Small Art Sketchbook Assignments

3D Students can either create a drawing in their sketchbook or make a "sculptural sphere"

Sketchbook Assignments, one due EVERY Wednesday


Create at least one drawing or painting that depicts evidence of your existence on this planet. Think about how the world would be different if you were not here, for instance. Or consider what elements of the world prove that you exist – an unmade bed, for example, or your breakfast dishes, text messages from your BFF, etc. Begin by making a list of things in your sketchbook that provide “evidence” that you exist. 

What's in Your Trash? Self-Portrait

What we eat, drink, write on, read, buy and throw away all say something about ourselves. Create a work of art in a medium you feel comfortable with depicting what is in your trash.
Draw, paint or photograph a ribbon.

Create an optical illusion by drawing something looking like it is coming off of the page. 

Draw the same object using at least 3 different drawing techniques. Write the technique near the drawing.
example below by Carol Sun

Draw at least 2 pieces of a face. Use value and shadows on the ground to make them feel 3D.

Glue a photo or magazine picture into your sketchbook. Extend the photo out by drawing the rest. You can draw it realistically or illustrate it cartoon-like.

Draw or paint a weaving using values to make it look real. 

Hands! Draw more than one hand on a page.

illustrate a symbol
Select a computer symbol (*&^%$#@!?+=-_<>,./) and draw it inspired by another form. Create two drawings (one a week for homework) as seen in this example. One shaded with values (using pencils) and another using black & white demonstrating contrast (using pen, marker or printing ink). 

Create some cut paper designs using an Exacto knife. You can create multiple layers as seen here. Think about the negative space patterns in lace or doilies, or patterns found in leaves. Also consider what will be seen through the negative space.

Glue or tape something from nature into your SB and add some drawn/painted or photographed studies around it. Text can be included

Lay down a few pieces of painters tape. Fill in all the spaces with doodles. Remove the tape!

saved from devueltaconelcuaderno.blogspot

Draw a landscape or architecture and do something different in the background like watercolor or stippling (dots!).

Fruit Studies- Fill a page with fruit doodles or detailed color studies.

saved from
saved from
photo by cordelia jones on flickr

Take a photo of yourself on a school copy machine (closing your eyes!). Draw back onto of the photograph and put it in your sketchbook.

Draw or cut designs into leaves. Glue them into your sketchbook.

Create a double-page-spread illustrating a quote. Be sure to include the quote on one side and try to write the author of the quote.


What do you see?

Create a study of one small object by repeating it on one page. Text can be included in this study.

Fill a page with overlapping leaves. Color each leaf using any medium but experiment with mixing or blending colors together

Layer two photographs on top of each other in your sketchbook. The photos should be different (one old the other young, one in color, the other black & white, one of one person the other someone else, etc.). Tear select areas of the top photograph to reveal the photograph underneath. Try to get the facial features positioned the same so that when you tear part of the mouth on the top photo, the mouth is what is visible on the bottom photo.

I'm not sure what this is but it looks fun to draw! Remember to use darks for the background and get progressively lighter as you get to the foreground layers. This will help create an illusion of depth.
Create a "figure" by juxtaposing different creatures top of the head- eyes- nose- mouth- and chest together. Use this format of strips to look like a cut-photo collage.
Trace or draw the outlines of a figure in profile. Fill the shape in with something interesting! 

Create a negative space design using a word. Sketch out the letters first in pencil and fill in the space around the letters with a design in pen. Erase the pencil when finished.

Photocopy a page in the dictionary. Select one word that is on that page and illustrate it LARGE on that page. Have the word emphasized as well.

Surreal Hand
Draw your hand made out of objects, woven paper, people, buildings, fabric, etc.

Draw a pencil splitting up into letters! Don't forget to shade the inside of the letters to make them look 3D.

Recreate a famous artist as someone else. The example here is Frida Khalo as a modern day hipster.

Illustrate a grocery list

Draw an object in water. 

Bring an inanimate object to life

Place your face and hands on a photocopier (be sure to CLOSE YOUR EYES!!!) and make a copy. 
To draw that photo, fill an entire page with vine charcoal. Then use your eraser to bring out the grays and highlights. 

