What is a combined sketchbook and brief?

The idea is to include material in the brief that students will continually need at different stages throughout the project. It doesn’t just include an outline of what the project will entail, but has useful material that can be referred back to and become critical and add value to the work being produced.

The simplest way to do this is to look forward at the project and consider including handouts that students would normally be given during lessons at later stages. Here the responsibility is then passed to the students to keep organised and bring the working brief with them to all the lessons. Should they then have questions about the project, it is possible to direct them to the project brief and see if they can find the answer themselves, generating further independence.

The brief and sketchbook combination:

This idea can be stretched as far as including every single handout and piece of information into one document for the whole project. A code of conduct outlined at the start of the course can stipulate that this must be brought to each lesson. Should the document be forgotten, lost or misplaced it is highly useful to have it stored as a PDF on a virtual learning environment for reprinting, but the responsibility for reprinting or accessing should remain with the student.

If course leaders stipulate a certain kind of sketchbook or have the resources to supply these to the students, it is even possible to design the project brief paperwork to attach or include in the sketchbook. By anticipating the quantity of material produced and the space required for the project, the size of the sketchbook can match the brief effectively. The scale of the sketchbook can match the quantity of work required from the project.

Here the project brief has been designed to be attached to the back of the sketchbook and been included in advance.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One


A checklist at the start of the document means that students can track and tick off what they have done and can have a clear understanding of their achievement.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One

Repeat Tasks:

Most projects will entail repetitive tasks that mean students will have to approach an activity in similar ways. An example of this is analysing and evaluating their own or others’ work. Instead of going over the steps again and again, try and summarise the questions that students should ask themselves and make a flow chart they can refer back to.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One

Key Information:

Any information that you find yourself repeating over and over again can also be included. This might cover the required storage methods, best practice, printing methods etc.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One

Reference Material:

Significant reference material, web sites and key artists can also be included.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One


The most important material to include are the handouts for each lesson. This is what will really make the document invaluable for students. Here a page has been dedicated to each lesson and has the aims, objectives, tasks and reference material. Take this further by setting tasks in lessons for students to cut out the images and include them in the sketchbook with analysis and evaluation relevant to the project outcomes. Throughout the project the brief will slowly disappear and be used in the sketchbook.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One


Also include the key questions and structure for the final evaluation.

Brief and Sketchbook All in One

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Painter, Writer, Designer danfreaker@processfreaks.com