Have you ever done one of those projects where you just knew it was gonna be quick -n- easy, everyone was gonna be successful -n- happy, finish at exactly the same time -n- be ready to move on to that Next Big Thing?
Yeah, me neither.
Take this "quick -n- easy" figure drawing experience.
My fourth grade created gesture drawings of their classmates roller skating in P.E. The intent was for them to use those drawings as inspiration for a figure drawing of an ice skater. That ice skater will eventually be added to a school-wide mural (I'll keep ya posted).
Sounds easy enough, right?
Wrong, dudes. Wrong.
Have you ever taught figure drawing to the under-10 set? It's, like, seriously tough, ya'll.
|This artist told me her figure is diving for a starfish.|
AND it took them For-Eve-Errr. Like three separate thirty minute classes. If you're good at math you know that's an hour and a half, people! Granted, their results were pretty rad and they were pleased as punch with themselves. However, I wasn't about to let their drawings just get glued to some mural. So I made enlarged photocopies of each drawing, passed 'em back to the kids along with their chalk stars and asked them to create a narrative using the two.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to that gesture drawing bit.
I love their finished results. They are all so different in their style. I really love how so many of them look like Keith Haring people...which gave me all sorts of ideas for future projects.
Gesture drawing was all fun and games until we returned to art class the following day. I told the kids that we were going to be creating ice skaters for a school-wide mural. With their gesture drawings in hand, the kids were to pick their favorite, use a wooden mannequin to model the same pose and draw from there. Which worked for some. Others were still stumped. For those kids, we regrouped and I broke it down a little more: turn your stick man into a thick man by adding lines on either side of the stick drawing.
The drawing on the right shows someone who made their "stick man into a thick man" while the artist on the right used a mannequin. We struggled with proportions and just how the body works...but in the end, I was pleased if their peeps simply showed some sort of movement. And had a head.
From there the kids were to add clothing to their figures and trace with a thin sharpie. It was at this point that I decided to make enlarged photocopies of their drawings...I just knew we'd come up with another project for them.
So, after coloring and cutting out both of their people (small original and enlarged photocopy), I challenged the kids to create a narrative collage.
And they were like: A-Whah-Huh?
So I busted out some Marc Chagall and we talked about how artists often tell stories with their art. We chatted about Chagall's work and some stories that might be behind them. Then I told 'em that they were to create a narrative tale with two subjects: their figure drawing and their chalk star.
At our supply gathering area, I laid out tons of painted, marbled and sparkly papers along with boxes of scraps. I told the kids that they were to come up with a story that they had to present to me before they glued it down. I did this because I really wanted them to cut out shapes, move their papers around and really think about their story instead of just cutting and pasting.
After presenting their idea to me, we'd talk about whether or not their collage really told their story or not. For some, that meant adding a background to set the scene. Often, they were sent back to their seats to continue working on the visual details of their story. There was some grumbling and some "but it's finished!" to which I usually replied "Nah. Make it even more awesome."
Once finished, I asked the students to write up an artist statement to accompany their piece. We talked about how an artist statement could either reveal the entire story behind the work...but how most artists like the viewer to create their own tale.
Which you'll see most of these artists liked the idea of...
|(Inside scoop: I was told that this dude is "emo", hence the hair stylin's.)|
When I was snapping photos for this post, I came across this funny artist statement by the artist of this collage...
Um, looney toones?! Ha!
Have ya'll taught figure drawing before? Do you have a sure-fire method? I know if I teach this again there will be some mucho tweaking. So I'd love your input.