a difference)

something floating, like a boat or a beach ball

a dark object in a light environment

 Fill in the hole, partially cover up the object, draw it emerging from the ground.

Find a quiet place in a crowd, draw the crowd

Find a quiet place, draw the quiet

 Find a noisy place, draw noise

On the school bus, draw your friends on the way to school, draw your friends on the way home Is there a difference?

Shine a light through an open structure such as a woven basket, draw the cast shadow

an object that is lit by the light coming through mini blinds

Basic Art: Sketchbook 7, Friday April 3rd

This week I'd like to for you just draw what you like, what you enjoy, what interests you. Use whatever materials are of interest, whatever techniques. DRAW ON FOUR PAGES. 

Basic Art: Sketchbook 8, Friday April 10th


Basic Art: Sketchbook 9, Friday April 24th

Create FOUR Drawings/Paintings/Collages of images from Art History. Choose four artists from the list below, look them up on Google Images and copy one of the images. Please label your pictures. 

Leonardo da Vinci  -  Michelangelo  -  Johannes Vermeer  -  Paul Cézanne  -  Mary Cassat  -   Goya  -   Georgia O’Keeffe  -  

Andy Warhol  -  Roy Lichtenstein   -  Jasper Johns     -   Wayne Thiebaud  -  Claude Monet   -    Edgar Degas   -   Pierre-Auguste Renoir  

Basic Art: Sketchbook 10, Friday May 1st

Sketch 1: Crushed Soda Can:  Draw a crushed soda can, include details like the logo. Render with full shading.  Possible Medium:  drawing pencils

Sketch 2: 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. Possible Medium:   drawing pencil

Sketch 3:   Paper Airplane:   Fold a paper airplane, place it in front of you & draw from direct observation as accurately as you can. ADD FULL SHADING Possible Meddium:  drawing pencil

Sketch 4: Creative Hand Drawing:   Trace you hand -yes Trace your hand on your page. Use your imagination to turn you hand into something different. Add details-make it interesting!    Possible Medium:  colored pencil

Basic Art: Sketchbook 11, Friday May 8th

Sketch 1: Visual Puns : Illustrate 2two-word phrase using drawings of objects related to their meanings. Example: hot dog, hair brush, two face, fish face, bone head Possible Medium:   colored pencil

Sketch 2: 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 Possible Medium:  watercolor, watercolor pencil, or drawing pencils

Sketch 3: Morphing Transformation:  Choose 2 two objects (one animal & one man made) to slowly morph into each other. You should try to have 6 drawings illustrating the transformation of one object into the other. ADD FULL SHADING Possible Medium:  drawing pencils

Sketchbook4: 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 4 of these different experiments. Use up a minimum of 2 pages in your sketchbook.  Possible Medium:  various art supplies

Basic Art: Sketchbook 12, Friday May 15th


Basic Art: Sketchbook 13, Friday May 22nd

FAN ART CHALLENGE - Choose FOUR fan character art prompts from the list and make FOUR sketches/drawings. Color optional.

"Fan Art" as defined by Urban Dictionary: Art of any form, usually electronic or drawn free hand, that uses characters or settings from a popular television show, novel, cartoon, anime, or movie as the subject

 1. A character you’ve always wanted to draw

2. A villainous character

3. A nonhuman character

4. A character becoming very, very angry

5. Characters playing a video game

6. A character with an animal

7. Two characters from opposite sides (of a civil war, a ship war, an intergalactic war)

8. A character as a superhero

9. A big tough character posing for a selfie.

10. A character as a pretty princess

11. Characters all done up for Halloween!

12. An animated/comics character in a realistic style

13. A real character in a cartoonish style

14. A character with a deep love of technology/machines

15. Characters dancing

16. Characters working together.

17. A blossoming, cross-fandom romance - in an AU

18.  Multi-Fandom Party!

Basic Art: Sketchbook 14, Friday May 29th






GEMINI  - MAY 21 - JUNE 20


LEO  - JULY 23 - AUGUST 22






Basic Art: Sketchbook 15, Friday June 5th

FREEK DRAW WEEK! This week I'd like you to draw/paint/collage whatever you want. It could be what you like, what you enjoy, what interests you. It could be practicing a technique or just drawing something you think looks cool.  Use whatever materials are of interest, whatever techniques. DRAW ON FOUR PAGES, IF you are out of blank pages then work on top of old pages.

