Sunday, February 3, 2013

Inspirations Everywhere: DIY Sketchbooks in the Classroom

Introducing Design 

One major focus of Multimedia and Design class this semester is for students to sketch and sketch often. We have a sketch a day where I give physical, visual and auditory prompts for students to respond to in sketches. I think that sketches are the foundation of designing.

On Friday I had a 2 hour Google hangout with Fred Galang. This conversation had so many topics that it deserves a post on its own, but what came out of it for me is a totally new look on connecting the curriculum to creative student work. Fred's students are constantly sketching and I really took that to heart. Fred was so generous with his time and advice,  I am trying to internalize a lot of it, but I know it will be invaluable as I start my class this semester.

Sketchbooks can be made from anything, and for about 8 bucks you can get a coil bound book at Staples that will do a fine job. Lately I've been looking at the world and thinking that instead of buying something like a sketchbook, I should make one. One important tenet for Fred is to ALWAYS do a project before you have students do it. This was definitely one of those tasks that I needed to see the project from the other side to gauge difficulty as well as time needed, and how well the it will meet the outcomes in the Design modules.

How To's to the Rescue

I simply searched "DIY sketchbook" and was introduced to a ton of resources.

One site on Youtube that was the most helpful was from Sea Lemon. She has an amazing array of DIY videos. I watched a few of her videos and decided to use the Coptic Stitch method and combine it with her TEXT BLOCK case binding . I wanted to use plain paper from the school as well as some card stock for the covers. The dental floss idea was simply a thought I had because I knew it was cheap, readily available, and had wax on it to easily sew and bind the paper together. There was so much learning in the project. I learned about the history of Coptic Binding, and how it is an ancient technique. The form is perfect for sketchbooks because the final book lays flat. Despite absolutely NO sewing and stitching experience I was able to get the first two signatures bound within 30 minutes, which was REALLY taking my time. All told, the time invested, the learning it provided and the satisfaction of making something certainly made this a worthwhile project. I hope my enthusiasm will rub off on my students when we make sketchbooks this week!

I will be using materials for this project that are a little different than on the DIY sites I visited. I will use a corn on the cob holder to poke holes in the paper (awl's cost $30 each!), dental floss instead of waxed thread, white photocopy paper, and 65lb card stock I got at Staples for the covers. Instead of rice glue I'll probably use PVA glue like is recommended, because it is really quite inexpensive. The binding doesn't have to be glued at all so an ordinary glue stick could be used to add the card stock covers.

This project is step one of several in our first project which is to develop a "personal brand" as young designers. Students will get to etch their personal brand into their sketchbooks as part of this ongoing project and introduction to design.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic project. I like the personal branding element. I have done something like this with a simple pamphlet binding. It made the project accessible to even my lowest functioning students.
    I have purchased a class set of Lineco Wooden Handle Awls from Dick Blick. I also constructed a stabbing cradle out of scrap wood. It made for much nicer signatures.
    When I had Jr. High students make sketchbooks, we just used a spine stapler to speed up the process