The Sketchbook Project 2015 brought over 500 students in the district the opportunity to work with Vancouver School Board artists in residence and UBC teacher candidates.
This project is supported by Peggy Bochun, District Fine Arts Coordinator, and coordinated by Phyllis Schwartz. The program offered four teacher candidates, Alexandra Baumbusch, Evan Christian, Jason Downie and Judy Tai, the opportunity to teach sketchbook strategies and drawing techniques to primary and intermediate students in 23 classrooms in the district.
Motivational and inspirational children's literature was used to build confidence in drawing skills. Familiar books such as The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson were read to students in a new context.
These stories featured children overwhelmed by discouragement from artistic blows; however, with the encouragement of others, they began to explore different forms of artistic production and were finally able to regain confidence in their individual artistic abilities.
Guided drawing lessons in the Sketchbook Project encouraged the notion that any mark a student makes on paper can transform into a unique meaningful art form.
"We often discouraged the use of erasers during these guided activities," says Schwartz. "At first, many students were taken a-back and frustrated with not being able to manipulate the image to their liking. However, once they received positive feedback and encouragement from classmates and teachers, students were noticeably experimenting more with mark making."
Students explored the basic foundations of art, such as shading techniques, elements of colour, still life drawing, abstract art, and realism. The also delved into creative art projects, such as using natural objects around the school to create art.
Says Schwartz, "The journey of every student we taught took a positive turn by the end of the program, both technically and in terms of confidence in and enthusiasm about their own artistic ability. "
Following the completion of the project, the students' work was displayed in the foyer in the Vancouver School Board.
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