Basic Art: Sketchbook 16, Friday June 12th

Drawing&painting: sketchbook assignment 1, due 9/23, drawing&painting: sketchbook assignment 2, due friday 9/30.

Sketch1: Complete a contour line drawing(outline) of any subject

 Sketch 2: Complete a second contour line drawing(outline) of any subject

 Sketch 3: Create a blind contour(don’t look at the paper), in which do not look at your paper or lift your pencil. Any subject  

 Sketch 4: Lines can be used to create patterns. Draw four identical boxes and fill each box with repeated lines that show different patterns.

 Feel free to add color to any assignment!

 Drawing&Painting: Sketchbook Assignment 3, Due Friday 10/7

 Choose four of the prompts to inspire your FOUR sketches this week.  Try to incorporate any drawing techniques we are currently working on in class. 

  The seasons                                                             Pairs 

Paris                                                                           Home is where...

 All that glitters...                                                       The senses 

 Threads                                                                   It's my nature 

Take cover                                                   It's not easy being green Color outside the lines                             Hot and cold 

 Lemon Yellow                                                       Forest Floor

Black and White & red all over                  sunset 

 Metallics                                                                  Autumn

Food                                                                           A Pet

Liquid                                                             Halloween

Drawing&Painting: Sketchbook Assignment 4, Due Monday 10/17

 this week i would like you to research some artists. choose four artists from the list and research their work, sketch one of their pieces of art, write down the name and date it was created. .

                          Da Vinci                     Rembrandt                Michelangelo

Claude Monet               Edgar Degas                  Pierre-Auguste Renoir                      Mary Cassat      or     Paul Cezanne  orGeorgia O’Keefe

Andy Warhol-   Roy Lichtenstein-   Jasper Johns     -   Wayne Thiebaud 

                                                OrClaes Oldenburg          

Drawing&Painting:  Sketchbook Assignment 5, Due Friday 10/21

 The Elements of art: Line, Shape, Space, Texture, Form, Color and Value

 Fill four pages with drawing, painting and/or collaging. The images must include examples of each of the 7 elements of art. Please label the elements on your pages.

Drawing&Painting:  Sketchbook Assignment 6, Due Friday 10/28

 Page 1: Make 15-20 gesture drawings on one page, but only take one minute per drawing

Sketch 2: Set up a still life of 3 or more objects and draw them using shading and value.  Try to draw them to scale and with the proportions correct.

 Sketch 3: This time draw the same still life but from a different angle like from above or below. Also, try a new media or a new approach to the drawing. For example, try using contour lines.

 Sketch 4: Practice shading a sphere, cone or Cube.

 Drawing&Painting:  Sketchbook Assignment 7, Due Friday 11/4

Make four images in your sketchbook either a drawing, painting, writing or collage. each image should have something to do with the following themes. .

 Sketch 1 - Theme: THE ENVIRONMENT


 Sketch 3 - Theme of MUSIC.


Drawing&Painting:  Sketchbook Assignment 8, Due Friday 11/11

  FOUR DRAWINGS : You can draw, paint, OR collage anything you feel inspired to create! Have fun.

Drawing&Painting: Sketchbook Assignment 9, Due Friday 11/18

Choose four of the prompts to inspire your FOUR sketches this week.  Try to incorporate any drawing techniques we are currently working on in class. 

  A Pattern                               Oops. Wrong Color?

Lonely…object                        Messiest vs. cleanest

A Contradiction             Ballpoint pen only!

Items in my backpack   Music to my ears

Normal                                  Not Normal

Plugged in.                    Strange Portrait

Animal Patterns            Rearview mirror of the car.

