Creative Sketchbook Assignments High School


Often times it can be difficult brainstorming ideas for our sketchbooks. We can all agree that the more we draw, the better we’ll get. This is just one of the many reasons that keeping a sketchbook is important. But deciding what to draw in those sketchbooks can sometimes be a challenge.

I decided to do some of the brainstorming for you and create a list of 101 sketchbook ideas. The items on this list are meant to challenge you a bit, but can still be completed in a short amount of time, making them perfect subjects for any sketchbook.

101 Sketchbook Ideas

1. draw old shoes

2. draw a glass of water

3. draw a pile of unfolded laundry

4. draw your non-dominant hand

5. draw a scene in a restaurant

6. draw a stack of books

7. draw a view out of a window

8. draw your art supplies

9. draw wine bottles

10. draw children’s toys

11. draw a person laying down

12. draw a person sitting in a chair

13. design a typeface

14. draw different types of trees

15. draw objects in your pocket

16. draw game pieces

17. draw a caricature of yourself

18. draw the same object drawn with different techniques (hatching, cross hatching, stippling, etc.)

19. draw your favorite pet

20. draw a copy of your favorite Master’s painting

21. draw a crumpled piece of paper

22. draw a brown paper bag

23. draw an old chair

24. draw a person from history in which there is no photo reference

25. draw an old person’s face

26. draw a stapler

27. draw an old radio

28. draw an old car

29. draw an old camera

30. draw a pair of glasses

31. draw an open book

32. draw a bicycle

33. draw anything made out of metal

34. draw a hammer

35. draw tree bark up close

36. draw ocean waves

37. draw a pile of rocks

38. draw a cup of pencils

39. draw hard candy

40. draw any fruit (sliced open)

41. draw any vegetable (sliced open)

42. draw a reel mower (tough one)

43. draw a pine cone

44. draw a seashell

45. draw a banana peel

46. draw an old cabin

47. draw an old factory

48. draw flowers in a vase

49. draw simple forms (cube, sphere, cylinder, etc.)

50. draw old farm equipment

51. draw a sailboat

52. draw people standing in a line

53. draw a bowl of peanuts

54. draw a bowl of nails

55. draw bushes or shrubbery

56. draw several eggs on a surface

57. draw your favorite insect

58. draw a flower up close

59. draw a thumb drive

60. draw an exotic fish

61. draw a scene from history

62. draw a feather

63. draw any detailed machine

64. draw the insides of a watch or clock

65. draw a skull

66. draw an apple

67. draw a portrait of someone that is a different race from you

68. draw water coming from the faucet

69. draw a creek in the woods

70. draw a pair of socks

71. draw an object that is moving

72. draw a Cubist portrait

73. draw a view from a window

74. draw a candle in the dark

75. draw three random objects from your refrigerator

76. draw a bowl of popcorn

77. draw a set of keys

78. draw someone peeling off their skin

79. draw your hand holding an apple (or other object)

80. draw your feet

81. draw yourself as a cartoon character

82. draw a patterned cloth on a table

83. draw a wine cork

84. draw a face in profile

85. draw a candlestick

86. draw a fictional woodland creature

87. draw a close up of grass

88. draw an object three times in different lighting

89. draw a pile of  jewelry

90. draw a close up of someone’s hair

91. draw a doorknob

92. draw a bird in flight

93. draw a video game controller

94. draw a pile of yarn

95. draw a stack of dinner plates

96. draw a trompe l’oeil image

97. draw hung drapery

98. draw a water sprinkler

99. draw calm water that is reflective

100. draw a person falling

101. just draw something!


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If you’re anything like me, you can never get enough good sketchbook ideas. I’m always looking for ways to engage students so that they truly want to work in their sketchbooks. Whether you use sketchbooks for project planning, skill development, brainstorming, or something else, you’ll find ideas here that will work for you. My sketchbook assignments and prompts take an “all of the above” approach, making the following list well-rounded.

The list covers many bases and is organized by category. There are prompts about animals, food, people, and other things that will spark interest among students. This list is geared toward secondary students, but you’ll find a lot here that will work for younger students as well. Take a look and see what will work best for you and your students. Add your own favorite sketchbook assignment in the comments below!

Click here to download the list!

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100 Sketchbook Prompts Your Students Will Love

 

People

  1. Draw someone you sit by in an odd pose.
  2. Draw family members with things that are important to them.
  3. Draw yourself (or someone else) painting toenails.
  4. Find a quiet place in a crowd. Draw the crowd.
  5. Draw a relative by the light cast from a TV/Phone/Computer or other screen.
  6. Make a portrait of yourself in twenty years. Or in fifty years. Or both.
  7. Draw a masked man (or woman) that is not a superhero.
  8. Draw the ugliest baby you can imagine.
  9. Draw two sports figures–one in a dynamic pose, one in a static pose.
  10. Draw two self-portraits with odd expressions.
  11. Draw something or someone you love.
  12. Draw hair. A lot of it.
  13. Take a picture of someone near you on a bus or in a car. Draw them.

