Tinkerlab’s Sketchbook Challenge – Day 1: Circles

I follow Tinkerlab on Facebook. TONS of creative ideas. Occasionally I nab one for use in our house. I was drawn in by this post on How to Use a Sketchbook to Boost Creativity from two years ago. I loved the idea of sitting down alongside my littles to be creative. Tinkerlab's DPS Challenge that year was born out of her desire to make time for art and to inspire her kids to be creative. Awesome! I'm sure I pinned the idea. I even put a tiny sketchbook I had around the house near their art table for my use. I never used it.

tinkerlab sketchbook challengeFast forward to this weekend. I took note of Tinkerlab's newest challenge, the Tinkerlab Sketchbook Challenge. Sounds great. The kids LOVE the art table. And in a recent conversation with The Boy about what kind of extra-curricular activities he might be interested in, he loudly exclaimed "art studio!" in reference to a birthday party we attended in November. So I figure he'd be on board with a new artistic endeavor at home. I've also decided that my husband might want to join us, though he doesn't know that yet. ;-)

sketchbooks for allSo, this morning The Girl and I made a run to buy new sketchbooks for the entire family. I decided to go with large size, inexpensive kids sketchbooks from Target for The Boy and The Girl. My only criticism is that the pages are not thick. We should be fine for all crayon, pencil, marker activities, but it might be touch and go if the pages get wet. For Evan and myself, I hit the art store and picked up a couple higher quality sketchbooks, with heavyweight drawing paper suitable for wet and dry media. I opted for 6" x 6" for myself and got Evan a 6" x 9" figuring it was the happy medium of larger for creative flexibility and small enough to be portable if he chooses.

When I picked up The Boy (age 3.5 years) from school I talked with him about our new sketchbooks and the challenge. I told him that today's challenge was circles and we brainstormed ways he could make circles in his book. He talked about doing different sizes and colors. I suggested that he could trace items from around the house (and he suggested items he'd try). I told him I'd probably find some circle stickers for The Girl (nearly 2 years) to use. When we got home, they helped to clean up the art table and I presented them with their new sketchbooks. The three of us settled in and created for... okay, I lost track of time. Maybe 30 minutes. Here's what we ended up with.

The Girl's:sketch day1 The GirlShe started with a couple of the blue circle stickers I gave her. Then quickly moved on to lemon-scented marker to freehand draw some circles. There's some evidence in there of her tracing a circle around the cup in pencil, inspired by The Boy who was tracing around a cup as well.

The Boy's: sketch day1 The Boy

Without prompting, The Boy declared, "I am so proud of myself," as he was working. Yup, this was a good idea. He started by tracing some found circular objects there in the middle and then his creativity took over. When I asked him to tell me about his work he told me there were "lots of different shapes" and went on to tell me that there were apple shapes and pear shapes and rocket shapes and "lemon shapes with long stems" and that there was "a thing that looks a lot like a giant lentil." He's just gotten to the point where he colors (mostly) in the lines and he draws things that are intended and actually do look like something. I love watching his journey. Just before naptime when we were talking he declared that he wants to bring his sketchbook to school when it's done to show everyone and that he plans to bring it for sharing next time he's snack manager.


sketch day1 meNothing too much to report here except that this was my image when I thought about the inspiration of "circles." I used the 08 micron pen (I bought 3 different sized black micron pens from the art store).


sketch day1 EvanWhen Evan got home, The Boy explained to him that we had a "gift sketchbook" for him and I sent him the link to Tinkerlab's challenge. Evan was willingly roped into joining us for the sketchbook challenge and sat down on the couch after dinner for a few minutes to do the first challenge. I love his Spherical Chicken and especially love how differently the inspiration of "circles" can be interpreted.

Day 2's challenge is White on Black. I'm a little more intimidated by that than circles... and wondering how I'll help my kids implement that one. We might have to go with White AND Black instead. Any ideas?

10 thoughts on “Tinkerlab’s Sketchbook Challenge – Day 1: Circles

  1. Marji

    Hey, Sarah, these are great. (Can't wait to see the 6x9 version, too ;-)
    George's independent enthusiasm reminded me that when just a little older than he is, I was very frustrated at not being able to cut out a 'real' circle from paper. How could this be so difficult I wondered? Why do my 'circles' always look lumpy and less than round than when Captain Kangaroo just whips out his scissors and cuts out a perfectly round one?
    Took me *years* before I realized the Captain had traced (lightly in pencil, of course) and cut around the pencil lines. LOL! So I am happy to see George knows how to trace an 'accurate' circle. Just in case precise cutting is required, or as in my case, desired.

  2. Ginger

    What a great idea! It inspires me to paint along side my children. Great drawings! Thanks for sharing.

    1. sarah

      Post author

      Wax resist sounds interesting. I think our final choice will be less adventurous than that. I'll be pulling stuff together during naptime. :-)

  3. OMG - I wish I'd known, I would have played along with you. I was an after school art TA for many years. White on black is often about REMOVING things. Ideas for you:

    fill a shape mid-page with pencil (or you can do this to start them out). Then give them erasers to REMOVE the pencil to make lines and other shapes. (you may need a very wide leaded pencil for this)

    Art store should have...argh - what's it called - scratchboard? and they can use fork tines or paperclips (Hmmm. not so good for Rebecca) to remove the black to get to the white. Also similar is start with white, scribble many crayon colors thickly - think mush of colored crayons - then color over with black, then scratch through to see the colors. Or skip the colors. color all black, then scratch through.

    You probably have lots of black paper sitting around/shape makers. Give them black paper and white shapes to stick down.

    Last idea - give black paper and have them cut out bits, so white shows through. Cut black to make it look like the white is on top.

    REALLY last idea - white chalk or pastel on black paper; white tempra paint on black paper - you need a serious white though.

    SO LAST: In conjunction with lunch - yogurt or other white food on black paper (if you can handle eating off of paper...I couldn't, but then again - OMG - do you still have black plates?!?! am I thinking of someone else...get black plates at goodwill. No idea how devoted you are to this.

    1. sarah

      Post author

      LOTS of great ideas, Yvette! And it's not too late to join us. You could totally do 2 days worth of sketching today or 3 days worth tomorrow and be caught up. :-)


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