Teaching with Contemporary Art

Thinking Through Possibilities


Sketchbooks can serve as places to work out big ideas, as we have seen over the past two Teaching With Contemporary Art columns where Sue Chenoweth’s students used sketchbook ideas to inform site-specific installations.

This week, Natalie Kowalski, a former student with Eric Scott at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, VA, and now a freshman at James Madison University, shares two images from her sketchbook that serve as very different examples of where students can take sketchbook studies. The study above can be read as a form of visual journaling while the sample below can serve as a study for a future illustration, painting or mixed-media work.


Investigating contemporary art and creating images that respond to visual culture, social and political issues, and specific design problems are just a few directions sketchbooks can take. Natalie Kowalski’s work illustrates how students can use sketchbooks to create more complete works of art vs. the quick studies and preliminary work we are often used to seeing.

Are there other directions you or your students take with sketchbooks?

Next week: A report from the Bodies exhibition: Using controversial subject matter in the classroom.


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