top of page



Hardcover books work best and last the longest.
Avoid bindings using coils, tape or combs as pages fall out, coils bend and spines break.
Before starting your sketchbook: Re-enforce by punching some holes in the spine (hammer and nail, small drill or an awl), stitch with waxed thread or dental floss. Bookbinding, athletic or Duct tape on outside and inside of covers prevents them from tearing off.

IMG_1187 copy.jpg


Expensive is not always better and sketchbooks can come in all shapes and sizes. Suit style and size to individual preference. Old magazines or books are great too. Gesso or primer over areas you want white or work around/on top of the text.


Tricky topic! I tell my students they have freedom of expression in their books. Educators are legally and ethically bound to report anything illegal or which may be a threat to someone/something. I have therefore maintained a rule that anything my students wouldn’t want the police, counselor, administration or their parents to see must be covered up or clipped shut so that I don’t see it. If I have concerns I will talk to the student privately with a counselor.


Encourage the Recycle, Reuse, Reduce concept. Keep a classroom box for scraps and bits. Encourage students to collect things, to interact with their environment, and bring stuff in for the box. This is one of the coolest aspects of sketchbooks! Students of all sorts of different cultures bring stuff in and it really gets interesting as they share and teach their peers. It’s also neat to see students offer creative uses for another student’s materials.

Any left over paint should fill empty sketchbook pages, not get thrown out!


clippings from magazines/books/newspapers, maps, flyers, posters, wallpaper, packaging, dried plant matter, coins, keys, string, greeting cards, paper samples, paint swatches, glitter, board game pieces, felt markers, pencil crayons, crayons, canvas, wire, circuit boards, postage stamps, postcards, foil, cellophane, feathers, fabrics, photocopies, rubbings, ribbons, conte, charcoal, pastels, business cards, candy wrappers, zippers, buttons, rubber stamps, coloured sand, flat stones or jewels, chains, beads, real or play cash, calendars, lace, chalk,  tracing paper, trading cards, stickers, envelopes, comic books, photos/Polaroids, Zip-Lock bags filled with treasures, flags, sewing patterns, mesh, stencils, silk, bubble wrap, dried spices/teas/coffee to add scent, pigments, tissue papers, water soluble coloured pencils/crayons, etc.

Liquid: gesso, acrylic paint, watercolours, India ink, spray paint, varnish, nail polish, makeup, glitter glue, house paints, acrylic ink, natural dyes, printmaking inks, crackle medium, faux finishes and patinas, gouache, tempera, primer, air-brush, etc


Rubber cement- toxic, yellows over time
Food colouring- fades over time.
Xylene, non archival markers- toxic, discolour and eat through artwork over time. Use acid-free pens.
Acrylic mediums- pages will stick together if painted on both sides. Use Varethane instead.
Thermo-Printing- receipts, movie/concert tickets, etc use thermo-printing, fade quickly.
Glue sticks- not durable or long lasting
Bubble jet computer prints- will smear if wet or painted on.
Oil paints & pastels- oils bleed out and stain, very long drying times, noxious odour.

bottom of page