I’ve attempted this Lichtenstein project in years past but I think I finally perfected it at the end of the semester in my intro class last year. There are a lot of steps so I’m just going to outline them all!

1. Introduce Lichtenstein- I always show a million examples and talk about the drama of the moment in each painting. We talk about scale, colors, benday dots, and the combination of words and facial expression. I also show them the comics his paintings are based on and let them decide if it was ok for him to steal them for his paintings or not. 

2. Pre-planning- Students decide on their facial expression and what they are saying/thinking. They also have to decide what side or corner of the canvas they will be in.

3. Picture Day!- While most of the students are still working on another project I pull them out and take their pictures one at a time. I set them up with a white background and position the camera so they are in the same place in the picture that they will be in the painting (leave room for the bubble). They have to make their expression for the picture. 

4. I print the picture 8x10 in black and white. May need to be lightened a bit if shadows are heavy. 

5. (It’s really important to have examples to show for these next few steps!) On the printouts of the pictures, students take sharpies and draw over the contours of their face and anything else that is showing. They have the option to change or edit things if they want to. I remind them to add some stylized lines to give their hair texture. 

6. This step is so important! I’ve skipped it before and it makes the process too confusing. Using a light box, students trace ONLY the sharpied lines and the 8x10 box onto a clean piece of paper. This is usually when I have them add their bubble and words. 

7. Grid Time! Students draw a 1” grid on their paper and a 2” grid on a 16x20 canvas then transfer their drawing, square by square. Include bubble, words, and anything in the background.

8. Once the drawing is transferred, erase grid lines as much as possible. Then I have them map out their color scheme and put in the background and other solid colors. I had this group stick to primary and secondary colors (with a few exceptions).

9. The hardest part, the dots! This time I made 1/2” dot guides (see picture.) They used the back of a small paintbrush or a q-tip and shifted the guide with each line. This part is so frustrating. I encourage them to start in the smallest spaces and seriously take their time.

10. FINALLY the very last step is to paint in the black lines. I demonstrate varying their line thickness for added interest and using a bit of water so the paintbrush moves more smoothly. 

I love this project because the students are usually surprised by how well their paintings turn out. They gain confidence in their drawing and painting skills and there is room for embellishment and personalization for those kids who want to take it to the next level! I’ll post some finished paintings next…

This is a project from last year that I loved so much I forgot to blog about it. This was one of the last projects my ceramics class did. The instructions were pretty vague- I told them they had to create a mask based on a face. I think I gave them a required number “things” that they had to add on to the mask. I did a demo about laying slabs on mask forms (COVER WITH PLASTIC OR YOUR FACE WILL BE DESTROYED! DO NOT LET THE CLAY DRY ON THE MASK OR IT WILL CRACK INTO A MILLION PIECES! (sometimes drama is important)) and then let them go at it!

The results were awesome and all very unique. The interpretation of “place” ranged from New York to Hell to inside a video game. I love how much these masks represent the interests and personalities of the students who made them. Also, the craftsmanship is pretty swoon worthy, considering where these kiddos started out at the beginning of the semester (less than swoon worthy). I love it when I can throw out an idea and let the kids explore, this project does just that!

My painting class finished up their first ever oil paintings and I’m so proud of them! This was a pretty challenging project to start off the school year they totally rose to the occasion. 

We started out by doing some value studies in charcoal of a still life of white bottles on a black background. When the kids finished their studies, I had them paint: gray scales using several different painting techniques, a sphere with a light source, and a practice bottle on illustration board. Most of them had never touched oil paint before so I wanted to make sure they were super comfortable before they started. 

On an 8x10 piece of paper, they drew out the composition for their bottles and then transferred it to their canvas. Then they began painting and, oh boy were they nervous! I really let them take their time with the grisaille so they could experiment, figure out how the paint was working, and gain confidence in their abilities. (We also spent A LOT of time on how to clean/store/manage oil paint.) For the grisaille I did not introduce any linseed oil- just mineral spirits. 

When the majority of the class had finished their bottles, I demonstrated glazing with linseed oil and they practiced on their gray scale/test bottle/sphere. Then they went to town glazing! 

I didn’t give them any restrictions on color palette but we did talk a lot about analogous color schemes and creating contrast and focal points with complementary colors. Interestingly, a lot of the students said they preferred their painting in black and white in their self-evaluations.

I’m just so impressed with this class. I have a lot of students with different ability levels in painting, including some students in the special ed program. I really feel that they all pushed themselves to do their very best. 

I’ve done this project the last few years but I finally feel like I’ve perfected it. I like to do this in the beginning of the year to loosen up kiddos who may lack some drawing confidence. The idea is to start out drawing from a distance and move closer and closer, gaining a bit more control each time. Before this exercise we do some blind and modified contour drawing so they know what to look for. 

I start by taping sharpies to dowel rods and then marking the dowels at every 6 inches. I set up flowers and have the kids tape tracing paper to drawing boards that are set on easels.

For the first drawing they hold the end of the dowel and extend their arms- they have to stand a few feet back from the easel. The first one is really pretty hard- I always do an example first so the kids aren’t too freaked out by how rough their drawing is. 

I usually set a time limit of about 5 minutes and then they switch to new paper and hold the dowel at the first 6” mark. With each drawing they move closer and closer to the paper. 