Animals

  1. Draw an animal eating another animal.
  2. Draw your art teacher in a fight with an animal.
  3. Draw an animal playing a musical instrument.
  4. There is an animal living in one of your appliances. Draw it.
  5. Draw a dead bird in a beautiful landscape.
  6. Draw something from a pet’s point of view.
  7. Draw an animal taking a bath.
  8. Draw an animal taking a human for a walk.
  9. Combine 3 existing animals to create a completely new creature.
  10. Draw a family portrait. Plot twist: It is a family of insects or animals.
  11. Draw an animal playing a musical instrument.
  12. Draw the most terrifying animal you can imagine. Or the most adorable.

Food

  1. Draw a pile of dishes before they get washed.
  2. Tighten a C-Clamp on a banana. Draw it.
  3. Draw a slice of the best pizza you have ever seen.
  4. Draw junk food and the wrapper.
  5. Draw your favorite food.
  6. Create your own restaurant. Draw the restaurant, your executive chef, and a 12-item menu.
  7. Draw the ingredients or process of your favorite recipe.
  8. Draw salt and pepper shakers.
  9. Draw fresh fruit or vegetables, or something fresh from the oven.
  10. Draw a salad.
  11. Draw the oldest thing in your refrigerator.
  12. Draw a piece of fruit every day until it becomes rotten.
  13. Draw everything on a restaurant table.

Objects

  1. Draw what is in the rearview mirror of the car.
  2. Draw moving water. Draw still water.
  3. Draw an object floating.
  4. Make a drawing of all of your drawing materials.
  5. Find a trash can. Draw its contents.
  6. Draw tools that belong to a certain profession.
  7. Draw three objects and their environments. One of the three should be in motion.
  8. Draw the interior of a mechanical object. Zoom in, focus on details and shading.
  9. Create three drawings of messes you have made.
  10. Draw five objects with interesting textures: wood grain, floors, tiles, walls, fabric, etc.
  11. Draw a collection of purses, wallets, or bags.
  12. Draw your favorite well-loved object or childhood toy.
  13. Draw a watch or another piece of jewelry.
  14. Draw something hideous that you keep for sentimental reasons.
  15. Draw something with a mirror image.

Technical Skill/Skill Development

  1. Draw all the contents of your junk drawer with one continuous line.
  2. Make a detailed drawing of a rock.
  3. Draw a dark object in a light environment.
  4. Draw a light object in a dark environment.
  5. Make a detailed drawing of five square inches of grass.
  6. Draw a transparent object.
  7. Draw a translucent object.
  8. Do several studies of eyes, noses, and mouths in a variety of poses.
  9. Draw an interesting object from three different angles.
  10. Value Studies–Draw three eggs and part of the carton with a strong light source.
  11. Draw three metallic objects that reflect light. Focus on highlights and reflections.
  12. Refraction–Create two drawings of separate objects partially submerged in water.
  13. Make three drawings (your choice of subject) using materials with which you are not familiar.
  14. Draw a piece of patterned fabric with folds.
  15. Draw a bridge and all of its details.

Creativity/Originality

  1. Draw yourself as an original superhero.
  2. Make a drawing that looks sticky.
  3. Draw a mysterious doorway or staircase.
  4. Draw an empty room. Make it interesting.
  5. Draw a flower. Make it dangerous.
  6. Draw an object melting.
  7. Draw an imaginary place, adding all kinds of details.
  8. Draw a gumball machine that dispenses anything but gumballs.
  9. Danger! Draw yourself in a dangerous situation.
  10. You are on the back of the bus. Figure out who is with you, where you are going, and why. Illustrate and explain.
  11. Draw what’s under your bed (real or imagined).
  12. Draw the most incredible game of hide-and-seek you can imagine.
  13. Create a new sport. You can improve an existing sport, combine two existing sports, or come up with something completely new.

Open-Ended Themes

  1. Make a drawing that is totally truthful.
  2. Make a drawing that lies all over the place.
  3. Make a drawing that is completely and utterly impossible.
  4. Story Illustration: Fix a story that you don’t like, or reflect/improve upon one you do.
  5. Let someone else choose your subject and tell you what to draw.
  6. Draw your greatest fear.
  7. Use song lyrics, quotes, or poetry to inspire a drawing.
  8. Find the three most useless objects you can and draw them.
  9. Draw an interesting form of transportation.
  10. Draw something for which you are thankful.
  11. Go somewhere new and draw what you see.
  12. Draw something that can’t be turned off.
  13. Draw something soothing.
  14. Draw something you think sounds or smells incredible.
  15. Draw something that needs fixing.
  16. Draw something you’ve always wanted.
  17. Draw something out of place.
  18. Draw something that should have been invented by now.
  19. Draw something you keep putting off, or something that causes you to procrastinate.

Does this list inspire you to take some sketchbook assignments head on in your art room? Or maybe the opposite is true and you are finding that you feel underprepared to teach drawing skills. Maybe you fall somewhere in between and you just need a little more inspiration to tweak your drawing curriculum. These are all great reasons to take a peek at AOE’s Studio: Drawing Course. The class is jam-packed with hands-on learning experiences, advanced technique tutorials, and opportunities to share and learn with art teachers just like you.

What are your favorite sketchbook prompts to use?
How do you use sketchbooks in your classroom?

 

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