There can be massive variation in the visual impact a sketchbook can make. Students can often spend more time decorating a title on a sketchbook page than actually undertaking work that will contribute to their grades. As visual people, it is understandable that you want it to look good, but you also need to learn how to balance time spent on presentation with production. Here are some tips that will help produce creative sketchbooks.
The production of a sketchbook is just like any other study skill such as evaluation, ideas generation or visual analysis. Of course, the main focus of a course should be on the production of personal response through engaging with the creative cycle, but it is easy to get stuck in the creative cycle if you are unsure what to put in the sketchbook.
One of the main problems with trying to help students with sketchbook work and presentation is that there are so many possibilities. As a creative teacher, I want their sketchbooks to be personal and represent their style and creative invention. By teaching a single method, it is possible to have a whole class with strong grades, but also to find that all the work looks alike.
Students can be quite good at finding their own solutions to presenting material in a sketchbook. They can find amazing and inventive ways of laying out a page and including extraordinary materials.
It’s a really good idea to have a look at other students’ sketchbooks. Everyone will have their own unique way of working. You may be able to ask the lecturer whether there are any examples from previous students.
Overall, there is no correct way of working. If you are a painting student you might want to be more expressive and include a wider range of media. If you are a design student, you might mock things up in CAD. What is important is to continually try new things and to keep learning. The sketchbook is the place that can start. Once you settle into a comfort zone, things can get a little static and repetitive.