I love these drawings by themselves but decide to do a more finished product this year. I had them choose one or two of their favorites to add color to- either sharpie, watercolor, or both. Then they layered 2-3 drawings and Yes glue on a piece of bristol board. I think they ended up looking really beautiful. Some of them chose to put another layer of glue on top of everything which led to a gorgeous, waxy, almost encaustic effect. We decided to display them with their left over drawings so you could really see the progress from drawing one to drawing six. 

This year I resolved not to do any gigantic clay projects because they always take forever to fire and glaze (gigantic projects are my weakness). THEN I accidentally wrote this tray lesson and I’m glad I did because the results were bad ass. 

It all started because I wanted to do a unit on making and using molds- starting with this hump mold project, slump trays, and an awesome mask project (still to be blogged). Then I got over zealous and told the kids they could make their molds as big as they wanted as long as they would fit in the kiln. So. They are all as big as the kiln. Luckily, they’re short so it was easy to just use a bunch of shelves when firing. 

The students started by proposing a design. They had to choose a specific theme (open to interpretation), they had to plan to engrave something, plan to emboss something, and the tray was supposed to have handles (that requirement ended up being waived for some designs.)

After the designs were approved, each student drew their design to the exact size that they wanted it on a piece of newsprint. Then they made simple slump molds by cutting a piece of cardboard to size (insulation foam would work a little better in the future) and using rolled aluminum foil and masking tape to create the edges. They wrapped the whole thing in a plastic bag (to prevent sticking) and layed a slab of clay on top. I recommend using a sock with rice in it to press the clay into the mold. 

The students then easily transferred their design by putting the newsprint on the clay and tracing over everything- this way they don’t have to free hand it on the tray. 

After that, they went to work! Carving, adding clay, embellishing… you can see more progress pictures here.

Once the trays were leather hard, they were removed from the molds and fired. 

To glaze: the students had to layer different colors of glaze (we test fired the layers on small squares of clay first) and use an underglaze pencil. They also had they options of making stencils, using wax resist, and sponging on texture.

I absolutely adore the way these turned out. The glazing took a bit longer than expected so I would probably do a slightly smaller size next year but I will definitely be doing this lesson again. So proud of these students!

This is a super simple introduction to figure proportions that I did with my Drawing class before this project. I like it because it’s attainable and beneficial for all ability levels.

First, as a class we went over figure proportions. I had them pair up and measure each others height verses wingspan, foot to forearm, and height in heads.

Then we drew an 8 head figure together (me on the board, them in their sketchbooks). I had them draw a 1 inch head on another piece of paper, cut it out, and trace it eight times to create their starting point. They labeled each head 1-8 and then we started putting in shoulders, arms, legs and talked about waist, elbows, hand positions, etc.

THEN the kids paired up and got a wooden figure to draw from. They drew the figure three times with white charcoal (some drew in pencil first). The center figure was supposed to be standing straight and the other two could be arranged however they wanted. I had to remind them to use their knowledge of proportions but to also look at the figure and draw what they were really seeing- proportion rules are just loose guidelines. 

Once they were done with the figures, they used chalk pastels to outline them in different colors and then pulled the chalk out using a paper towel.

This is a really straightforward project but it’s fast and informative. The kids love playing with chalk and it lays the groundwork for more creative future projects using the knowledge of proportions.

BONUS the drawings end up looking like people at a crazy disco. 

I am so far behind documenting my end of the year projects. I’ll try to catch up over the next week. My ceramics class made these crazy coil vases and I love the way they turned out! It was my first time trying this project and I’ll definitely do it again. 

I started by having them make some test coil pots- just totally basic. One new thing I did was have them keep wet paper towels at their spot. I find the most frustrating thing for students is that the coils dry out as they roll them. I had them use the paper towels to keep their hands damp (not wet or everything gets slimy). Also, emphasized blending against the line of the coil until it disappears on the inside every single time they add a coil. 

After the test coils were done (which were beautiful on their own) I showed them a bunch of examples of these pots and did a quick demo.

Then students got a bowl and wrapped a plastic bag around it (the clay will stick to the bowl later if you skip that part) and started filling it with different shapes and coils of clay. 

The rule was no two rows of the same design (which I bent if the design was really interesting) and it had to be three inches above the top of the bowl.

The students glazed the red clay with an opalescent glaze which I love. They don’t love it so much because it doesn’t fully cover the clay. They also had the option to use a wax resist to add a bit more design.

This project is definitely a keeper, I love the process and the results!

I know it’s the end of the semester and my students are trying to get their work done on time…

but there was a group of 8 kids waiting for me to get here today so they could come in before school and work. There are a few kids who aren’t even in art classes and they’re just hanging out and drawing now. It is so sweet and sometimes little tiny things like this remind me why being the art teacher is the best. 

artededucator asked:

Hello! Love your skeleton lesson. How did you get everyone close enough to the skeleton to be able to draw it?

Thank you! I put the skeleton in the center of the room and circled tables around it. I also have some easels (enough for about half the class) that I set up around the room. That worked well for the studies. When they did the sections of the skeleton for the final drawings a lot of them choose the skull so I took a picture of the skull and projected it. I also let them take pictures of sections on their phones (which is technically illegal but I kept close watch on them) so they could zoom in on more specific details from their seats.