Drawing closer to nature – the Sketchbook Project 2017

Schools & Students

The Sketchbook Project 2017 is an opportunity for students to participate in daily drawing, inspire confidence in drawing skills and learn ways to talk about art. The theme is “Drawing closer to nature,” and as often as possible, drawing workshops take place outdoors. This year Flemming, Grandview/¿uuqinak'uu, Henry Hudson, Quelchena, Renfrew, and Simon Fraser elementary schools hosted UBC Community Field Experience practicum students and artists in residence.

During the sketchbook project, students practice methods of observation, drawing from memory and imagination. As they work collaboratively and individually to create artwork, students make personal connections to nature.

In each sketchbook workshop, students reflect on their own creative process and develop skills to talk about art. In a classroom gallery art walk, students display their work and offer appreciation for the works of their peers. They begin appreciative conversations with open-ended questions such as, “What is going on? What do you see? What does this drawing ask you to think about? And what more can you find?”

UBC practicum students presented ten sketchbook workshops at host schools. Their students participated in daily drawing and talked about art. Henry Hudson Elementary School students made contour and blind contour drawings of flowers, inspired by the style of Georgia O'Keeffe. They also drew images from memory, from Raven Stole the Sun, a traditional Aboriginal story, and told the story through their own artwork. In other lessons, the students went to Kitsilano Beach to draw from nature in a natural setting.

Renfrew Elementary School students composed ephemeral sculptures inspired by the work of natural sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy. They explored the differences between two- and three-dimensional forms. Throughout the activity, students worked collaboratively and communicated to solve problems. Later, they documented their work for display. 

Students at Fleming Elementary School read a story, The Dot, then created fingerprint dot drawings and explored pointillism. They also participated neighbourhood nature walks, where they searched for objects to replicate in their sketchbooks. Using this inspiration from their natural surroundings, they explored and discovered new elements and principles of art such as colour, shape and patterns.

The Sketchbook Project is a joint venture between the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver School Board.

With thanks to Clara Kang, Jane Nam, and Robin Roberts 

Sketchbook Project 2017