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Sketchbook Project #8: Animal Eyes

Sketchbook Project #8: Animal Eyes

By on May 24, 2016 | 2 comments

The Sketchbook Project is a record of how my sixth grade students used sketchbooks during their art class to record art information and create projects. Learn how I used sketchbooks instead of individual sheets of paper to teach art & creativity. Week One: The Beginning Week Two: Creating Value Week Three: Atmospheric Perspective Week Four: Tree Line Drawings Week Five: Sonia Delaunay Abstract Art Week Six: Portrait Journalling Week Seven: Line drawings Week Eight: Farm Animals WHAT WE DID: Books have continued to be the most consistent source of art lesson inspiration for me. Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steven Jenkins (Amazon affiliate link) is an exploration of close-up images of various animal eyes. As the last project in our Sketchbook series, I still wanted the project to use art supplies that could be picked up at anytime so that the children could finish their artwork at home or during free choice class time. I set a variety of coloring tools on each table (markers, colored pencils and pastels) and allowed the kids to choose whichever medium they wanted. I also photocopied pages from the book so that the kids could select an animal eye that they liked as well as downloaded and printed a few photographs of close-up animal eyes to place on the white board. This provided enough examples of kids to start weeding through what appealed to them. Ad the kids moved through drawing and then to coloring, many students remembered my collection of metallic paints and asked if they could use them. The combination of a marker background with metallic paint details was really effective! OBSERVATION DRAWING Like many of the drawing lessons in this sketchbook series, the goal was not to provide guided instructions on how to draw an eye but rather encourage the students to select an animal eye and use a scaled-up method to create a composition on their paper. I asked the children to consider the eyeball the feature of the art project; to make it prominent and large enough so that even the smallest details can be seen. Truthfully, this is still a challenge for many students. If you find that some of your students are struggling to draw a large eyeball, offer a few randomly sized plastic containers for the child...

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Sketchbook Project #7: Farm Animals

Sketchbook Project #7: Farm Animals

By on Feb 16, 2016 | 1 comment

The Sketchbook Project is a record of how my sixth grade students used sketchbooks during their art class to record art information and create projects. Learn how I used sketchbooks instead of individual sheets of paper to teach art & creativity. Week One: The Beginning Week Two: Creating Value Week Three: Atmospheric Perspective Week Four: Tree Line Drawings Week Five: Sonia Delaunay Abstract Art Week Six: Portrait Journalling Week Seven: Line drawings   WHAT WE DID: Drawing animals is a favorite art subject for pretty much every child. Children love to draw their pet and can often do so with ease, but drawing an unfamiliar animal takes some practice. For this project, I wanted to offer my 6th graders the opportunity to explore farm animals. I gathered some books, of which Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman remains my favorite. The strategy for this project was to encourage the kids to use their sketchbook to practice drawing a few animals. I photocopied animal pictures from books and placed some photographs on the white board. I asked the kids to draw at least 3 different animals, or one animal 3 different ways. The intention was to push them out of any comfort zones they may have. After they sketched a few animals, they selected which animals they wanted to develop further. Using pencils, the kids drew their animal(s) in an art-style of their choice. This was the fun part. Some kids created farm scenes, others created pop art animals, others went 3-D…so many options! And with many of the Sketchbook projects in this series, I allowed the kids to use whatever coloring medium they wanted. Some used markers, pencil crayons, watercolor paints and others went the collage route. I have to admit, that this project produced the most varied results. The kids LOVED choosing their own medium. At first I worried that allowing the children to move around the art room to gather supplies from the art cupboards would result in chaos, but the opposite happened. They were quick and deliberate. They put their own supplies back when class was over. They were empowered with their freedom (as most 6th graders are) and for me it resulted in a lively art-making session. I don’t know if this fits in with the choice-based classroom...

