Our Halloween Pumpkins were drawn by careful observation as representational shapes (and step-by-step instructions, of course!) Seeing these amazing drawings makes my heart melt <3.
And here's a beautifully illustrated book that we read about a seed who grew up to become a scary pumpkin.
Lastly, I shared one of the drawings from my sketchbook that I drew over the break. We went to the Safari Park and saw the Lions!!! Drawing something everyday will help improve their hand-eye coordination and observation skills.
Before our Autumn break, we practiced applying symmetry by drawing Monarch butterflies. Here's our new definition:
Symmetry describes a type of balance a shape has when there is an equal reflection on both sides of the middle line, called the line of symmetry.
Ask your student if he/she can explain the meaning of the 3 types of shapes below. What is the difference between a representational shape and an abstract shape?
I was so impressed by these B-E-E-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L butterfly drawings!
We read the delightfully illustrated book Monarch and Milkweed, and talked about the migration of the Monarch butterfly, which is happening right now!!! And there are about 25 locations in San Diego where they hang out during the winter. The most populated is on the UCSD campus (about 4500 butterflies) in the eucalyptus groves off Azul Street, and near the Mandeville Performing Arts Center. The best time to see them is during the Thanksgiving break. Check out this link for more information and directions:
The focus for week 4 and 5 was geometric shapes. We began each class by reviewing the definitions of Line and Shape, and I was impressed that most students had memorized them! Before we tackled our main drawing projects, we did warm up exercises to strengthen our eye to hand coordination (Trace-Copy-Trace-Copy-Trace-Copy....) I read two books to them; Color Farm, by Lois Elhert, and which we decided should be called Geometric Shape Farm because it was filled with animals made from geometric shapes. The Other book was Drawing Lessons from a Bear, by David McPhail. Afterward, they all officially proclaimed to be ARTISTS and I handed out sketchbooks for them to take home and practice drawing in everyday. Here are my students proudly displaying their process and final drawings.
The sketchbooks were received with ecstatic joy! And a few students have already shared their sketches with the class!
During our third week of art class, I introduced the art element: Shape. Here is the definition my students memorized:
"A shape is a closed line with two dimensions, height and width. Three types of shapes are Geometric, Representational and Abstract."
We looked at examples of the three types of shapes:
Geometric: From geometry, these shapes are used in math and for symbols in art.
Representational: These are shapes that look like something in real life and are made from the contour outline of that object.
Abstract: These are simplified or transformed representational shapes.
I asked the students which group of shapes do the previous weeks line drawings (ice cream cone and apple) fit into. Naturally, they chose Representational because they were drawing "the outline edges of an object".
I brought in a bag full of leaves I gathered from my neighborhood that had just started turning colors. And they each chose one leaf to draw as a Representational shape. They used the Trace & Blind Copy technique described in week 1 & 2, then drew their final leaf without the blinder on nicer drawing paper. When they colored it, they observed the colors on the leaf very closely and blended the crayons to match.
Here are two inspiring books we read.
I hope to see some of my students bring in a fall leaf collage inspired by Lois Ehlert's Leaf Man.
The first three weeks of school went by so fast! I'm finally sitting down to take a breath and give a recap of what my students have been learning in my drawing class for 5-8 year olds, at our Classical Conversations class days.
Week 1 & 2:
Students learned and memorized the definition of a LINE:
"A line is a mark, made by a tool that represents the outline edges of an object, shape, surface, shadow or color."
We looked at examples of different types of lines and copied them--straight, curved, zig zag, angled, dashed, dotted, and spiral--and line directions: vertical, horizontal and diagonal.
Next, I introduced a hand-eye coordination warm up exercise called "Perceiving Contour Lines":
Then they copied the line "Blind" by placing a blinder (made from a half sheet of copy paper) over their drawing hand and pencil so they couldn't see what they were drawing. This exercise helps to strengthen their observation skills as they concentrate and stare at the line while drawing it with their hand. Here's a couple of my students demonstrating this exercise:
Our drawing projects were an ice cream cone, on week 1, and an apple, on week 2. We used the same Trace & Blind Contour technique as described above. The students had a photograph and an outline to trace over and draw from each object. Here is what my Blind Contour drawings looked like:
They drew the object one last time, on nicer drawing paper, without the blinder. Then they colored them. Here are mine. (I forgot to snap photos of the kids these two weeks.)
I expressed to my students that this drawing technique is the most important skill for anyone to learn in order to draw accurately from observation.
Most people don't know how to draw from observation and so they think that only those endowed with a gift from God are meant to be artists. This is NOT true! Learning how to draw is a skill that anyone can learn, just like learning a sport or a musical instrument.
Here's a FREE download of the "Perceiving Contour Line Practice Page" for you to try at home.
Here are a few art books we read that complimented the beginning of our year of practicing art together.
Hi! I'm Brook Mesenbrink and I'm passionate about making and teaching ART.