Create a double-page-spread where both pages (left and right OR top and bottom) are working together to create a unified work of art.

Build a sculpture out of play-doh and PAINT it!

Create a collage in your sketchbook then draw objects from observation. Change the material you are drawing with when you are drawing on top of a different material.

Don't forget to include a shadow!!!

Create a NOTAN design. Start with a small black piece of paper. Draw designs on the sides of the paper going off the edge. Cut the design out using an EXACTO knife. Then flip that cut out piece out. Every piece of paper that is cut is to be used in the design! Check out the link below for a video on how to make a NOTAN.

Draw a room! It can be where you work, your bedroom, kitchen, inside of your car, classroom, etc.

Why buy sketchbookswhen you can make them?

Get a heavy duty stapler that can go through 100 or more sheets like this one, or this one, use Google to find other "Heavy Duty Staplers." Fill it with free school copy paper, but focus on a nice cover. Wrap cardboard, chipboard, or flawboard with a nice watercolor paper, fold it over your sketchbook pages, and staple them all together. It's personal and will be treasured for many years. More lessons HERE too.

Whether you assign regular sketchbook assignments or need something to give kids when they finish too early, this a list of some of my favorite sketch book prompts.

If you would like a resource you can get any of these books, cut the spine, and each page has a prompt at the bottom and space to draw. I put them in the "I'm Done" bin, and students know to go there and select an assignment. They turn it in with their current project as proof of being actively engaged during class time.

Sketchbook 101
Sketchbook 102
The Nearly Empty Coloring Book (Best for classroom use)
​The Inspirational Sketchbook (Incorporates Writing & Research)


Draw a wall with windows, and details of what is nearby like bookshelves, chairs, etc. Then draw something completely crazy in the window!

Trace your hand and draw what might be inside if you were an awesome robot.

Paste down half a face from a magazine. Choose an attractive model. Finish the other half of the face as if they were an alien.

Draw a design you think would make a cool tattoo for you. Remember that tattoos are often symbols of things important to the person wearing it.

Draw the imaginary thing that lives under your bed.

What might a flower look like on an alien planet?

Design a new perfume bottle for either a great smell, or something very bad. Include a label.

Willy Wonka remade whole room out of candy, can you draw the room you are sitting in or your bedroom as if it was all made out of candy?

Draw yourself in a mirror but DO NOT look at the paper while you do it.

Draw what it looks like sitting in the front of your car, make it look normal, but put something crazy in the mirrors.

Take 2 unrelated objects and create a mixed image of this new object. (Like scissors and a bird)

Draw part of the room, but do it as if you were a bug. What would it look like?

Draw an object that makes noise. Draw what you imagine that noise might look like if it could be seen.

Draw two objects side by side that should never be put together.

Draw a soft object with a steel skin, screws, rivets, and bolts.

Draw a cute animal as if it were Frankenstein’s pet.

Draw an animal you consider unappealing, as cute.

Draw an object from observation but re-arrange its parts in an unexpected way.

Draw an advertisement for a product you would not like but make it seem cool. (Toilet Plunger?)

Draw two objects side by side but change their scale. For example, you might have a giant ant next to a tiny teacup.

Take a common object and draw it as if it was a skeleton.  What would the skeleton of a banana look like?

Draw a mysterious doorway.

Do a drawing of an object you have or have nearby, but make it look like its melting.

Draw a landscape with a house, car, or man-made object in it. Give the man-made object natural textures like leaves and grass, and give the natural elements mechanical textures found in the object.

Draw someone eating, and illustrate the background behind them. Use expressive colors, textures, and shapes that you feel would describe the flavor.

Also: Caricatures - Cartooning - By Nate Kap: Create your own WiLd Caricature of a friend, neighbor, or family member in Nate Kap's wild style. (contains some how-to videos and a few artistic nude studies)

Consider the cover: This example is by Aniko. She uses polymer clay to create fantasy covers for sketchbooks.  Take a look at THIS article for some more ideas.

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