Draw yourself as an original superhero.

Make a drawing that looks sticky.

Draw a mysterious doorway or staircase.

Find a trash can. Draw its contents.

Copy a famous artist found online

Sketchbook Assignment 10, Due Friday 12/2

Sketch 1: Collage a color wheel design using scraps of paper found in my scrap bin, old magazines or any source of old paper.  It must include REDs, ORANGEs, YELLOWs, GREENs, BLUEs, and PURPLEs

Sketch 2, 3 and 4 : Choose three of the following prompts and make a sketch inspired by the prompt. Please try to incorporate color.

Draw a slice of the best pizza you have ever seen , Draw junk food and the wrapper,  Draw your favorite food,  Create your own restaurant. Draw the restaurant or the inside or outside,  Draw the ingredients or process of your favorite recipe,  Draw salt and pepper shakers,  Draw fresh fruit or vegetables, or something fresh from the oven,   Draw a salad.,  Draw the oldest thing in your refrigerator.,  Make a drawing that is totally truthful.   Make a drawing that lies all over the place.  Make a drawing that is completely and utterly impossible.  Story Illustration: Fix a story that you don’t like, or reflect/improve upon one you do.   Let someone else choose your subject and tell you what to draw.   Draw your greatest fear. Use song lyrics, quotes, or poetry to inspire a drawing.    Find the three most useless objects you can and draw them.   Draw an interesting form of transportation.  Draw something for which you are thankful.  Go somewhere new and draw what you see.  Draw something that can’t be turned off.   Draw something soothing.  Draw something you think sounds or smells incredible.  Draw something that needs fixing.   Draw something you’ve always wanted.  Draw something out of place.Draw something that should have been invented by now.  Draw something you keep putting off, or something that causes you to procrastinate.Draw everything on a restaurant table.Draw your hand. Draw your friend’s hand. Draw a stranger’s hand. Draw a teacher teaching.   Draw a teacher on their computer.   Draw a teacher helping a student.   Draw a classmate that doesn’t know you are drawing them.  Draw a group of students in a class.

Sketchbook Assignment 11, Due Friday 12/9


  Sketch 1: Draw a regular geometric style pattern of shapes on a past assignment.

Sketch 2: Use letters and numbers to make a design BUT DO NOT try to make it say anything. It should be something inscrutable. Remember, make this over a previous homework or classwork assignment.

Sketch 3: Make a pattern based on something you would see in nature, think close up.  Example: tree bark

Again, make this over a previous homework or classwork assignment

Sketch 4: Add on to another weeks drawing in some creative way. For example, draw an animal eating out of one of the previous vases/bowls you drew or.....

Sketchbook Assignment 12, Due Friday 12/16

 Sketch 1: Sketch a winter landscape. Consider foreground, middleground and background in your composition.

Sketch 2 : Sketch a tree that is specific to your favorite season.

Sketch 3: Sketch a landscape that takes place in summer. Think about adding clouds, sky, water and/or a horizon line. The location of this sketch can take place anywhere.

Sketch 4: Sketch an unrealistic landscape. Consider an imaginary place, perhaps from a book or film. 

Sketchbook Assignment 13, Due Friday 1/6

 Sketch 1: Find a face in a magazine. Cut it out, cut it in half and glue the half into your sketchbook. Now draw and shade the missing half of the face.

 Sketch 2: Find another interesting picture in a magazine, cut it out and glue it in to your sketchbook. Now draw and add onto the photo in some creative way.

 Sketch 3: Find a Word or a group of words in a magazine or old book, cut it out and paste it into your sketchbook. Make a drawing in and around the word and try to incorporate the word into a drawing composition.

 Sketch 4: Repeat one of the previous criteria in sketch 1, 2 OR 3.

 NO school Friday 1/13 and Monday 1/16 so NO sketchbook during this time

 Sketchbook Assignment 15, Due Friday 1/20

 Focus on The Principles of Design this week.

 Sketch 1: Create a Free Draw that shows symmetrical balance. Consider the principles of compositional movement when sketching your design.

