Monday, November 2, 2015

In the Art Room: Candy Contour Drawings

So, if y'all were to ask my third and fourth graders what they totally dig in art class this year, they'd prolly say sketching time. We created sketchbooks at the start of the year and, most art classes, we have a 10 minute-ish sketching prompt before moving on to the lesson at hand. So far, I've tied the prompts into what we are preparing to embark on (self-portraits were drawn before a formal intro; jungle scenes were sketched before learning about Rousseau; haunted houses were drawn because, helllloooo, haunted houses are cool. It's been a great pre-assessment tool). Usually the sketches have been from the student's imaginations. This time, I thought I'd introduce 'em to the world of observational drawing and it was super fun. ESPECIALLY because it involved drawing candy...and then devouring it.
An artist or a work of art is usually included in our drawing prompts. This time I introduced the kids to contemporary local artist Diane Davich Craig. I was introduced to Diane through Nashville Arts Magazine and have the awesome opportunity to field questions from the kids and send them her way. One of her photorealistic pieces were focused on was this one titled Shake, Splash, Sprinkle and Squirt. The kids were in awe of her ability to paint so realistically and had some great questions for Diane. I can't wait to share her responses with the kids! 

After that, I told the kids that they too were going to try their hand at drawing a realistic still life. This freaked a few out a bit. "But I can't draw like that!" I told 'em not to worry, it's just a sketch! And I had some tips and tricks for them. You can see them in this short clip. This is the same process I demonstrated to the kids. 
At the grocery, I scooped up the biggest bags of gluten free candy I could find. The kids were allowed to get one clean sheet of paper and two pieces of candy for their still life. Because our messy mats are, erm, messy, the still life was to be arranged on the clean paper. We chatted about what would make a good composition and an interesting arrangement to both draw and view.
Once the kids spent some time arranging their still life, they set to sketching. Many of them used the finger tracing technique I shared and with great success. I was thrilled with their results and so were they!
In 10 minutes, the kids managed to compose their still life, sketch and shade if they had time. They were told that when the 10 minute timer went off, they could eat one candy and come to the floor for the start of our lesson. However, when the timer went off, most of my classes asked for a couple more minutes to keep working...can you believe that?! Sacrificing candy time?! That's some dedication, y'all!
 I can't wait for the kids to tackle a still life drawing project. I think they will have much more confidence now. I also love how sketching time gets them over the fear of the blank page. When I was a kid I had several sketchbooks that I would draw and erase constantly for fear that I'd "mess up" my book with an imperfect drawing. I like how sketching time gets the kids beyond this fear. 
Although I dunno if any still life after this one will top the Candy Contour Drawing still life!
What tips and tricks to you share with your students when teaching drawing? There are so many styles of drawing and means of teaching it. It's so important to find what works will for the kids...which is hard to do! Just like with anything, we are all different learners and come to the art room with a different skill set and ability. It's most important to make each artist feel successful and at ease. 
I just hope we have enough pages in our sketchbook for all of our awesome drawings!
What sketchbook prompts have y'all had success with? I'd love to hear! 
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9 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/02/2015

    Loved the synchronized fingers. Just like little synchronized swimmers! That is the visual I will have in my head every time I teach contour. So, thank you for that little nugget! -Gretchen

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    1. Awesome! Hope the lil trick works for your artists :)

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  2. Sorry to be thick but what is finger tracing?

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    1. My finger is tracing the contour lines or the outer edges of the object being drawn, the candy. My drawing hand is synchronized with the tracing finger and drawing what is being traced :) If you watch the video clip, it might make more sense.

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    2. Sorry I didn't see the video lol-I was reading in the middle of the night as I couldn't sleep!!

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  4. Wonderful job with these!

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  5. This is a neat idea. I also did something similar to this with POP ART! They had to make their pieces of candy super bold and big! Question? Do you just make their sketch books out of copy paper stapled together?

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)