A Sketchbook Pathway Step 1: Open Out & Give Permission

“To be creative you have to be curious” Philippe Starck, Designer

The Sketchbook Journey starts with a process of opening out our thoughts, at the same time as we give ourselves permission to explore.

Missing You - Pavement piece by Rowan Briggs Smith during #lockdown 2020

Teaching (or facilitating) art is an opportunity to set a task to which we don’t already know the answer. Teachers will know the broad stroke of skills, experience or knowledge which pupil’s will develop through a particular project or task, but the exact journey itself and the personal outcome, unlike in most other subjects, should yet to be defined. 

Everything in art is really a research project, and putting sketchbooks at the centre of learning encourages us to focus upon exploration. To really research and explore, we need to open up thinking and give permission for personal journeys to take place. 

Ask a Question or Set a Provocation

How much does a cloud weigh?

How would you design a home if you lived in Anglo Saxon times?

Explore the birdlife in the garden.

Make a self-portrait which contains a secret message.

Create the Context Around the Question

We’re going to make sculpture

We’re going to make self portraits using colour and line

We’re going to make posters to display in the school to show people what we are passionate about.

Choose a Lens as a Starting Point

For example a lens might be:

  • Specific: We’re going to respond by looking at sculpture made by inhabitants of Easter Island.

  • Imaginative: We’re going to use our imagination to create a different world.

  • Combined: We’re going to use science and art to explore plants near the shore.

What can we learn from allowing a variety of lenses to exist in same space?


This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1100 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.

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