SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast

Students personalize the cover of their sketchbook using acrylic paint and a design that includes their name and a variety of lines.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour contrast emphasis line pattern repetition


Acrylic Paints Paint Brushes Sketchbooks - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Towels Plastic Container Lids for Palettes Masking Tape Plastic Placemats - 1 per student


SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Tape the cover of your sketchbook to a plastic placemat.
  2. Be sure to use one long strip of tape for each side.
SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Mix a colour of acrylic paint with white.
    - adding white will make the colour more opaque 
  2. Fill the cover with the colour.
  3. Set it aside to dry.
SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Practice drawing several different kinds of letters for your name.
  2. Decide which one you like the best.
SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a pencil to draw your name on the cover.
  2. Make it big and bold.
  3. Draw a shape around it.
SKETCHBOOK COVER – Lettering, Pattern, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Fill the page with colour and lines. 
    - Repeat lines and shapes to create patterns.
    - Mix colours together.
    - Use contrasting colours.
  2. When the paint is dry, gently remove the tape.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify 5 characteristics of lines;
  • create a sketchbook cover design using a variety of lines and decorative lettering;
  • analyse their design focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;  
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.



Have students:

  • complete the Colour Around the World lesson available on this website;
  • discuss possible meanings of their cover design based on what they have learned about colour.


  1. Gather, and make available, books about lettering, for example, Little Book of Lettering, by Emily Gregory; Adventures in Lettering: 40 exercises to improve your lettering skills, by Dawn Nicole Warnaar; Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists, by Jenny Doh; and Doodle Art and Lettering with Joanne Sharpe: Inspiration and Techniques for Personal Expression, by Joanne Sharpe.
  2. Download and display the Line, Contrast and Pattern posters available on this website.
  3. Gather a variety of lettering styles from magazines, picture book titles and the Internet, for example
    Hello World


  1. Review, or introduce the idea of Elements of Art, the building blocks of visual art – line, colour, shape, texture, space, and form.
  2. Review, or introduce characteristics of lines.
      DIRECTION – Lines can travel in any direction, leading your eye from place to place.
      WIDTH – Lines can be thick, thin, thick and thin.
      LENGTH – Lines can be long or short.
      FOCUS – Lines can be sharp, or blurry.
      FEELING – Lines can create different emotions and moods. 
  3. View and discuss the posters for contrast and pattern.
  4. View and discuss a variety of lettering styles, including the lettering on the sketchbook cover.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Identify 5 characteristics of lines.
  2. Create a sketchbook cover design using a variety of lines and decorative lettering. 
  3. Analyse your design focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity. 
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - used a variety of lines
    - used decorative lettering to make my name
    - created a design that represents me
    - completed my cover design with care
    - used contrast to create emphasis
    - created patterns by repeating lines and shapes
    - identified characteristics of lines
    - analysed my design focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why;
    - analyse the designs focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines – DIRECTION, WIDTH, LENGTH, FOCUS, FEELING; 

    - talk about what they found satisfying about doing this project;
    - talk about how they might use what they learned in a different way;
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the covers – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – SketchbookCover_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – SketchbookCover_self-assessment.pdf)