Students find more inspiration in nature with the Sketchbook Project at VSB

Schools & Students

Many VSB schools have had the opportunity to take part in the Sketchbook Project, a hands-on opportunity for students to participate in daily drawing, influence confidence in drawing skills and learn ways to talk about art. Last school year, 14 classrooms across the city hosted UBC practicum students in residence, and with this coming school year, more teachers and classes can take part in this unique program. 

VSB teachers will be able to take part in a professional development workshop on the Sketchbook Project December 1 this year, and a call for applications to participate in the 2018 Sketchbook Project will be announced in January 2018.

In 2017, the theme for the Sketchbook Project was “Drawing closer to nature” and as often as possible, drawing workshops took place outdoors. This spring, Sir Stanford Fleming Elementary students learned about elements of art such as value and shape, as well as some specific sketching techniques to go along with them. Students sketched natural objects of their choice and were encouraged to carefully observe the objects and employ their newly learned drawing skills to create a realistic sketch. 

At Grandview Elementary, students had the opportunity to take their workshops outdoors. They focussed on connecting with nature around their school grounds, as well as bringing nature back into their classroom to sketch leaves, flowers, rocks, and twigs. The students also learned observational drawing techniques, a slower process of noting and drawing details.

Simon Fraser Elementary students spent a great deal of time in the public gardens adjacent to the school drawing closer to nature. They were fortunate to have the opportunity to explore some fascinating specimens from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, such as a deer jaw bone, shark teeth, an owl wing and a seahorse. After touching, observing and reflecting on the natural specimens, students began to sketch their observations by looking closely at the objects. They focussed on representing textures, shadows, patterns, shapes and lines found in the samples.

Being able to capture moments of inspiration from natural objects and materials is one important aspect when looking closely at nature. The Sketchbook Project focusses on creating interest in other artists by sharing sketchbooks and drawings from around the world. When the students were able to share their work in the closing circle, they also were able to become inspired.

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