Using Your Sketchbook

Most artists and designers use sketchbooks.  They use them to keep lots of different ideas, workings out and research in one place.

Your sketchbook will be used in exactly the same way.  By the end of Year 11 it will contain lots of your creative ideas and developments, things you find interesting, drawings and studies.

It will also be an extensive record of how you have developed as an artist during KS 4.


Artists and designers use sketchbooks to:

·         Record visual ideas and to develop them

·         Take notes and record thoughts

·         Produce drawings and studies from memory, from their imagination and from observation

·         Organise source material and research

·         Collect things they find interesting or inspiring

·         Experiment with materials and techniques

·         Develop and plan final pieces of work

Sometimes we will do class work in your sketchbook.  Often you will complete homework in it.  You are also free to do your own work in it – it is your sketchbook after all.

Your sketchbook will contain a lot of the work that is assessed at GCSE

REMEMBER – it is really important that you look after your sketchbook – it is a good idea to photograph each page in your sketchbook as you work and save a digital copy.

Remember: This is a ppt download

Part of your assessment at GCSE is your ability to refine and improve upon the materials, techniques, and processes that you use (A02). The arrangement or composition of your photograph is important. Read the following blog for guidelines as how to use the rule of thirds when taking your own photographs.

Drawing a Grid Crib Sheet

 One of the best ways of transcribing an image to another surface is by using a grid.  This devise has been used for centuries and is still used today – not least by photorealists such as Chuck Close.

Grids are also very useful when changing the scale of an image.

A couple of rules:

  • Make sure your grid is accurate.
  • Use a grid of squares (not rectangles).

 Enlarging an image from A4 to A3

The problem when enlarging using a grid from A4 to A3 is that this does not involve nice neat numbers.  A3 is 141% larger than A4!

An A4 sheet is 297mm x 210mm.  Draw a grid with 30mm divisions (there will be a slight remainder on the 297mm side).  This will give you a 10 x 7 grid.

An A3 sheet is 420mm x 297mm.  In order to achieve a 10 x 7 grid the divisions will need to be 42.43mm!


  • When drawing your grid always measure both sides of the sheet accurately to ensure that the lines you draw in order to form the grid are parallel.
  • Use a ruler to measure simple divisions (such as 30mm) and a pair of compasses for difficult divisions (such as 42.43mm)
  • When drawing the division lines make sure you hit the marks – if you don’t your grid will be a mess no matter how carefully you’ve measured.
  • Make sure, when dealing with a remainder, that you measure both sides parallel to one another.

 For your William Daniels photorealism you will be gridding and transferring the entire A4 image, including the white boarder.

What to do once you have finished your sculpture

  • As a team. take a series of photographs of your sculpture.  Try out different lighting options including both artificial light and daylight.  Use Miss Waterhouse’s special black photobooth (ask her about this – she likes nothing more than talking to people about it – it makes her very happy).
  • Each print out a contact sheet of your photos.
  • Individually select the photos you think are the strongest and print these out either A5 or A4 size.
  • Select your final image and print this out – this is the image you will draw a grid on.
  • Ask for an A3 canvas and draw a grid on this.
  • Document all of the above in your sketchbook.
  • Then you will be ready to start painting.

Further  your expertise with oil paints with this personal research task.

Use the the information on the ppt below for instructions and guidelines.

Where art and science meet - watch these fascinating TED Talks: