I have never required my students to buy sketchbooks for my class. It is not that I have anything against purchased sketchbooks, on the contrary, one of my favorite smells is a freshly cracked spine of a new sketchbook.
However, besides the fact that I live in a semi-poor school district, I have always liked the idea of students creating their own sketchbooks. They have a sense of ownership in the process of the creation. I have some students who have kept all four sketchbooks from each year that they have been in my class.
There are several different ways that I have tried sketchbook making in the past, and there are pros and cons to each method. When I started out looking for a method for making sketchbooks, I was mainly looking at 4 things:
- Cost Effective. This was the main reason for making them in the first place! I considered what materials would need to be bought versus items which could be found in my art room.
- Time. I didn’t want something that would take days and days to create. I feel that every second in the art room is valuable and I want students to be creating things in the sketchbook or in the art room more than the sketchbook itself.
- Durable. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it can’t last the whole year! I had to consider the materials used, including the paper, in this decision. Cardboard is very good, but you could get away with a regular matt board as well.
- Versatile. I wanted something that could be used for a variety of classes (I teach both graphic and regular classroom art) and I wanted something that I could add paper to as we went along; ever the frugal one, I don’t like to see unused paper in a sketchbook!
In light of these things, here are the three methods that I have either tried and the pros and cons of each:
In the coming posts I will highlight each method. Let me know what you think in the comments below!