Sculpture and 3D Design Sketchbooks – 13 Creative Examples

Last Updated on December 3, 2021

This article features outstanding sketchbook pages that have been produced by high school Art and Design students from around the world. Exploring disciplines such as sculpture, installation, architectural design, and product design, these sketchbook pages illustrate the range of excellent presentation techniques and styles that are possible. It is hoped that these examples will motivate and inspire those who are working on their own Sculpture or 3D Design sketchbook as part of a high school Art or Design project.

You may be interested in our new book: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks. This book has high-resolution images so that fine details and annotation are clear, making it an excellent resource for students and schools. Learn more!

A Level sculpture sketchbook
An A Level Art project by Bette-Belle Blanchard. This sketchbook page shows the development of curving, organic sculptural forms, inspired by Henry Moore. The simple technique of wax resist (crayon drawings with washes of dye), results in an eye-catching page: quick and confident recording of ideas on paper.
Sculpture sketchbook examples
An A Level Sculpture project by Robert James Hawkins from Tiffin Boys’ School, Surrey, England. Photographic evidence of first-hand research, quick confident gestural drawings showing a response to this environment, and scrawled annotation developing ideas for a sculpture titled ‘Stone Egg’ (first sketchbook page). The second sketchbook page shows the development of ideas for a sculpture inspired by deconstructed brass instruments.
International GCSE Design and Technology
An International GCSE Design and Technology project by Rhea Maheshwari (age 15) from ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand. This architectural project that achieved an A* grade. The top page shows linear conceptual drawings upon a ground of torn Kraft paper, black cartridge paper and grey acrylic. Of particular interest are the photographic works of abstract architectural sculptures (middle image, bottom right) which feed ideas back into the drawings beside them. The first page contains black and white photographs of paper sculptures drawn over and then digitally added to the site landscape. The final page shows further development of her design. Here, drawings have been torn and spray-glued on to one sheet of paper, before being covered with an acrylic wash. More of Rhea’s sketchbook pages can be viewed in our publication: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks.
A Level Art architecture
This architectural design project is by Hope Francis, completed while studying Edexcel A Level Art at St Peter’s Catholic School, Bournemouth, England. This sketchbook page contains a range of media, including biro pen, felt tip pen, graphite pencil, graph paper, and tracing paper. Awarded A* grade, more of Hope’s sketchbook pages can be viewed in our publication: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks.
High school sculpture projects
These A Level Art sketchbook pages by Olivia Paine show clever and highly original investigations of the organic forms, colors, patterns and textures of a peeled mandarin. This high school sculpture project is a beautiful mix of first-hand sources, artist influence, inventive media exploration, textural discovery and annotation.
3D Design sketchbooks
This vibrant A Level Art Sketchbook page by Aqsa Iftikhar shows the development of ideas for a ceramics piece, with intricate pen drawings rendered using a range of mediums. This page is a reminder that a Design sketchbook can (and often should) embrace the same range of mixed media techniques, vibrant colors, and textures that might be expected in a Painting / Fine Art sketchbook.
A Level Sculpture sketchbook
These rich and gutsy A Level Art sketchbook pages by Lottie Hanson-Lowe from Bryanston School, Dorset, England, show confident exploration of color, texture, surface and sculptural form, drawing inspiration from artist models in preparation for a Sculpture / 3D Project. Note that competent visual exploration becomes the dominant part of the sketchbook, with annotation minimal. In these cases the development of ideas is communicated through the arrangement of the exemplary visual work itself.
High school sculpture ideas
An A Level Art project by Geneva Wilson, with beautiful integration of photographs, drawings and annotation. With an earthy color scheme used throughout, this high school sculpture project explores beauty in the ordinary and mundane, focusing upon progressive changes in nature: growth, development, decay and decomposition.
A Level Design and Technology project
This is part of an AS Level Design and Technology (A*) Coursework architectural treehouse project by Georgia Shattky from ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand. Photographic evidence of inspiration from first-hand sources (seedpods, cabbage tree) is accompanied by the conceptual models of paper sculptures, followed by enlarged details, views from alternate angles and drawings of the form as a whole, in a range of different mediums. Three-dimensional investigations feed two-dimensional drawings, which in turn inspire further investigations in 3D form. The middle right image also shows a sculptural form digitally superimposed into a real-world environment; an exciting strategy for architectural and 3D Design students to explore. Larger file sizes of Georgia’s sketchbook pages can be seen in our publication: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks.
NCEA sculpture sketchbook
This sketchbook page is part of a New Zealand high school Level 3 NCEA Sculpture project that achieved Excellence and Scholarship (sourced from NZQA). The comprehensive submission explores ideas related to typewriters and old and new technologies. As with some of the pages above, pen has been used to draw over photographs, adding detail and trialing further ideas.
CIE Design and Technology
This CIE AS Level Design and Technology sketchbook pages by Nikau Hindin from ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand, show conceptual ideas for a community block of toilets. The design has been inspired by the sculptural investigations on the left (these have been photographed, cropped and arranged to mimic a folded piece of toilet paper) created from cardboard, paper and sewing pins. The large architectural work on the right is a mix of digital and hand drawn work: acrylic paint and black pen over a photographic print. Merging digital with hand drawn techniques like this is an excellent strategy to use within a sculpture or 3D Design project. You may also wish to view Nikau’s A* IGCSE Coursework project (98%), her AS Art coursework project (awarded 100%), or her A Level Painting project (98%). Larger file sizes of Nikau’s sketchbook pages can be viewed in our publication: Outstanding High School Sketchbooks.
cat sculpture sketchbook
This sketchbook page is from an OCR AS Level Three Dimensional Design project by Shawn Kwan, Mayfield School, East Sussex, United Kingdom. This page shows the process of creating a handmade ceramic cat. You may wish to view more of Shawn’s ‘A’ grade ceramic project.
Design and Technology folio example
This sketchbook page is a partially-complete teaching example for A Level Design and Technology students, created by Amiria Gale. It has been included here in the hope that the use of media (crumpled newspaper on the left and acrylic and black and white pen over acrylic wash on the right) might inspire Sculpture and 3D Design students.

Need more sketchbook ideas?

This article showcases quality Sculpture and 3D Design sketchbooks. It is part of a series showcasing and celebrating outstanding sketchbooks by students, artists and designers. You may also be interested in viewing our other sketchbook resources:

This sketchbook collection is continually updated. Please bookmark this page so that you can return to it when needed! If you would like to submit your own sketchbook page for inclusion, please contact us. 🙂

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