Sketchbooks and Thinking Skills

This resource is about helping to children to develop thinking skills which they can use to inform sketchbook work. Together these skills will widen and deepen their understanding.


peeling paint on wall

Thinking skills are developed by encouraging learners to ask themselves questions throughout the sketchbook process.

Share the following questions with learners:

Before your sketchbook work:

What do I already know?
What do I want to know?

During your sketchbook work:

How did that idea come into my mind? Can I trace back where it came from?
What was I thinking about when I was working?
What strategies are working well for me?

Towards the end of your sketchbook work:

What do I like and why? 
What worked less well and why?
What would I do differently next time?
Where might my journey take me next?

Throughout your sketchbook work, keep asking:

What do I want to know? What can I explore?

These questions will help pupils develop an awareness of the processes involved in their own learning. Older students might also keep a “thinking log” in their sketchbook, recording what they are thinking about at regular intervals throughout a lesson. A thinking log provides a great resource for reflection and students can use it to plan the next steps in their learning journey.

And remember: Learning is a cyclical and cumulative process. The last questions are often the same as the first.

This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 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.