Sketch Journal & Explorations

ART325: Concepts in Art Education


Sketchbook-Journal 2016 (word)     Sketchbook-Journal 2016 (pdf)

Sketchbook Journal Examples (PowerPoint)

sketchnoting-for-understanding (PowerPoint)

Sharpen your skills. Practice sketchnoting! 

I take my black pen and begin. I let my pen wander without stopping. I barely look at the page or what I’m putting on it because I am drawing to notice and record, not to make a beautiful picture. Drawing, paying close attention, leads to writing. Writing helps me think, notice more, even discover what I know. Together the pictures and words in my journal help me understand what I know about things and my practice as a teacher.

The above quote is by Karen Ernst—taken from her book A Teacher’s Sketch Journal: Observations on Learning and Teaching. She explains that her sketch journal allows her to discover ideas that can help in understanding or to solve problems, formulate questions, or take a new course of action. The sketch journal, because it is ongoing and links image to text/text to image, allows ideas to develop over a period of time. By revisiting the sketch journal the creator can engage in ongoing assessment; revisiting your observations lets your own search for meaning drive how you come to understand a theory or situation.

How you integrate text—your class notes, notes on readings, etc.—and image will be determined on a personal level. Be open to the possibilities. Consider drawing, painting, collecting, collage…

as a way to help you understand or comment on ideas, theories and situations. Keep your sketch journal close by—bring it to class, to your service learning experience, to diner! Ernst suggests you keep the following “key words and phrases” in mind as you work in your sketch journal:

  • Observe
  • Slow down
  • Look
  • Think
  • Express
  • Feel confident
  • Find another way
  • Plan ahead
  • Read over
  • Be surprised
  • Read, write, draw, paint, collage…write, read


Consider the sketch journal as a process. A process that allows you to “take in the world”—to incorporate art and writing to think, discover knowledge, and improve what you do!

View the PowerPoint on Sketchnoting for Understanding This will provide one approach for you to consider when documenting your ideas in written and visual form.

Viewing the PowerPoint Sketchbook Journal Examples at: will give you an idea of how others have approached their exploration of ideas in sketchbook/journals from previous classes.

Students are required to explore ways of “understanding the world” through a variety of explorations from How to Be an Explorer of the World.  Choose explorations that interest you and document them in your sketchbook/journal. These explorations should be recorded several times each month; January through May.


Due dates for explorations:

Exploration #1: Monday, January 25, 2016

Exploration #2: Monday, February 8, 2016

Exploration #3 Monday, February 22, 2016

Exploration #4: Monday, March 7, 2016

Exploration #5: Monday, March 21, 2016

Exploration #6: Monday, April 4, 2016

Exploration #7: Monday, April 18, 2016

Exploration #8: Monday, May 2, 2016



Sketchbook/Journal and Explorations Assessments

Sketchbook-Journal and Exploration Assessment (word)

Sketchbook-Journal and Exploration Assessment (pdf)



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