Cycle 3 Week 3- Statue of Liberty (upside down drawing)

When I practiced this lesson with my own kids, it made me laugh because they begged for me to to turn the image right-side up for them to draw it.  Something about an upside-down drawing drives kids nuts.  Its hard to shut off the part of the brain that wants to see an image and to just let the lines be lines.  I tried to explain to my kids the whole point of the exercise.  As we draw, we need to simplify everything to OiLS (remember week 1?) and not even think about the subject matter.  Upside-down drawings train us to do just that.  Unfortunately, my kids didn’t care about the reasoning, and we even had to deal with some tears before the drawing was finished.  Art is hard, people.

I chose the Statue of Liberty because of the loose, imperfect drape of her robes.  I tried to create a drawing that appears almost abstract, only becoming recognizable towards the top when adding the head and arm.  Hopefully this encourages students to focus on the lines and not the subject matter.  Even if they do recognize it as they draw, the point of the exercise remains the same- study what you see.  Don’t draw the Statue of Liberty from inside your head, draw the upside-down one you see in front of you.

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Cycle 3 Week 2- Liberty Bell (Mirror Image)

My dad is a huge early American history enthusiast, so I am extra excited to study this year’s curriculum.  The next five lessons include symbols and landmarks of the United States, and we’ll start off with the Liberty Bell.  Originally named the State House bell, this iconic piece hung in the Pennsylvania State House, which is now called Independence Hall.  Inscribed on the bell are the words “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”  Wonderfully, these words are from Leviticus 25:10, and have been a symbolic statement of freedom for our nation throughout our history.

We will be using the Liberty Bell to practice a mirror-image drawing.  Below you will find lesson plans and video tutorials for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11.  These age groupings are general, so please use the lesson best suited for your students. Continue Reading →

Cycle 3 Introduction

Welcome back!  I hope you are excited and encouraged to start the new school year!

As we go through the next six weeks, I will be using the phrase “let’s study what we see”.  As tutors, we want this to become part of our art vocabulary, and, most importantly, we want to equip our student’s parents with the phrase so they can use it at home as they teach their children how to draw.

When we draw, we must look.  I believe that looking is actually the primary skill in drawing, not the act of putting pencil to paper (and this is actually encouraging- if you can see, you can draw!).  How do we hone the skill of drawing?  By studying what we see before we even touch pencil to paper.

So let’s unpack our previous phrase a little bit- “Let’s study what we see”: “Let’s”- As parents we can help by looking with our children and asking questions as they draw.  Think of yourself as a guide.  There’s no need to draw for them, even when they ask for help.  Simply ask questions that point them back to the object as they draw.  “Study”- to carefully examine and analyze.  Studying is not a quick look.  It is an extended, careful examination of what’s in front of us.  We teach our kids to carefully examine the material and concepts set before them, and this applies to art perfectly.  “See”- Yep, you must actually look at the object.  A lot.  Students want to skip this step.  Don’t let them.

In addition to teaching drawing skills, most lessons over the next six weeks will connect with U.S. landmarks.  Next week’s lesson will be a simple still life, and from there we will jump into drawing things such as the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, and the White House.  Stay tuned for Cycle 3 Lesson 1 coming soon!

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