Encouraging Daily Sketchbook


Encouraging students to work in a daily sketchbook can be an uphill battle. It can be intimidating to know where to start, especially when students are just learning how to work in their sketchbooks. In order to instill regular artmaking habits in your students, you must show them how. Enter the daily sketchbook activity.


If you want students to work regularly in their sketchbooks you have to keep it simple and quick. Treat the daily sketchbook project as a class opener activity or a bell ringer activity. Give them a simple prompt and set a timer. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes every day for students to complete the prompt you give them. Do not grade on how their work of art looks, instead grade them on time management, effort, and caring for supplies. Everyone comes into the art room with a different skill level, meet them where they are, and encourage them to build on the skills they started with.

When I do a daily sketchbook activity in my class I like to follow this as a guide for developing prompts:

  • Monday: Drawing from life
  • Tuesday: Combining elements of art
  • Wednesday: Drawing from memory
  • Thursday: Shading and value techniques
  • Friday: Creative focus

This allows them to practice their technical ability and think creatively while working in their sketchbooks.


If you are using the daily sketchbook assignment as a class opener or bell ringer you need to keep the supplies simple. You don’t want students to make a mess, you need them to be able to put away supplies on their way out the door or en route to collect materials for their project.

Check out my go-tos for sketchbook activities:

  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pen
  • Extra fine tip Sharpies
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Crayons


There are a wide range of ways to deliver instructions to students, however, avoid only verbally sharing instructions at all costs. You will inevitably have a student who wasn’t listening, forgot what the options were, or tuned out when you went over what supplies to grab. Either pass out printouts or display instructions.

I like to have one slide of information ready for every prompt. The slide includes the prompt to complete, an image as a jumping-off point for inspiration, any additional instructions, and a list of supplies they can use. I like to cover a range of topics in my slides including drawing from memory, drawing from life, practicing value, combining elements of art to create patterns, and thinking creatively. It’s also important for concepts to scaffold. Start with simpler prompts, as students get used to working in their sketchbook daily and practice techniques you can make the drawing topics more complex.

Check out an even more in-depth post about daily sketchbook here. Learn how I break the days of the week down into themes to crate a predictable sketching schedule.

Hit the easy button and grab all of these slides for a 9-week course or a semester-long 18-week course. Get them on my TPT here (click for 9-weeks, click for 18-weeks) or on my website shop here (click for 9-weeks, click for 18-weeks). If you prefer a less structured sketchbook assignment, check out my 92 sketchbook prompt jar to inspire ideas in your students.

I just added a new semester prompt pack and bundled it with my first-semester prompt pack to create a year of prompts! This pack includes 180 sketching prompts, one a day for an entire 36-week school year. Check it out here.

I would love to hear how you facilitate a daily sketchbook or encourage regular sketching in your class! Comment below with more tips!

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