• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Monday, January 25, 2010

shape people

These crazy-colored shape people are done by first grade students. They are an outgrowth of the bubble people I do with Kindergarten students. The goal is simply to move children away from drawing stick people and toward drawing people with whole bodies.

I introduce the lesson by having students name the shape of the head (oval, not circle), and talking about the elbow and knee as joints that join the upper and lower parts of arms and legs. We move our arms and legs in different poses. I then demonstrate the light drawing of a bubble person on a chart paper, using a pencil. I show how to outline the outside of the entire body shape with a marker, as this is a tricky thing for some students.

Students draw bubble people in pencil, one bubble at a time: head, neck, body, two-part arms, and two-part legs. I talk them through the body parts so that they don't leave anything out. Then they outline with marker around the outside of the "bubbles" to create a stylized person shape. They erase the pencil lines and "crazy-color" the resulting shape. If there's still time, they do a second one, either smaller or larger than the first. For this activity, we skip doing faces or other additions to the people shapes, and concentrate on bright colors and/or patterns. Some children have a hard time outlining the entire outside of the shape and outline each bubble instead, or cross through joints. I try to stay close and help them with their second drawing.

Other lessons in this activity are how to use and care for the markers (cap on the end while drawing, cap snapped shut when finished to preserve ink), how to use your empty hand to hold the paper still while outlining, and how to erase (just the line, not all over the paper), When there is fifteen minutes left (classes are one hour), I tell students that whatever they are doing right now, it is the last thing they will do: If drawing bubbles, they will outline and erase and stop. If they are outlining, they will finish and stop. If they are coloring, they will finish and stop. Some student work, then will have one or two "colored-in" shape people and one "blank" one. After putting away materials, students walk around the room looking at everyone's work. I ask them to look for something that is completely different from everyone else's. After they've seen everyone's work, they share what they've noticed.

Sometimes I display these in a long line across the top of the white board or over a window. Looks great!

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. :-)
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