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High School Sketchbook Assignment Ideas

Sketchbook Assignment 5:  Halloween/Autumn Drawing

This is a drawing from imagination assignment.
Students are able to choose their media for the drawing.
Grading will be based on time and effort put into the drawing (minimum of 50 minutes).

Sketchbook Assignment 6:  Doodle for Google!

Sketchbook Assignment 10 :

Twenty "artist" signatures.
Any medium.
Variety... twenty DIFFERENT signatures:
  • TEN experiments in types of font, handwriting, size, shape, etc.
  • TEN experiments in logos, symbols, initials, etc.
Search for uniqueness that carries the weight of a recognizable "brand" (you!).
Circle three that are your favorite or that you might actually use on your art.

DUE Friday, December 4th

Sketchbook Assignment 11:  Present Bow

Draw a Christmas bow from observation.
Colored pencil on black paper.
Paper can then get taped into your sketchbook.
Considerations:
  • Begin with contour
  • Value:  highlights and shadows
  • Gradation:  smooth transition between values
  • Texture:  creating a shiny illusion

Due Tuesday, December 15th


Sketchbook Assignment 12:  Compass Composition

Begin layout of composition by using a pencil and compass
  • use the compass to create overlapping circles of various sizes
  • use the whole page--some circles should go off the page
  • use a sharpie marker to color in shapes created by the overlapping circles
  • consider composition:  balance of positive and negative space, balance of "busy" and "restful"
Due Friday, January 8th

Sketchbook Assignment 13:  Key Value Study

  • Divide your sketchbook page into six, 3" x 3" squares
  • In each square, draw a different section of a key.  You may use different keys.
  • Work from observation.
  • Use graphite/pencil.
  • Shade in each square (using a full range of value) in such a way that you create contrast between the squares (See examples).
  • Due Friday, January 15th--Last sketchbook assignment of the semester!

Sketchbook Assignment 14:  Mandala

Mandalas are radial designs, often using repetitive, geometric patterns starting from a central dot and working outward.
  • Your mandala may be black and white, or you may add color.
  • Craftsmanship is important:  neat and careful work.
Due Wednesday, January 27th!

Sketchbook Assignment 15:  World inside a Lightbulb!

Due Thursday, February 4th!

Sketchbook Assignment 16:  What is in you heart?

Sketchbook Assignment 17:  Painted Value Scales:  
​Tints and Shades

  • Draw two 7" value scales either in your sketchbook or on a separate scrap of paper.
  • Divide value scale into 1" sections
  • Designate one value scale for tints and one for shades
  • Strive to make each section a different value!

Sketchbook Assignment 18:  Dry Brushed Sphere!

In this exercise, students will experiment with the dry brushing technique.
Trace around something circular.
Paint the circle a flat color.
Add highlights and shadows using the dry brush technique so that the circle begins to take on the illusion of a sphere.

Sketchbook Assignment 19:  Non-objective Mini Paintings

Choose a color scheme for each mini-painting. 
Experiment with color, shape, line and texture.
These paintings should be non-objective: no attempted to create anything recognizable!  The focus is on art elements and overall composition.
Possible color schemes:
  • monochromatic
  • analogous
  • complementary
  • split complementary
  • double complementary
  • triadic

Sketchbook Assignment 20: Snapchat Selfie!

Take a selfie and alter yourself using a snapchat app or other photo editing filter/app/program.
Draw and embellish using your own choice of medium/media!

Sketchbook Assignment 21:  Hand Holding an Object!

Draw from observation:  your own hand!
Start with a contour line drawing.
Shade:  use a full range of value to help describe form.
Don't forget to use the eraser as a drawing tool!

Sketchbook Assignment #22:  Watercolor Techniques

Practice a minimum of eight different watercolor techniques on the strips of watercolor paper provided in class.
These should be non-objective studies.
Possible techniques (See Weebly page:  Art I, Watercolor Techniques for more information):
  • wet on wet
  • wet on dry
  • salt
  • rice
  • rubbing alcohol
  • plastic wrap
  • stencil
  • dry-brush
  • wax resist

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

Draw 6 circles in your sketchbook.
Create a drawing within the circle boundaries.
Challenge yourself with the idea or concept of the drawing.  For example, don't draw obvious round things:  apple, basketball etc...

Sketchbook Assignment #24:  Crumpled Paper!

This is an observational drawing.  You must draw by looking at an actual piece of paper, not a photo of one.
  • Partially crumple up a piece of paper and decide what angle you are going to work with.
  • Lay out your composition by "clocking angles" you see in the paper still life.
  • Shade the drawing using a FULL range of value, making sure to make your darks, DARK!
  • Over exaggerate highlights and shadows so that you create contrast in your drawing.
  • Eliminate most lines from your drawing, using value to define the form.