Sketch 2: Create a Free Draw that shows asymmetrical balance. Consider the principles of compositional movement when sketching your design.

 Sketch 3: Create a Free Draw that incorporates and focuses on the Principle of Pattern and Rhythm. Consider trying an organic pattern with flowing irregular rhythm.

 Sketch 4: Create a Free Draw that uses the Principle of Contrast to show an image with an Emphasis or a focal point.

 Sketchbook Assignment 16, Due Friday 1/27

 Focus on Portraiture this week.

Sketch1 : An easy way to learn to draw the person is by drawing the figure from a back view. Drawing a figure from the back minimizes details, stresses shape and contour and eliminates the face. Try it, draw a person from behind. To make your composition interesting and exciting, emphasize an element or principle of design.

Sketch 2: Draw a person’s head and face using exaggeration to communicate emotion. Work from a live model if possible. First use a pencil to make a general drawing. Note the shapes and planes of the face and how they fit together. Then continue over the drawing with a darker media. Utilize strong contrast to greatly exaggerate the areas you want to emphasize.

Sketch 3 : Draw someone from real life, attempt a realistic drawing.

Sketch 4 : Sketch a famous actor, actress, musician, artist, politician, writer OR superhero.

 Last Day of the Semester is Feb. 2nd so the final week of class will be a “Redemption Sketchbook” week. Those of you that want to make up an assignment from 2nd quarter, this is the week to do it. You can only make up one sketchbook assignment.



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School of Atelier Arts

Drawing Assignments for High School Students

These drawing assignments for high school students are perfect for helping your students learn how to draw at a higher level.

Drawing Assignments to Help Your Students Draw People Better

So your students want to draw people that look “real”, but they never come out quite right.

Most often this is because students focus on drawing details like eyelashes or strands of hair.

For successful figure drawings, however, students need to draw the most important concepts first: proportion and gesture.

Teaching your students how to draw people with correct proportions is a game-changer for getting their figures to look “real”.

Gesture is equally important, because without it drawings of people look like wooden statues.

This free drawing assignment lesson plan shows your students how to get consistently good proportions and figure gestures in their drawings.

drawing assignments for high school students

Drawing Assignments that Teach Your Students About Edges

Edges are the often-neglected but oh-so-important workhorse of drawing. Understanding and applying good edgework in drawings takes students to the next level.

Often, we art teachers spend a lot of time teaching drawing assignments about values – how light and dark to shade things in a drawing.

But JUST AS IMPORTANT is what happens when one value meets another value.

Does the light value meet the dark value abruptly? Or is it a soft transition?

Edgework is actually quite a simple drawing skill to teach, and this free edges drawing assignment will help your students learn how to master the concept.

drawing assignments for high school students

Drawing Assignments that Teach Texture

Texture is a skill that is always impressive when seen, but often a confusing concept for students.

“Shiny” is perhaps the most impressive texture of all to see in a drawing, and is actually one of the easiest textures to achieve in a short drawing assignment.

In this free drawing lesson, students will discover how to manipulate values to create a drawing of a shiny object.

Drawing Assignments for High School Students

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The Art Assignment is a book!

New assignments, along with a selection gathered during the course of making the series, is available for sale in the usual places books are sold. if your favorite local book shop or library doesn’t have it in stock, ask for it, you are an artist includes over 50 assignments from some of the most innovative artists making work today. you’ll learn about why these artists are offering each assignment, what works from art history inform the activity, and see some of the outstanding responses that have been made to the assignments. it also offers a plethora of new tips and cheats and variations., made something and want to share it post to instagram with #youareanartist, home    about   assignments   faq, episodes:  assignments    art cooking   special topics   the case for art trips better know.

PHS Visual Art Department

a drawing assignment

Sketchbook Assignments

Sketchbook assignment 5:  halloween/autumn drawing, sketchbook assignment 6:  doodle for google, sketchbook assignment 10 :.

