The next question we're confronted with is "What the hell do I write and what do I put in it"? Another thing that seems to be lost on students is the work rate and how organised you have to be to get the work completed and in your books.
Question... What the hell do I put in my sketchbook?
There's a number of answers to this - one is everything, the other is the stuff you need to meet the assessment criteria. The bottom line is what-ever you do put in your books, whether it be a minimal approach or an everything approach it does have to meet the assessment criteria.
To this end, it is essential that you engage with this aspect of your work and you make sure you know what it is you've got to do - ask the question "What criteria do I have to meet - what exactly do I have to do"? This information will be on your assignment/brief sheet under the section titled "Assessment Criteria". It tends to be a bit 'wordy' so if you don't understand it, ask someone to explain it to you in terms of what you have to do. If in doubt ask.
Work Rate... Fast and efficient, do it as it happens. Use college time to write stuff up, print things off, read the BJP's, stick your work in your book. Do it there an then!
When you're working in the darkroom where you have to wait for things to happen, don't wait around, use this 'dead time' to write up records and explanations of what you're doing.
Do you travel to college by train? Work on the train?
Set aside time to do the work and do it as it happens.
Diary Style. Work on your book as though it's a diary, do a bit every day, write it as a diary.
Page 1. Always ensure that you have a page that identifies your work with contact details for the college in the event that you lose the work. If it gets left on the train or somewhere the chances are someone will return it. Without this page, you may never see the work again and we cannot assess work that we have never seen.
For our current students, the next page may include the work that was produced prior to joining the course - research work using the British Journal of Photography (Images and you're analysis of the work and the accompanying text).
The first lesson was the Visual Language work where we explored and shot images of mugshots over two stages. Simply record what you did, what you were thinking and what you understood of the task at that stage using both images and written work. You could include technical details, but the most important aspects are the visual language aspects - the conventions that relate to creating images that look like a classic police mug-shot discussing the complexities involved in making the image.
Once you'd shot the first series the results and conventions were discussed and you went out again and we developed the work further aiming to make the work a more convincing version of the classic mug-shot...
As much as you can you're advised to include sketches and drawings. UAL love sketches and drawings and the more you do the less you'll have to write. There's a balance to be had between how much writing you do and how much you illustrate your learning through the use of images (photography or sketches). Potentially you can write a lot less than the example here, but you then need to use images and sketches far more in the process of evidencing your learning and analysis (See the example at the bottom of this post).
Listen for suggestions in lessons, if an idea or experiment is suggested, you should grab the opportunity and try it out. In the lesson the lecturer discussed the one-eyed aspects of using lenses at different focal lengths. That was a prompt for you to do additional work that would help you attain the higher grades...
Research is essential and as you go through this course you'll be directed as to how to go about your research at this stage you need to have completed research in conjunction with your practical work you need to do outside of college. (See your brief 'Sinister'). The research at this stage is being directed in that we're pointing you towards specific artists and resources. In response to the artists you're being directed to look at you need to include images and then start the written content offering your initial response to the work prior to reading and learning about it. Once you've offered your opinion and analysis of the work, you then need to read the accompanying text and then write up a summary of the important aspects that relate to your task. This might look like this...
There are loads of examples of how sketchbooks can be put together and a particularly good resources for exploring how others do it is here
On this website you'll find links to videos such as these and you may find them helpful...