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Compiled by Donna Odle Smith and Gail Waterman

Objectives of this Site
Our Philosophy 
What You'll Find Here 
Suggested Uses 
Suggested Materials 
 Assignment Index
Student Examples Index 
 Grading Suggestions
Credits and Resources

You may begin by clicking on any of the boxed categories, above.


This website is dedicated to the memory of our first year of teaching.

The objective of this site is to create for teachers a sizeable resource for High School Art I sketchbook assignments. These assignments were developed with over 600 Art I students and compiled over a four-year period. These assignments and samples may be freely used, reproduced and modified by classroom teachers for educational purposes only. Reproduction of any of the contents or visuals from this site for revenue or non-educational use is prohibited.

Every attempt has been made to respect copyright and to credit originators. Art teachers have files full of notes from viewing other schools' student work, and sometimes we truly don't remember where ideas came from. We will want to give credit if we have inadvertently borrowed from an earlier published work.

Please read "Our Philosophy" for a statement of educational objectives.
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 We share the philosophy that "Art Can Be Taught," that the elements and principles of art should be taught at all art levels, and that developing and maintaining a sketchbook is also an integral part of studio art education at all levels. Beginning art students are commonly fearful of blank pages, and students with little experience in visual concepts often have difficulty thinking of a way to start a picture. We also know that a student who is not doing, is probably also not learning.

The assignments found within this site are widely varied. They range from traditional observation drawings to design to fantasy and conceptual assignments. Our goal on each has been to provide a starting point for the student, containing enough instructions that there is a high probability for success, but also containing areas of choice so that each student's solution is unique. The inclusion of instructions and parameters also makes it easier for the teacher to provide consistent evaluation.

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The primary resources compiled here for the studio art teacher are:

  • Individual sketchbook assignments ready for printing as class handouts
  • Student examples of completed assignments
  • Suggestions for classroom use
  • Sample grading sheets
  • Additional resources and references

Need to see how it all fits together?

Click here to reach the Art Teacher's Resource Site Map

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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 few previous students aptly demonstrated the potential for misuse of flexibility in some earlier assignment and grading procedures. Most of the "rules and requirements" following are this teacher's response to close various observed "loopholes.")
  • 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.
For comments on other grading issues
please visit our section:
Grading Suggestions

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Art supplies are expensive, but the better the supplies, the easier it is to improve one's skills.

When available, we recommend the following supplies:

  1. Spiral bound, all-purpose sketchbook (approx. 9 x 12")
  2. Ebony or 2B drawing pencils
  3. Black felt-tip pens (not roller ball)
  4. "Prismacolor" colored pencils or a brand of the same quality with soft leads for layering techniques
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This site is no longer being maintained, but will remain online for the use of educators.