Sketchbook Assignment 11:  Present Bow


Sketchbook Assignment 12:  Compass Composition

Sketchbook Assignment 13:  Key Value Study

Sketchbook Assignment 14:  Mandala

Sketchbook Assignment 15:  World inside a Lightbulb!

Sketchbook assignment 16:  what is in you heart, sketchbook assignment 17:  painted value scales:   ​tints and shades.


Sketchbook Assignment 18:  Dry Brushed Sphere!

Sketchbook assignment 19:  non-objective mini paintings.

Sketchbook Assignment 20: Snapchat Selfie!

Sketchbook assignment 21:  hand holding an object, sketchbook assignment #22:  watercolor techniques.

Sketchbook Assignment #23:  6 "Drawings in the Round"


Sketchbook Assignment #24:  Crumpled Paper!


Sketchbook Assignment #25:  "Slice of Heaven"


Hand holding an object!

a drawing assignment

a drawing assignment

Click on the image to read more about classroom rituals This page © Marvin Bartel, instructor - updated 1-9-2002

Drawn From Life

WEEK 4 FIGURE DRAWING   —   Human proportions — putting it all together!

Lightly draw a straight vertical line, indicating where the figure will be placed on your paper. Next, put a short horizontal line at both the top and bottom of your paper, which will indicate the top of the model’s head and the bottom of his/her feet. With another short horizontal line, divide the vertical line in half, then add two more lines dissecting it into equal quarters.

According to the standard canon (used by Leonardo) the points of the line will be as follows: the midpoint should be at the hip joint (NOT the waist); the knee is located midway between the hips and the bottom of the feet. The upper part of the body is divided by head lengths: from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin, then from the chin to the mid-chest (just at or above the nipples); from mid-chest to navel, and then from navel to hips.

You will probably find that you have to made some adjustments to the horizontal lines drawn on the vertical to establish the body’s true midpoint and placement of the knees, navel and mid-chest points.

Hold your pencil out horizontally (as if it were a level) and establish the position and angles of the feet, knees, hips and shoulders. Mark these positions with a line, carefully indicating the correct angles.

Use an oval to suggest general shape of the head, then straight lines running through the center of the limbs from joint to joint. (To check on the location of the joints, hold the pencil at arm’s length and sight both horizontally and vertically to see how these points line up with other parts of the body, e.g. you may find that an elbow is at the same height of the navel, or that the ankle bone is directly below the ear, etc.)

To plot the width of things, compare the horizontal widths with the vertical proportions you have already plotted. For example, the width of the shoulders can be compared to the length of the head. These proportions should be lightly inscribed with straight lines. Before adding contours, step back and check on your proportions. Being able to see the entire figure at a glance, you can see and compare the proportional relationships directly. Make any necessary adjustments and then you are ready to proceed with contours, adding details and value as necessary.

Faces: Consult the diagram on proportions of the head. Note that generally the eyes are in the middle of a person’s face (not counting their hair) and that ears are on the same level as the eyebrows and the bottom of the nose.

Assignment: 1) Using a mirror (and what you know from the face-diagram) draw a self-portrait as accurately as you can. 2) Using the illustrations as a guide, draw a life-size skull; then draw your own facial features right over the top of your skull drawing.

3) Draw as many portraits of other people as possible, paying special attention to the differences between the canon of a standard head and the reality of an individual’s features.

Body Proportions 1

Face and skull proportions

Face and skull proportions

© 2023 Drawn From Life The Evergreen State College Olympia, Washington

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Sketchbook Assignment

An easy way to keep a daily visual diary.

Here's a fun sketchbook assignment for art students, artists, travelers, and anyone who would like to keep a daily visual record of their thoughts, impressions and surroundings.

If you'd like to...

...then this Daily Visual Diary sketchbook assignment is for you! Even if you only have 15 minutes a day to draw and sketch, you can participate in this sketchbook assignment. This project is very versatile, so you can adapt it to suit your needs and your style.

Here's how it goes:

First, create a grid in any size you want, as long as it takes up a whole page in your sketchbook. You can draw a "normal" grid, like this:

Blank Grid for our sketchbook assignment

...or if straight lines and edges aren't your thing, you can get creative and make a grid out of different shapes!

