Sandee Darden’s Lockdown Art Journal

By The Arty Teacher - May 12, 2020

Virginia art teacher Sandee Darden’s lockdown journal has been causing a stir on social media. Full of topical commentary about all the things we are experiencing as a result of Covid-19, and including quality drawing, it’s easy to see why.  I asked Sandee if I could share her work with art teachers and wanted to find out more about what had led her to make this journal.

Have you always kept a journal or is this the first time?

“In the past five years, I have begun to make travel journals while on trips to Canada, England and Scotland, and the Caribbean. I really think they added depth and dimension to my adventures and that is what helped encourage me to start one about the Pandemic Quarantine. I was feeling very isolated, missing interactions with students and colleagues.”

Do you encourage your students to keep a journal?

“I think of sketchbooks and journals as “idea banks” and do use them with my students. I believe strongly in collaboration, and even have used a “Traveling Journal” that students check out and use a page or two, then another student checks it out…they are filled with wonderful work that is made better by looking at and being inspired by the work of others.”

How have you found distance/home learning?

“I consider teaching a vocation and could not imagine doing anything else! With that being said, I am also an old dragon, not used to technology or social media, so when we went to distance learning, it was total culture shock and terror! I turned to social media when my anxiety over “was I the only one that has these problems” started to affect my work. Who knew that it would become such an invaluable tool, a sounding board!”

Your lockdown art journal has caused quite a stir.  How does that feel?

“I have blossomed under the attention that pages are getting! It has truly been a blessing and indeed inspired me to keep going and continue my journey. I was dubbed a Visual Storyteller, and I love that! To think that other people feel like me and understand what I am feeling is a gift.”

Too see more of Sandee’s work follow her Journal Facebook Page.

For more inspiration, check out these two amazing student journals.

home learning art resources

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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9 responses to “Sandee Darden’s Lockdown Art Journal”

  1. Susan says:

    I love this kind of journaling, but I struggle to do it. I end up with one page and never finish…I suffer from Not good enough” syndrome. As my daughter became a high school teacher in a economically challenged district. I started helping her with planning. As a retired graphic designer, I like assignments rather than a blank page to create on. I made basic work sheets for learning patterns, textures etc. Exactly my skill level, the art examples look like a kid did them. I found Zentangles. I can’t journal like above, but I discovered I like a combination of zentangles around my favorite quotes. Still tells my story and has gotten my past my “blank page fright”. My daughter’s teaching position is challenging to say the least. She is a great artist, her journal looks like the above. As a graphic designer, I’m not really a artist, but a problem solver. I’m just glad she call me to talk through her class challenges. Together, along with you you we find solutions. And me, I’m finding my art again.

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Susan, How wonderful to be involved with your daughter’s planning and for her to be able to consult you. Two minds are better than one! Quotes and zentangles sounds like a great combination.

  2. Marva says:

    Oh I love your pages! How fun!

  3. . It was great to get introduced to your work. I have been maintaining an art diary too where I draw and write things related to Lockdown and Covid

  4. Julia F Arline says:

    Wow what an exciting journal. I had the pleasure of working with Sandee Darden at KFMS before I retired. I enjoyed reading the tiles each year of the students who moved on to high school. What a mind blowing concept of displaying students’ thoughts for teachers, siblings and class reunions on tiles to be forever remembered. Sandee I am also writing a journal called “I want that one”. It is about my journey of adopting a foster child. Just like you, I’m waiting on how this will end. Keep up the great work.

  5. Katherine Queen says:

    Standee Darden is not only a great art teacher she is a team player with every program in the school , Math , English,Social Studies, Science and school spirit I had the blessing of working with her before I retired and she is a phenomenal human being! Her journaling is amazing!

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