MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World

Students use corrugated cardboard to create their own simple sketchbook. 

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


cardboard construction paper prong fastener sketchbook


Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 10 pieces per student Crayola Markers Crayola Coloured Pencils Crayola Crayons Corrugated Cardboard - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 2 pieces per student Hole Punch Prong Paper Fasteners - 7 cm (2.75") Base - 1 per student

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MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step One

Step One

  1. Find the piece of cardboard with the scored edge.
  2. Gently fold it back and forth along the scored mark to loosen it up.
  3. Place the paper fastener in the middle of the thin edge to measure where the holes will go. 
  4. Mark the spots.
MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use the tip of your scissors or the hole-punch to make the holes in the cardboard. 
  2. Place the cardboard with the holes in it on top of the other piece of cardboard. 
  3. Mark where the matching holes should be.
  4. Poke or punch holes in the cardboard.
MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Make a stack of papers to fit inside the book.
  2. Punch holes in the paper to match the covers.
  3. Place all the layers together
    - back cardboard
    - 10 pieces of white paper
    - 1 piece of coloured construction paper
    - front cardboard
  4. Make sure everything is lined up evenly. 
MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Fasten the layers together with the prong paper fastener, or use string, ribbon or some other material.
MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step Five

Step Five

  1. As soon as you are finished putting the book together begin to make a design.
  2. Use as many different kinds of lines as you can think of.
  3. Compare your design with the art card you chose.
  4. Find 3 ways that your drawing and the art card are the same.
MAKING A SKETCHBOOK – Connecting With The Art World - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use a variety of materials to decorate your cover to make it uniquely yours.
  2. Use your sketchbook to practise drawing and record your ideas.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use careful measuring to construct a simple sketchbook;
  • create a design using a variety of drawing tools and many different kinds of lines;
  • make connections among a professional artwork and their own artwork;
  • create a unique cover design;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students use their sketchbooks:

  • for planning future artworks;
  • experimenting with ideas;
  • as a data gathering tool.


  1. Precut corrugated cardboard - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 2 pieces per student.
  2. Score half the pieces of cardboard - measure 2.5 cm (1") in from one short end of the cardboard and lightly score one side so it will bend open easily.
  3. Organize the sketchbook materials into individual kits for easy distribution.
    - 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard - 1 scored, 1 plain
    - 8-10 pieces of drawing paper
    - one piece of coloured construction paper
     - a prong paper fastener
  4. Download some pictures of artist Sketchbooks from the internet, and/or gather an dmake available examples in books, for example, Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities, by Janis Herbert; Sketchbook Confidential: Secrets from the private sketches of over 40 master artists, by North Light Editors; Sketchbook Confidential 2: Enter the secret worlds of 41 master artists, by Pamela Wissman, and Stefanie Laufersweiler; and An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration From The Private Sketchbooks Of Artists, Illustrators And Designers, by Danny Gregory.
  5. Gather a selection of art post cards, or similar small pictures of a variety of artworks.
  6. Download and display the Line poster available on this website.


  1. View some examples of artist sketchbooks and let them know how these books are used.
    Artists use sketchbooks to plan artworks, and to experiment with lots of ideas.
    - The work you do in your sketchbook shows your thinking.
    - The sketchbook is a place to try out ideas and not worry about them being perfect.
    - They are really workbooks for figuring out ideas. 
    - Notice how you can see the lines that were not right in the drawing, and then a new line drawn.
    - You don’t have to erase marks at all. Just let your ideas flow.
    - Your drawings show your thinking.
  2. Show them your sketchbook and demonstrate how to make it.
  3. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Use careful measuring to create your own sketchbook.
  2. Create a design that uses as many kinds of lines as you can think of.
  3. Create your own unique cover design.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - accurately followed instructions to construct a sketchbook 
    - used my own ideas to make my cover design
    - kept everything in good condition
  3. Ask one person from each group to pick up enough sketchbook kits for everyone at their table.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Remind them that they should start their line design as soon as their book is put together.


  1. When all designs are mostly complete place a variety of art postcards on the tables. Ask students to stop.
    I’ve placed some art cards on your table. Take a moment to look at them all and then when you’re ready choose one that speaks to you for some reason.
    Think of 5 words that come to mind when you look at the art on your card.
    Share the reason you chose the card and your 5 words. When you are saying each word, point to the area in the picture that makes you think of that word.
    Place your art card beside your line design.
    Find 3 ways your design is like the art on the card.
    Share your ideas with the group.
    What did you notice when we did this activity?
  2. Provide time for students to create a cover design.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their designs – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the art card and their design, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Sketchbook_tracking.sheet.pdf)