Post by Megan Webb
Greetings. I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start! For this blog entry, I am going to share some of my lessons for sketchbook covers. I am sure that the beginning of the school year for many of you (elementary folk, anyway) is busy with creating sketchbooks. I have a different lesson for each of the 3-6 grades to create a personalized cover.
For third grade, since it is their first time really making a sketchbook, I spend a good time talking about the many uses of a sketchbook. We look at images from Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks and discuss the different ways he used his. I show them one of my sketchbooks and the things I like to keep in mine. All that I require of their sketchbook cover is that it tells us something about them. I explain that it can be a drawing of themselves, images of things they like, words that describe them, etc.
Forth grade draws their name, but in a jumbled up, overlapping way. With this lesson I really emphasize craftsmanship and using a ruler to create straight and neat lines. I show them an example I’ve made and point out that the letters should be overlapping, vary in size and color and should be tilting in different directions. Students practice this in their sketchbook and create 4 sketches to choose from. They chose their favorite design to recreate neatly using a ruler. I demonstrate using a marker to neatly fill inside the letter with color. To finish it up, students used a fine sharpie to outline the letters and fill some of the negative space with lines.
Fifth grade also works with a ruler for their first assignment. I guide them in measuring and dividing their paper up to create a grid. We then discuss monogram designs and look at modern examples seen in fashion (Micheal Kors, Kevin Durant Nikes) as well as designs seen in art history (Albrecht Dürer). They develop a monogram using their initials and trace it into every other square on their grid. In the remaining empty squares, they may draw any symbol or line design that they wish. Markers and crayons are used to add color.
Sixth grade sketch book covers revolve around the Principles of Design. I introduce students to the Principles and have them match each principle with my examples. They create a quick sketch using their name, each one focusing on a principle of design. They then chose their favorite one and recreate it neatly for their sketchbook cover.