Here is a grid I made out of irregular squares and circles:

Squares and circles for our sketchbook assignment

As you can see, you can interpret the "grid" in any way you want! Have fun with it. In my grid, the shapes don't even touch one another, and that's totally okay.

Now that you've drawn your grid (or conglomeration of shapes), your sketchbook assignment is to fill in each of the squares or shapes one day at a time. By filling in one shape at a time, you thus create a visual diary of exactly where you were at that certain intersection of space and time. 

It's pretty cool when you finish and you can look back at each shape and remember, "Oh yes, that's where I was that day!" and suddenly you can recall exactly where you were, who you were with, how you were feeling, and a ton of other things that might otherwise have gotten lost in the stream of time.

Start with any shape you want - some people like going in a linear manner, starting from the top left and moving straight across before moving onto the next row. Others, like me, choose a random shape and fill it in on a whim:

Sketchbook Assignment Beginning

For my first drawing, I doodled a star design inside a square. I considered this my "warm-up drawing", to get me in the groove for this sketchbook assignment.

The next day, I picked another random square and drew something more representional - the top of a mountain as I sat on a bench in Switzerland:

Sketchbook Assignment with Thaneeya

Although it can be fun to fill in a different part of the grid each day, I have to admit that I didn't manage to keep that schedule for this sketchbook assignment. Here's what I did instead:

I carried this grid with me in my sketchbook as I traveled across 3 continents and 1 ocean: from Switzerland to Italy to England, then across the Atlantic on a ship, then from Florida to Australia. The journey took 4 months in total and whenever the moment felt right, I pulled out my sketchbook and added to the grid.

The result is a visual diary that captures my experience of each place, translated into imagery.

As you can see, some drawings are abstract and others are more representational. I felt that the mixture of styles helped to embody my mood and state of mind at each particular juncture in time.

Visual Diary by Thaneeya McArdle

Even if the final drawing doesn't "make sense" to anyone else, it speaks to me of my journey. When I look at this drawing, I see the frosty chisel of Alpine peaks, the top of Brunelleschi's dome, the inside of a Swiss lodge, Montepulciano at night, the churning of waves across the Atlantic, and the peaceful calm of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens.

The memories are crisp and specific, triggered by these simple 10-15 minute drawings.

This sketchbook assignment is great because there is very little pressure involved. You don't have to be a "good" drawer, and you only need to spend 10-15 minutes on it per day. It's a fun ongoing project to keep on the side while you work on other projects and go about your daily life.

All you need to participate in this sketchbook assignment is paper and a pencil. However, a sketchbook is more ideal because then the drawing will be safe from creasing or from getting lost, whereas a loose sheet of paper might easily get lost or damaged.

Sketchbook Assignment Variations

Visual Journal by Thaneeya McArdle

After you finish filling in your grid, you can fill in the background (if there is one). For instance, I could brush black ink in the background of my grid (as shown above), which creates the feeling even more that each shape is a little portal (or porthole) into another world.

You could color in the background in any way you want, using markers, pens, colored pencils, etc. Similarly, even though I did my sketchbook assignment in pencil, you could draw yours in markers, colored pencils, pens - whatever you fancy.

Here's another idea: cut out each square of the grid and make a collage, or paste them onto handmade paper:

Visual Diary with Handmade Paper

Another idea is to create a painting in this manner. Divide a canvas into different sections, and work on one section per day.

Or how about spending 10-15 minutes each day drawing on a small, 2" x 2" piece of paper. After a month, you will have 30 or so small drawings that you can stitch together to create a handmade art book.

Drawing every day can be relaxing and therapeutic. Some people don't draw (as much as they would like to) because they think they don't have enough time. They worry that they would have nothing to show for it if they only spend a few minutes each day sketching.

Well, if you carry out this sketchbook assignment, you'll end up with an intricate and inspiring grid full of art - a sizable achievement accomplished in little steps!

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