My fourth grade has been creating a range of outstanding work this school year. They have been willing to explore focused events longterm, insert their own ideas for subject matter, get messy, and take chances. I am proud that they have willingly participated so much in the art lab!
Earlier in the school year we worked with mirrors and facial proportion to create observational self-portrait drawings. After that, we drew nature from a photograph, and eventually moved to a series of fantasy works. Through the fantasy media application, I was able to push all the students to strive for completion, more detail, and a higher degree of craftsmanship.
We have now returned to observational drawing with these freshly honed skills. What a difference I saw in the students focus and recognition of what they were producing! We worked on blind contour hand drawings. I spoke to the students about the importance of seeing details, in art and other subjects. We discussed how details make a big difference in the final product. We compared research papers and essays to detailed drawings. I enjoy talking to my students about how boring a sentence with no adjectives or adverbs would be, and how that is like a drawing with no detail. Students love to give examples, and this is connected to what their teachers are trying to communicate with each student to improve their writing and verbal communication skills. This allows for class conversation to stay on-task while students are working, and students feel they are not in a silent art lab. I find these conversations 'click' with students as young as first grade.
When doing contour drawings, I ask students to imagine an ant slowly walking along the edge of what they are drawing. Draw the path of the ant, and let the ant crawl along the edge of every line. As you can see from our pictures, the artists fully committed to their blind contours. I was thrilled to see knuckles, skin folds, and shadows! I was even more excited to see them try again and again.