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Sketchbooks, Why We Keep Them

All artists need to keep a sketchbook. This is like saying all runners need to get out and run and all singers need to practice their scales. A sketchbook is where we gather ideas, prefect our skills, and dream. This class will require 30 minutes of sketching a week, which is a very light requirement. Just like running laps, shooting baskets or practicing a riff, you just need to sit down and do them. You will be a much better artist for it.

One of the weirdest things students tell me is "...but I've already drawn that!". All I can say is "Yes, and you'll draw it again, and again, and again." Practice does indeed make perfect, if it's MINDFUL practice. That means you just don't do something just to get it out of the way, but you think about it and try to make a slight improvement of what you did before. Rote practice without thinking simply reinforces mistakes and you wonder why you never get any better. Mindful practice is just the opposite and if you think, and analyze and try different approaches to the same subject, you can't help but get better.


AnimationTaco Sketchbook Sample

The sketches are are the work of a 16-year-old animation student in Texas.

         The Rules         
  • Any instrument is OK, but a drawing pencil is the best
  • You will ONLY use a bound drawing journal. No ifs, ands or buts. No excuses. You can create a drawing journal with 3-hole punched typing paper in a 10cent paper folder. Glued drawing pads break apart and you will lose your work. This teacher will NOT accept loose paper.
  • The drawing journal cannot be smaller than 7 x 9 inches or larger than 12 x 14 inches. It needs to be large enough to draw easily on and small enough to fit in your backback. If it's too large you won't carry it around with you.
  • One drawing per page. No drawings on the back of pages. Why? Because as an artist living in the 21st Century, you will be using a scanner. Scanners will shine through paper and you'll see ghosts of bad drawing through, messing up what you are scanning. Always assume your next drawing is going to be the most wonderful thing you've ever done. If it's the most wonderful thing you've ever done, do you want your worst scribbles on the back of it?
  • Label your drawing number and date in the upper right-hand corner. It will look like this.. "Week 4, drawing 1"
  • Write your FULL NAME and CLASS CODE/PERIOD on the outside front AND back. You might have to use white ink on some drawing journals OR write on a peice of paper firmly taped to the cover.
  • Ten minutes per drawing. Your teacher will be judging you on your effort, not on your results. The idea is to practice, not be perfect. However, don't try to turn in a scribbled smiley face and say it took 10 minutes or that Picasso drew scribbled masterpieces. When you are a Picasso, come back and we'll talk. Your teacher knows you and your abilities.
  • Use the entire page. Micro-drawings are not accepted. You can only put one drawing on each page, so why not use the space?
  • Turn it in early if you're going to be absent. If you're going on a field trip, a sporting event or know you're not going to be in school that Friday, then turn in the book on Thursday. Since you know what is due every week well ahead of time, there is no excuse for late work.

    AnimationTaco Sketchbook Sample

             What Will You Be Drawing?         

    Every week you'll have a texture or an object to draw, a living thing, and a free draw. You are given assignments because the idea is to stretch your abilities and to have some practice drawing outside of your comfort zone. You might be one of those people who are experts at drawing tanks, but will fall apart when your animation needs a cat in it. Or you might be wonderful at anime' girls, but can't draw a realistic old person. As a professional, you will need to be able to do ANY subject, not just your favourites. If it were easy, everyone could do it.

    The texture assignment gives you practice creating the illusion of hard/rough/shiny on a 2D surface. You could also have a concept, like 2 pt. perspective to practice.

    The living thing might be a part of the body, a race or age of a person, or an animal. Again, the idea is to give you practice with characters you're not used to drawing so that you can draw anything and anyone.

    The free-draw is any character or other complete drawing that you wish to draw.


    AnimationTaco Sketchbook Sample

             The Weekly Assignments         

    First Semester, 1st 9 weeks

    Week 1, Aug. 23 - Aug. 26
    Week 2, Aug. 29 - Sep. 02
    Week 3, Sep. 6 - Sep. 9
    Week 4, Sep. 12 - Sep. 16
    Week 5, Sep. 19 - Sep. 23
    Week 6, Sep. 26 - Sep. 30
    Week 7, Oct. 3 - Oct. 7
    Week 8, Oct. 10 - Oct. 13

    First Semester, 2nd 9 weeks

    Week 9, Oct. 18 - Oct. 21
    Week 10, Oct. 24 - Oct. 28
    Week 11, Oct. 31 - Nov. 4
    Week 12, Nov. 7 - Nov. 11
    Week 13, Nov. 14 - Nov. 18
    Week 14, Nov. 28 - Dec. 2
    Week 15, Dec. 5 - Dec. 9
    Week 16, Dec. 12 - Dec. 16

    Second Semester, 3rd 9 weeks

    Week 17, Jan 4 - Jan. 6
    Week 18, Jan 9 - Jan. 13
    Week 19, Jan. 16 - Jan. 20
    Week 20, Jan. 23 - Jan. 27
    Week 21, Jan. 30 - Feb. 3
    Week 21, Feb. 8 - Feb. 10
    Week 22, Feb. 13 - Feb. 17
    Week 23, Feb. 20 - Feb. 24
    Week 24, Feb. 27 - Mar. 3
    Week 25, Mar. 6 - Mar. 10

    Second Semester, 4th 9 weeks

    Week 27, Mar. 20 - Mar. 24
    Week 28, Mar. 27 - Mar. 31
    Week 29, Apr. 3 - Apr. 7
    Week 30, Apr. 10 - Apr. 13
    Week 31, Apr. 17 - Apr. 21
    Week 32, Apr. 24 - Apr. 28
    Week 33, May 1 - May 5
    Week 34, May 8 - May 12
    Week 35, May 15 - May 19
    Week 36, May 22 - May 25


    AnimationTaco Sketchbook Sample

             Alice Taylor © 2016