Sketchbook Assignment #25:  "Slice of Heaven"

This is a drawing from imagination assignment.
Draw your version of what you consider to be "a slice of heaven".
You may choose your media:  graphite, colored pencil, ink, watercolor, mixed, etc...
The main objective of this assignment is individual creativity.

Hand holding an object!

Draw and shade a hand holding an object as realistically as possible.

Sketchbook Assignment 1:  
​Value Scale

Students will create a graphite value scale using a full range of value and intentional surface texture.

Student Examples

Sketchbook Assignment 2: Personal logo

Students were asked to think about at least three interests or aspects of their personality and incorporate them into a drawing.  Two important considerations of this assignment are:  
  • creating a cohesive, dynamic composition
  • using a full range of value 

Student Examples

Sketchbook Assignment 3:
​Facial Features


This sketchbook assignment gives students practice drawing facial features.  With this 15 point assignment, each student will work from reference photos and will draw one eye, one nose and one mouth.  Drawings should be as realistic as possible and should show a full range of value.

Student Examples

Sketchbook Assignment 4:
​Keyhole

This is a drawing from imagination assignment.  Students were asked to use their imagination and draw what they think they might see if they looked through a keyhole.  There is no "right" or "wrong" way to approach this assignment.  Grades will be based on effort, imaginative solutions and demonstrating an understanding of how to use a full range of value in a graphite drawing.
Students are asked to imagine what they think the future will look like using font and imagery to spell out the letters G-O-O-G-L-E.
Students may choose media (art materials).
First draft due:  Thursday, Nov. 17th

​https://doodles.google.com/d4g/

Sketchbook Assignment:  Pop can

This is a drawing from observation assignment.  Students are working on drawing what they see--in this case, a pop can sitting right in front of them.  Students will start off laying out the form of the can using directional and contour lines.  They will then add detail and shade using a full range of value.

Sketchbook Assignment 6:
​Phobias

Go to this link: PHOBIAS
Create an interpretation or representation of a phobia. Have fun or be scary! 
Fill a page of your sketchbook. Render shading and detail. (May use color.)
Minimum of 50 minutes spent on drawing. 
Write the name of the phobia on your drawing.

Due Friday, November 6th. 

Student Examples

Sketchbook Assignment 
Food Observation
​Due Tuesday, Nov. 29th

Observational drawing of food item(s) or food wrapper.

TEXTURE is very important in this assignment because texture will be the real "selling point" for the convincing realism of the drawing.
Spend a minimum of 50 minutes on drawing.
Render realistically - color or graphite shading.

DUE Friday, November 13th.

Sketchbook Assignment 9:
Magazine "Springboard"

Start with a cut-out image or pattern from a magazine.
Complete an imaginary drawing based off of that magazine cut-out.

Try to think creatively about your cut-out : such as a surreal environment, unusual combination, or creative interpretation.
For example, if you cut out a banana... I want you to draw something less obvious than a monkey holding the banana. Unless that monkey is radioactive and the banana is his crime-fighting weapon...

Render. Spend a minimum of 50 minutes on assignment.
Full page.
DUE Friday, December 4th

Internet examples:

Students examples:

  • Draw an imaginary world inside a light bulb.  
  • Use graphite or colored pencil.

Draw a human heart and embellish it with imagery related to what is in your heart (what you hold close to you/what is important to you).

Students may choose their media.
Possibilities:  
  • graphite 
  • ink
  • colored pencil
  • collage, watercolor
  • mixed media

Due Friday, February 12
A tint is a color + white
A shade is a color + black
Complementary:  Colors across from one another on the color wheel.                            
Monochromatic:  One color + black and white
Triadic:  Colors equally spaced from one another on the color wheel.  In this case--secondary colors.

The collected assignment ideas here are results and adaptations of our exposures and experiences as public school studio art teachers. Every teacher will find different ways to use them within their curriculum. We encourage you to modify, combine, adapt, and stretch them in any way you need to enhance and support your studio art lessons and objectives.

At our school we choose to assign one sketchbook assignment per week as homework, due one week later. When possible, handouts have been compressed to fit one half page, so teachers can fit two on a page to save photocopy costs. Additional comments for teachers are added at the bottom of handouts where they can be easily cut away before running class copies.

Classroom Procedure Example:

  • A "New Sketchbook Assignment" Box is available and identified in the classroom.
  • New assignments are placed there each Thursday, and it is the student's responsibility to pick one up from the bin.
  • Sketchbooks are due on the following Wednesday (7 days later) at the beginning of class.
  • Students are provided a shelf where they turn in "on-time" sketchbooks.
  • A different area is identified for "late or make-up sketchbook assignments."
  • Assignments are required to have the student's signature in ink, and a paperclip at the bottom of the page to be graded.
  • Assignments must be drawn in the sketchbook, and are not allowed to be pasted or inserted from another source.
  • Assignment solutions must be "G-rated" and conform to the school and classroom standards which have already been discussed.

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