During your studies you will have a lot of thoughts about your work and your progress. Thinking about your learning and artwork is really important and it is just as important to make sure these get evidenced in your sketchbook. This is a resource which looks at creative ways of including annotation.

One of the main reasons students tend to avoid writing is because they see it as distinctly separate to their practical work. However, the two practices actually go hand in hand. Your work will not be able to improve if you don’t consider and analyse it from different perspectives. The process of writing about your work and progress will help structure and focus your thoughts and help you develop.

One way to join these two practices even more is to annotate creatively. This might be by writing over images, around them or using different techniques and processes for producing the writing. Your thoughts and ideas don’t have to be written in a sterile way, they can collaborate with your practical experiments by enhancing the appearance of a page in your sketchbook.

Merging images and text is a really good way of finding your own systems for presenting your thoughts in words that closer resemble the way you see an object, artefact or relevant information. Mind-maps are a perfect example of this.

How to get ideas for ways of annotating creatively?

Here are some ideas to help identify how writing can be an integral part of your creative practice:

  1. Write something in every lesson and don’t be too concerned where it goes.
  2. Reflect at the end of every lesson and see how you can combine this with your images you have produced.
  3. Look at examples of the creative writing of others’.
  4. Don’t be afraid to use your own handwriting.
  5. Try different ways of writing: large, small, neat, messy, joined-up, capitals only etc.
  6. Use different materials for writing such as pens, pencils, colours, paint brush etc.
  7. Get feedback on your annotation specifically.
  8. Look at examples of graphic hand-made typography.
  9. Don’t be afraid to write over images and combine writing and image in interesting ways.
  10. Write on different media such as acetate or tracing paper.

Creative materials for annotation:

Potential materials and processes to use when making annotation creative include:

• Letraset

• Type writer

• Letter stencils

• Letter stickers

• Computer printouts

• Handwriting

• Sellotape

• Coloured pens

• White pen

• Gel pens

• Labels

• Magazine titles

• Post-its

• Masking tape

• Fine liner

• Letter stamps

• Dymo-label writer

• Newspaper cut-outs

• Acetate

• Tracing paper

• Coloured paper

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Editor for Pearson Portfolio. danfreaker@pearsonportfolio.co.uk