Sketchbook pages showing the plants and view of the trees and fields at the edge of a woods on an August evening walk

Are you curious about the world around you?

Would you like to spend some time getting to know it better?

The Entangled Sketchbook Challenge is an inspiring project for anyone who wants to get creative. The challenge first ran during August 2021, but we’ve extended it, so you can join in whenever you’re ready.

During the festival, you can take up the mini challenge and try to complete just three prompts of your choice between 18th-26th September.

Simply find something in nature that intrigues you and use our prompts to make notes. Record what you find with key details such as date/time/weather, doodles and drawings.

You don’t need to be any good at drawing to take part. This challenge is all about spending time paying attention to the world around us. Any sketching, doodles or notes on the page will be the traces left behind of the time you’ve spent noticing. They’re not supposed to be polished works of art. Just pick up a notebook and start scribbling!


Visual Quickstart:

The image shows the process for starting the sketchbook challenge. This can be found as text in the Getting Started section.
Visual Guide to the Sketchbook Challenge. Image by Micol Muratori.

Getting started:

1. Pick your noticed thing*

To begin the challenge, you need to pick a ‘noticed thing’ to spend time with. It could be a species of bird or insect living nearby, a single tree, a favourite view, the rain, an abandoned building, a hill, a flowerpot…

It needs to be something you can return to and spend time noticing over the next few weeks.

2. Keep a record

For each prompt you work with, please also record the following somewhere on the page:

  • Date/time
  • Weather
  • Location (you can be specific if this is a public place, but if it’s your home just make a note of the type of place and general location e.g a back yard in Morecambe)

In the 19th century, artists, scientists and amateur naturalists kept records like this in their sketchbooks and field notes that are a vital resource for scientists today.

Recording this kind of information means your sketchbook will contain data that could be useful to scientists now, or in the future, to help them understand more about local environments.

3. Use our prompts or invent your own

Spend as little or as much time as you like with your noticed thing. Some days it might just be a quick 5 mins, other times it could be a whole afternoon.

If a prompt doesn’t make sense for your noticed thing, you can alter it, skip it, or come up with your own. Don’t be afraid to be imaginative in your responses.

Short on time? Why not take up the mini-challenge and complete just three of your favourite prompts during festival week?

Entangled Sketchbook Challenge Prompts

  1. A first meeting with your noticed thing
  2. Map the area around your noticed thing
  3. What is your noticed thing doing today?
  4. What touches your noticed thing?
  5. How does your noticed thing respond to the weather?
  6. Does your noticed thing get hungry?
  7. Water and your noticed thing
  8. How does your noticed thing move?
  9. Air and your noticed thing
  10. Who or what does your noticed thing have relationships with?
  11. What can your noticed thing sense?
  12. Sunlight and your noticed thing
  13. Does your noticed thing sleep? Does it dream?
  14. People and your noticed thing
  15. What does your noticed thing fear?
  16. What does your noticed thing need?
  17. Time and your noticed thing
  18. What stories would your noticed thing tell?
  19. Does your noticed thing hide or keep things hidden?
  20. How would your noticed thing draw or write about you?
  21. A last meeting with your noticed thing

4. Share your pages

You can share your pages using the hashtag #EntangledSketchbooks on Twitter or Instagram. Alternatively, you might want to just share them with friends or family (we want this to be a no pressure project!). You can also email them to us at: entangledfestival@gmail.com

If you’re posting your pages online, we encourage you to add descriptive alt text so your posts are more accessible.

There’s a guide to doing this on Twitter here.

And on Instagram here.

The sketchbook pages at the top of this web page are a response to prompt 4 by Liz Edwards


*A note on the terms we’ve used

Words matter and they have been used by people at times to create a false divide between humans and others. This has led to a lot of the environmental challenges now faced all around the world. We don’t want to add to this, but words can be tricky, so we’d like to explain a couple of our choices:

When we refer to ‘your’ noticed thing we are hoping to encourage personal connection and don’t mean to indicate possession in any way.

When we use the word ‘thing’, it is not our intention to encourage people to think of animals or plants as objects. We want people to have a much choice as possible in their selection of ‘noticed things’ and the word ‘thing’ seemed to offer the most space for curious encounters with all things animal, vegetable or mineral.

There’s another meaning of the word ‘thing’, which in Old English referred to a meeting. We hope you’ll spend time meeting a creature, tree, rock or view and get to know them much better through the Entangled Sketchbook Challenge.