I recently just finished Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing. I have a lot of art books that I buy with the best intentions, but often, they collect dust on the bookshelf after a quick initial browse. I find this one a little different as it explores the fundamentals and meaning of drawing with 15 drawing activities that may interest students a bit more, as well as including work by some contemporary artists where you see the concepts in action. It’s not really a tutorial book but may help some to view drawing and expressing line and shape in a different light. Simply, the act of mark making instead of attempting to draw photo-realistically.
In the book, the authors recommend beginners avoid drawing symmetrical man-made objects as more often than not, students will fail to master the precise symmetry. I must say, as a teacher, I am guilty of giving my students bottles the second week of drawing class. I may now change this. One of my favourite activities offered was superimposed drawings (poor quality picture below). Students are to redraw the same subject five times seen from different points of view and superimpose/overlap each drawing. A lot of the activities should help students to get away from drawing with those small hair-like lines that they all start off with (and that drive me crazy) and begin to express themselves and their subject matter more.
Don’t think you can draw? It doesn’t matter. The book offers seven inspiration units ranging from animals, people, famous artists, children, imagination, nature and books and culture. These units have 52 drawing activity labs in total.
In her words, “This book is designed to get you started drawing again, and excited about it!” It’s playful and sure to get you going and/or lead you in other directions. It’s not your traditional step-by-step or how-to-draw book.
Some of the activities are imaginary creatures, Picasso dogs, scribble drawings and traveloguing. Again, for those classroom teachers that find themselves having to teach art with no background training, this book may prove an invaluable resource. For others, it will get your creative juices flowing.I may also consider using this as the basis for my after-school club activity in the upcoming academic year.
Jules Feiffer is featured in this video (below) discussing how he developed a style using sharpened dowels. This is great as I have tried using twigs with ink versus pen and ink. It forces you to be more expressive and I recommend this activity with students. Below is a quick 10 minute sketch done with a tree twig and ink. (The video is good too.)
It inspired me to give it a try as I can see this as something my grade 6 or 7 students would enjoy. At times I wish I was still an elementary classroom teacher as I would use this to inspire creative writing (do the art first and then look at it to see what story comes to them).
First create a line doodle and then start looking for images to fill in. My first photo is the original doodle and the second is the completed piece. Click it to take you to the larger Flickr image. I used B2 sized paper (500mm x 707mm) and marker. There’s also a simple video below showing the stages of development.
My grade 9 Art Foundation students recently finished their unit on observational drawing. It’s a ten week project where they receive instruction for one 80 minute lesson a week. You can view the unit breakdown week by week here on the wiki if you wish.
The application area for their assessment consists of measurements, proportions, value/tone gradation and composition. The class is varied by both gender and ability. Overall, the majority of students showed improvement both in accuracy and in speed. The slideshow below (or via Flickr here) includes both warm-up work as well as their final pieces. All work is either A4 or A3 in size. Feel free to leave them some comments.
My first round of grade 6 students (11 years old) have just completed their self-portraits unit. Feel free to view the simple five week unit here. To introduce the unit, blind portrait drawings were done, which I blogged about before here. Students then used mirrors to draw their portraits without instruction (70 minutes). These pre-assessment drawings are included in the video, followed by their final piece. Some students made remarkable improvements.
I tried a different approach that was inspired from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Photos were taken and cross hairs applied. Students then drew these cross hairs onto their A3 sheets and a middle tone was then added over their paper. 2B~6B pencils were used to add further value and tone, and erasers for highlighted areas. If you teach portrait drawing, I have other ideas and resources on my wiki as well. I may consider a portrait party for a future group. Enjoy!
I stumbled across the Painting & Drawing Channel, a TV show that offers tutorial videos related to well…painting and drawing. The site itself offers videos from that week but they also post their videos on YouTube. Their channel is here. I have included one video below to give you a taste.
Here’s a simple intro tutorial on basic drawing using ‘crates’ (or measuring), that I made with my Grade 9 Art Foundation students. We’re focusing on observational drawing (drawing from sight).
Not everyone is a fan of tutorials. However, it is simply created as a back-up reference for students to use at home as it is embedded on our class website. This is also beneficial for parents to get an insight into what we do in class. It helps both further understand the rubric once assessment rolls around.
It saves me a lot of time in class when students do not remember the steps (or need a refresher). They simply know to go and find it on the net (as we 7 desktops in the classroom), allowing me more time to focus on their strengths or struggles. Some students also prefer to learn independently this way during their own time.
Hopefully in the future, the students can fully take over the creation of these videos (but time is always an issue). To be honest, I always get a little nervous when I post these videos online. What if the quality is poor? What if the information is not accurate? Yes, you are putting yourself out there, but it is worth it. It is indirect studying. I have received more feedback from anyonymous viewers on YouTube than anywhere else. I may also then take these videos with me if I ever transfer schools. Actually, 80% of my resources are now somewhere in “the cloud.” Why take binders or boxes full of paper? Why not share it with a wider audience?
Give it a try, and yeah, try some observational drawing too.
Craig Roland posted this in the Elementary Art Group on Diigo (his ArtTechED blog is here). OdoSketch is an online drawing pad that enables you to draw pictures online. Have a look at some of the featured sketches or check the sketch slideshows. It’s free.