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“Petunia” Painting Project for Kids

“Petunia” Painting Project for Kids

By on Jan 26, 2016 | 5 comments

Incorporating literature into art projects remains my favorite type of lesson.  Last year, I introduced Petunia to my third grade students. Using a painting technique that I call smoothing, my students sketched a goose with pencil then  painted with happy colors, just like the book. Don’t have the book? You can download this delightful video found on YouTube: WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper Pencil and Eraser Red, yellow, white, blue, green and black liquid tempera paint (I use Crayola) I medium tip round brush 1 small tip round brush (for outlining) Black marker, black crayon or lack oil pastel as optional outing supplies.   DRAWING I photocopied a few pages from the book and placed on the children’s tables. Using observation techniques, the kids practiced drawing their own Petunia. I encouraged them to make a dot near the top of the paper and one near the bottom. The dots provided guidelines for where to start the head and where to place the feet. This ensures the goose will be drawn large enough to fill most of the paper.     PAINTING Once the drawing was complete, children dipped a medium paint brush in the red paint and painted sections of the background paper. We used the smoothing technique to achieve a smooth paint finish. The children carefully painted around Petunia and the spring flowers. After the background was complete, the children painted the flowers and leaves with a collection of green, yellow and blue paint mixed with small amounts of white. This created TINTS and resembled the illustrations found in the book.   OUTLINING Once the paint is dry, children can use a small pointed brush dipped in watered-down black paint to outline Petunia. Notice how the children didn’t paint Petunia white? The white paper offered enough contrast so that painting the goose white seemed unnecessary. Although, children can paint their goose if they wish. If you don’t like to use black paint to outline, you can use a thick black marker or even a crayon. Experiment and see what medium works best for you.  ...

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Abstract Moose Winter Art Project

Abstract Moose Winter Art Project

By on Jan 11, 2016 | 3 comments

During my visit to Alaska in 2014, I scoured books stores and art galleries looking for an artist who captured the spirit of Alaska and whose art could be translated to children. Dawn Gerety’s work fit the bill. I love her paintings: colorful, pattern-filled and whimsical, her collection of art went beyond the galleries to books for kids. When I got home, I crafted this project for older students. It is rich with the elements of art, captures the graphic beauty of the mighty moose and is easy enough for even the most art-timid child to be successful. The project uses watercolor paints and watercolor paper along with salt to achieve the fabulous texture, but if you don’t have all three ingredients, I offer great substitutions....

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How to Paint without Paint

How to Paint without Paint

By on Jun 30, 2015 | 3 comments

What? Paint without paint? Yes. It can be done with a most humble product: water-soluble oil pastel. Faber-Castell makes a wonderful Gel Stick in a plastic applicator that looks a lot like Chapstick. These little beauties are really water soluble oil pastels and when applied thickly onto paper, a swipe of a wet brush turns the oil pastel into a puddle of paint. Really. I experimented with the practicality of using these instead of watercolor or cake tempera for painting projects. The Faber-Castell Gel Sticks are quite soft so a hard plastic applicator is necessary for containing the goodness inside. This makes good sense because the softness of the pastel is what allows it to turn into paint so easily. I created a little video of a bird that shows how the gel sticks work. Paper: Card Stock (yes, card stock…works amazing!) Brush: Aqua Flow Brush from Royal Langnickle Oil Pastels: Faber-Castell Gel Sticks The only negative is that because the Gel Sticks are so soft they will wear down fast. Not great f you plan to use these with every class, every day. I think they are best used as just one more option in your painting repertoire. For my first grade students, I used the Gel Sticks on the last day of art class. We had 40-minutes to create a painting using white paper, a black water proof marker, gel sticks and a paint brush with water.  The kids drew a box along the perimeter of the paper. With a Sharpie marker (or any other waterproof marker) they drew a series of lines. I asked the students to start at one edge of the box and draw a curved line to one other side. This helps get the ideas flowing. After creating shapes with the intersecting lines, the kids colored their shapes. Some kids used the oil pastels like oil pastels. Who could blame them? Still, it’s not necessary to completely fill the white space. Use a brush and water to turn the oil pastel into paint. Blending and mixing colors encouraged...

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