• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Saturday, October 17, 2009

leaf observation drawing with watercolor

When doing art lessons, especially drawing lessons, I like to emphasize that artists do four things: look.... think.... choose.... do. This lesson is a great introduction to that four step process because close observation is vital to its success. This drawing lesson begins with a whole-group "picture walk" of about five or six close up photographs of fall leaves,  followed by students observing and discussing the characteristics of a variety of real leaves. If I have time, I chart their observations.

A quick demonstration of drawing a leaf includes "thinking out loud" as I model giving attention to the shape, the direction of the contour, angles and curves, etc. A quick introduction or review of how to care for and use the watercolors completes the introduction.

Before students begin their drawings, they are asked to look carefully at several leaves and think about which leaf they want to draw, how they will place it on the paper, and other aspects of putting together their composition. This reinforces the "look...think...choose....do" process.

While they draw, I might give some tips about placement and/or layering. There is usually a great variety of finished work. Some students may have four or more leaves in their work, while others may have only one. As they paint, I give watercolor technique tips as needed.

When all work is finished and all watercolors and brushes are cleaned up, I like to have students do a "gallery walk" around the room to look carefully at everyone's finished work. I ask them to look for interesting shapes and colors and then we come together and share the observations.

This lesson is a true favorite. It integrates science and art in several ways, not only with the leaves as subject matter but also the act of doing an observation. Adding a related writing component extends it even further!

This lesson is included with another wax-resist autumn leaf art lesson in Art Lessons With Autumn Leaves, one of the art lessons in my TeachersPayTeachers.store. The lesson bundle includes detailed instructions, some leaf templates for tracing (for younger students), drawing tips, a few writing extension ideas, and more.

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