Visual Journal

All students are required to have a Visual Journal.


The Journal can be a sketchbook of whatever size you prefer your students to work in; it could also be a series of notebooks of varying sizes, a folder or container ( like a big plastic envelope), or even an electronic file, the format is not prescribed. 

Introduce the Journal from the start and encourage daily entries. This is the student's personal record of their artistic journey and they should feel free and uninhibited to choose what form it takes and what content it contains. Some students may produce more than one journal during the course, there is no maximum limit.

If you are using a sketchbook, I recommend working in an A3 size (more room to develop work) using landscape format to maximize on screen view when pages are selected for PP. The journal page on the left is vertical, which is fine, but horizontal does allow a better on screen view.

Try some of the prompts, and big questions in Journal Reflections to encourage  critical thinking and reflection.

Not an assessed component but...

The Visual Journal itself is not assessed but it is key in providing the bulk of raw material when compiling the screens for the PP.

In the past, the IWB pages were selected and scanned and uploaded. Now, the materials that are submitted for assessment may be compiled from research and experiments and even whole pages done in the journal, but the journal itself is not uploaded for assessment.

If you would like to assess the journal as an ongoing part of student progress, I have created a rubric for this purpose: A Visual Journal Progress Rubric

Raw material for other components

The Visual Journal will serve as the main repository for all the students drawing, research, media experiments, notes, brainstorming, and development of ideas. Portions of the journal may be selected, adapted and presented in other components of the course. For example, analysis and comparison of artworks for the Comparative Study may come from notes in the journal, as well as pages for the screens presented as the Process Portfolio, and planning for the Exhibition and writing the Curatorial rationale, all of these elements may be adapted from the journal.

From the teachers point of view, a rich, varied and consistently worked in visual journal is invaluable as the source from which the material for the other components is extracted, sometimes modified. It will make your task (and the students) much easier if you get the students used to working regularly in the journal, documenting process, including influences, exhibitions, artists, ideas to develop, self-reflections, so they have a variety of material to pull from.

What should be included in the Visual Journal?

draw, think, analyze, reflect, design, invent, compare, experiment, record, respond, explore, observe, create

All of the following can be included in the journal

  • development of art-making skills and techniques
  • experiments with media and technologies
  • personal reflections
  • first-hand observations, written and visual
  • creative ideas for exploration and development
  • evaluations of art practices and art-making experiences
  • responses to artists and their works
  • gallery and museum visits
  • detailed evaluations and critical analysis
  • records of valued feedback received
  • challenges faced and achievements

Download or print pdf Visual Journal guidelines for students

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