What should I do in my IWB?

“What should I do in my IWB?”
Examples and Advice

Here are some examples of inspiring IWBs/Visual Art Journals so you can see the range of creative approaches students have towards investigating and visually organizing.

1. PDF collection of many successful IWB examples, including some important guiding advice.

2. IWBs from Busan International Foreign School (South Korea)

3. IWBs and guidance from International School of Florence (Italy)

4. IWB of Erin Bammann (USA)

The IWB/Visual Art Journal Basics
  • L4 students should create a minimum of 3 pages per week.
  • L3 should create a minimum of 5 per week.
Every page should include:
  • The date, title and page number
  • Writing in black ink
  • both images AND writing
  • a deep analysis of what you’re learning about (think critically. Do you agree? Disagree? How can you connect this to other things you’ve learned in the past?)
  • your personal ideas about the topic
Remember, everything should be connected! Research, planning, studio work, media investigations, reflections are all part of a connected journey.
If you don’t know what to do next, consider these choices…
Research a new artist.
Pick a work of art that speaks to your heart, that you will use to influence your own studio work. Closely observe and analyze the artwork. Use the DAIJ technique to critique what you see (Describe, Analyze, Interpret, Judge).
  • How are the elements and principles used? (see list below)
  • How is this artist’s style different or similar to another artist you’ve studied? Compare and contrast.
  • What are the social/cultural contexts for this piece of art? (What is the artist trying to communicate about her culture, or another culture? Is she reacting to an event, a social practice, history, or something else?)
  • What is your personal connection to this piece?
  • How will it connect to your theme, or how will use use what you’ve learned from this artist to create something new?
Research new media techniques/skills.
What do you want to learn how to do? For example:
  • Sculpt with clay or found objects?
  • Learn to draw human faces?
  • Find better techniques for watercolor?
  • Crosshatch with pen and ink?
  • Draw realistic hair?
Observation Drawing
The most important way to improve in drawing and painting is to draw what you see.
  • What observation drawings would be relevant to your study? A few examples: people, faces, hands, feet, trees, cars, buildings, chairs, plants…
  • Tips for observation drawing
  • Reflect on a piece you’ve just finished, or a work in-progress.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your piece? (How are you using the elements and principles?)
  • What techniques did you use?
  • How will you revise it to make it stronger?
  • How is this piece connected to your theme?
  • What does it reveal about your personal ideas?
  • What artists/other ideas influenced this piece?
Plan for a New Studio Work
  • Draw at least two sketches that show your plan for a new piece (it’s said that Leonardo DaVinci himself always started with at least three sketches for any new work of art.)
  • How will it show your theme?
  • What is your personal connection to this piece? How does it show your own ideas, experiences, emotions, history?
  • How will you show what you learned from other artists?
  • What media will you use? 
  • Doodle. Daydream! Write down questions or ideas you have. Make idea clouds. Share the beautiful or messy processes in your head that lead you to create!
Elements & Principles of Art
These should be part of every IWB entry you create – they are the foundation of the “underpinnings of artistic expression.” Understanding and using these in both your planning and your writing are ESSENTIAL to writing about art, and making successful studio work.
Elements - line, shape, form, texture, value, color, space. Getty.edu has great examples of the elements of art.
Principles - contrast, emphasis, unity, pattern, movement/rhythm, balance
See this quick slideshow about elements and principles.