• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Monday, January 18, 2010

observation drawing: people

I am not a fan of stick people. Children, I think, draw stick people because adults have taught them to do so. As a primary classroom teacher for ten years, I expected my students to always draw people with body parts, clothing, and details.

Now that I am teaching Art to young children, I have a mission to eradicate classrooms of stick people. This lesson with second graders asks them to closely look at another student and to draw a person using that student's clothing for inspiration. It is done with colored pencils on white drawing paper.

This lesson is partly a directed-draw lesson and partly an observation drawing lesson. I introduce the term "contour drawing" and define it as the outline shape of something. I have students look closely at shapes and contours in clothing, shapes of heads, arms, bodies and legs, direction of contour lines, and proportion of body parts to each other.

I talk students through the drawing of the person across from them at their table: an oval near the top of their paper for the head, the neck lines, shoulders, the shape of the shirt or blouse, short or long sleeves, pant legs or skirt and legs, then arms, fingers, and shoes. Finally, we look at different hair styles, and I emphasize that hair grows down, not up, and that it is drawn with lines, not shapes.

During the drawing process, I use my own clothes and body for reference; I do some modeling on the white board, but make sure to have them always refer to the person they are drawing for shapes, sizes, and details.

Once the contour drawing is done, I have students color in their drawing using the colors of and details on their partner's clothing. I ask students not to add faces because I want them to have time to draw another person and we will have a face drawing lesson another day. When this first drawing is finished, students then choose a different model and draw that person next to the first drawing.

This lesson ends with a reminder to students that they never need to draw stick people again, because now they know how easy it is to draw a person with a body and clothes. :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am an art teacher in a small school. I teach Elementary and High School art. I also strive at eliminating stick people (unless it is the goal) and getting students to observe a lot then let go.