• Winter 2010


  • All rights to the work displayed in the Curious Terrain Atlas are retained by the authors. Work may not be reused, reproduced or distributed in any form without the express permission of the author/s.



Curious Terrain developed a series of activities for the 2010 incoming class of undergraduates in University of Oregon’s Landscape Architecture program, using an early prototype of the Explorer's Deck. This exercise was designed to build the students' site analysis skills, and their confidence in creating expressive and useful field drawings.


Students chose their own sites, using the following criteria:

  • Interesting to you – a place you will enjoy observing multiple times over the course of several days;
  • Alive with people – a place that is frequently used by humans;
  • Accessible – a place you can easily visit, close to home or to campus; and
  • Draw-able on rainy days.


Students each received a pack containing all of the Discovery cards and a medium-size Moleskine sketchbook. They randomly drew four cards, and deliberately chose a fifth card that sparked their curiosity. At their chosen sites, they focused on one card at a time, observing and thinking about the place in the context of that card, and sketching in response. They spent 30 to 60 minutes on each card. Later, we passed the students’ sketchbooks around and talked about the diversity of drawing styles and responses to the cards. We discussed the students' discoveries, and the challenges of capturing the experience of landscape.

Want to try this activity? Download the print-friendly Activity Sheet.


The students filled many sketchbook pages. What you see here is a sampling showing a variety of drawing styles and subject matter. Click on the images to the right to view the students' discoveries and conclusions.

All Hands on Deck

Sketching the kinesthetic, multi-sensory human experience of landscape.

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