• Alexandra Benson

A rotating sketchbook

Our Professor created a handcrafted sketchbook that will make its way around the class for the entire semester. Each week it will be passed off to someone else who will then finish a page the last person started, create a spread (2 page creation) and then start a new page which the next person will finish. The way in which we finish one another's work will create a sort of continuity while chronologically keeping track of the weeks discussions and lessons.

I volunteered first, thinking I had more time because two sub jobs I had scheduled were cancelled. I found myself overly anxious about finishing and starting pages in this beautiful creation worried that I would ruin it. I needed to just sit, with calm music playing and cast away my self-doubt and start creating.


The Professor created a page for me to finish. It included a bus, balloons and a 3D element of flying paper airplanes. I sat a long while wondering how I'd finish this. To me, the bus represented the start of school. The start of school at a young age was always exciting. I remember thinking that summer would drag on and one when I was in elementary school. The excitement of the first day is a feeling I remember fondly. To me, it represented new beginnings and color.

I started drawing children leaving the bus and walking toward the school building. I added color with inktense watercolor pencils which I later blended with a wet paintbrush. The paper that i was working on handled the colors and the water very well.

It came time to work on my spread. Since the first day of school, there has been a lot of reading (it's been nearly 23 years since I was in school, I'm not used to all this reading!) and a lot of information I'm absorbing was starting to feel overwhelming. As I sit in my thoughts I realize I need to focus more on elements that resonate with me. As prospective teachers we will find what works with our own teaching styles, class room dynamics and class culture of any given year. I wrote all the words down on the page. I added an element of 3D by creating a mini version of the sketchbooks we completed in class (and that I blogged about in my previous post).


During one of our readings there was a discussion about dressing up and the paper doll project. The doll itself representing who we are, the clothes representing the positions we play (teacher, mom, wife, friend, etc.) I thought it was important to bring an element of the paper dolls to the design of my spread. The words started feeling too much to me with just a white backdrop, how could I show that while I'm absorbing all that I'm reading, I'm also making certain aspects more of a priority based on my own identity. Thought bubbles! I got to work with some paint.

The words, they still exists, you see them barely visible under the paint. Like all information we receive we store but we naturally will focus more on what pertains to us. I also wanted to show that we are growing as individuals, as a class and as future teachers. The best way to signify growth is foliage. I wanted to create some continuity so the leaves are now found on each of the pages I had part in creating.



The last page I started will be finished by the next student in class. We left off with talk of creating a blog...

The last bit of instruction was to add a little ephemera to the envelope and a small note for the next person. I created my note on chipboard with foliage designs. I'm excited to watch this book grown and transform.


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