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Adobe Illustrator...scary or fun?

One of the more challenging aspects of my job has been introducing new digital art programs. When I started teaching 4 years ago, I was literally one day ahead of the students.

Not only that, but I would also be teaching the Adobe Illustrator (or Photoshop) program and constantly have to stop to help students with technical difficulties.  I felt like a chicken with my head cut off for the better part of an hour whenever I had to introduce the Adobe programs to students. I found myself dreading teaching new techniques in any digital platform.


Bridge the Gap Between Sketchbook and Digital Media

A few weeks back, I wrote a post on "Using Sketchbook to Balance Digital and Physical Art”. Mostly I wrote about how to use the sketchbook as a spring board to creating art or publications in computer graphic design classes.

In the coming weeks I will be discussing the use Adobe Illustrator to help students learn the elements of design. As students travel through the Adobe Illustrator journey, I want them to find visual examples of the terms we discuss in class.


5 Tips to Keep the Sketchbook Alive

In a perfect world. I would have no problem getting kids to do their sketchbook assignments done and every assignment would relate to what I am teaching in the class and it would all be perfect…


However, being that I teach at a public high school, I know that will never be the case. So as per my experience over the last four years I have come up with some tips to using the sketchbook as a tool, but also having assignments that the kids are, for the most part, willing to do and some even enjoy doing.


Plan to Live

I have been toying with the idea of making a planner to help my organize my life. There are so many things that scream for my attention everyday (both at school and at home) that sometimes I feel like a gerbal in an exercise ball. Going fast, but going nowhere!

I have looked at dozens of planners and have not yet found what I am looking for. So I thought, "Why not make my own?"

So I am wondering, if you had the perfect planner, what would be in it? The sky is the limit. Lists, calendars, sketchbook pages, anything you can think of!


Elements of Art and the Sketchbook

The first thing that I do in my classes every year is introduce the elements of art. I used to have the students take notes on the elements and then do projects based on each element. However, I have found that students seem to grasp the concepts better if they are introduced to most if not all of the elements first, then be expected to use them in a project that I set out for them.

Binder Ring Spine Sketchbook

This is the one I am going to try this year. I think that it combines the pros of each of the previous designs. Give me a few months and I will tell you what I think after the kids have had a chance to try them out.

(And by that I mean shove them into lockers, kick them across the floor, forget them on the school bus, or whatever else happens to anything that has touched a high schooler’s hands.)



Plastic Comb Binding Sketchbook

This method is also very simple, but it requires the use of a binding machine. If you have access to one, this one looks a bit more professional than the previous Rubber Band Spine Cardboard one. Plus, you can get several fun colors for the spine!

Again, you can do any size you like. I just like to do it larger so that students can add paper without difficulty.


Rubber Band Spine Cardboard Sketchbook

This is a very simple method for a classroom sketchbook. It can be any size you want, but I always made mine about the size of a regular sheet of paper because this makes it easy for students to tuck extra worksheets inside the cover.

However, a caution on that, sometimes, they find this to be a handy place to keep…everything! Math assignments, permission slips from two weeks ago, gum wrappers…you name it!

3 CHEAP and EASY Techniques for Sketchbook-Making

Three cheap and easy techniques for sketchbook-making

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.