The altered book, journal for the modern artist. I give this assignment now, you get a hardcover book, in this instance a 'Yearbook' from a 1980's encyclopedia collection. Perfect size and pages. I just started this one last week, barely had time to spend on the cover, but I'm already a few pages in. I had to open things up with Luke Cage, the first character I remember seeing as a lad in comics. My dad has all the Power Man and Iron Fist comics (Iron Fist of course soon to follow).
So, you take the book, and you do what you're taught NOT to do, you cut it, burn pages, paint in it, and write in it. It's a great way to warm up and takes little time. You'll notice working on a page that isn't blank is liberating. Go to your local bookstore or BigLots, get a $1 hardcover and give it a try, you'll love it!