Cycle 1 Week 6- Chinese Kites

To complete the first six weeks of Cycle 1 we’ll be drawing Chinese kites.  The lesson plan touches on mirror-image drawing, one-point perspective, and abstract design.  That’s a lot, but I hope the kids feel confident in their knowledge and enjoy drawing their final piece.

Many historians believe that China is the birthplace of the kite, and the first recorded use of a kite was in China in 196 BC.  Kites have had many purposes: they were used to carry messages, to celebrate special occasions, and even as a tool in war!  Marco Polo is credited with bringing the first news of kites back to Europe after his travels through Asia in the thirteenth century.  There is such an interesting and unique history to explore! Continue Reading →

Cycle 1 Week 2- Greek Vases

The Foundations Guide suggests using Greek vases to practice mirror-image drawing, and whad’ya know!  That works perfectly for Cycle 1 and ancient civilizations.

We know that the Greeks used symmetry in architecture, and we can see this same love of order and balance in their art.  Most of their pottery was symmetrical in shape and was decorated with geometric designs, floral motifs, and scenes from life or mythology.  If possible, bring in several books on Greek art or civilization for students to look through as they complete their drawings.

This lesson focuses on mirror-image drawing using the vase outline, but also incorporates OiLS through adding geometric designs.  Each lesson plan includes a few examples of traditional Greek patterns, but the options are endless!   Continue Reading →

Cycle 3 Week 6- The White House (final drawing)

For the final drawing I usually don’t try and include all the concepts from the previous five weeks, but this year I gave it a go.  In order to pound those pegs in a little deeper, this project will touch on mirror-image drawing, perspective, shading, and, just by its nature of being a drawing, OiLs.  (It also includes an American flag as in week four’s abstract art.  Kind of a stretch, I know.)

Hopefully the kids are excited when they discover how much about drawing they already know.  If your students get the concepts, you can give them verbal directions only or write the steps on the board and let them work at their own pace.  They’ll love the autonomy of figuring it out on their own! Continue Reading →

Cycle 3 Week 5- Washington Monument Perspective Drawing

This was my first week back to CC and, boy, am I feeling it.  Maybe also because my husband has been gone for a week, I’m planning my daughter’s fifth birthday party, and I have four loads of laundry staring at me.  Whatever the reason, I’m a little tired and I’m going to blame that for the badly-proportioned Washington Monuments in my video lessons.  So, please adjust your drawings in class accordingly.  Or if yours ends up being off too, just blame me.

We will practice shading in this lesson just like the Liberty Bell project from week two.  Repetition of the concept can help it stick in our student’s brains, and help them see how it can be used in multiple ways.  This week it will be used on the geometric forms of the Washington Monument, and next week we’ll find ways to use it in our final drawing. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 17- Degas’ Dancers

As a girl I loved looking at Degas’ work.  I was enamored by the beautiful ballerinas in voluminous tutus practicing their movements .  It seemed effortlessly feminine.  Though most of his work focuses on the female form, he also did paintings of men and children in everyday life.  The overarching theme in his work is the human figure, and he was able to expertly capture the movement of the body.

Because I want to teach my students about Degas’ mastery of the human figure, I am straying completely from the Discovering Great Artists lessons.  Instead, this lesson will teach VERY basic figure drawing ideas.  Don’t worry, it’s simple! Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 5- Cities in Perspective

Cityscapes are a wonderful way to use perspective drawing techniques.  Luckily, the geography for this week is European Cities, a perfect jumping off point for drawing buildings in perspective.

The drawings this week are inspired by vintage travel posters.  They always have a dynamic sense of depth due to…. you guessed it, perspective!  These are the posters that inspired this week’s projects.

travel posters

Perspective can be a challenge.  Students have to use rulers, line up points, and do all sorts of stuff that is hard for them.  Just remember, it is not about what the final drawing looks like.  It is about students learning the ideas.  Even if it doesn’t look great, they are practicing challenging subject matter and gaining understanding.  That’s the important stuff!

Below you’ll find lesson plans for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 4- Abstract Native American Salmon

For week four, the lesson combines Native American art (timeline card “Early Native Americans”) and abstract art.  First, let’s define abstract.  It is a category of art that represents imagery in a simplistic or distorted manner.  Under this category is non-objective art, which takes out the recognizable image completely, and we are left with just lines, color, etc.  The Foundations Guide art idea for week 4 is non-objective, but using abstracted imagery can also effectively teach students to design well using lines, shapes, and color.

Just like the lesson from the Foundations Guide, this lesson encourages students to use the elements to create interesting and pleasing design.  Students must also think about space, balance, and repetition as they draw.  The fish in the project is a simplified shape, and the motifs inside are focused on design, not realism.  Let’s get started on the abstracted Northwest Native American Salmon! Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 3- Book of Kells

For week three students will be doing an upside-down drawing.  The concept is about training our brains to see the image solely as a group of lines and shapes.  It also relates back to OiLs and the ability to describe and duplicate lines.

It is so, so, SO important to teach students to look at the object in front of them as they draw, and to study the lines that create that object.  People tend to draw the object they see in their mind rather than what they see in front of them.  For example, if asked to draw an apple on a table, many people would look at the apple once, then keep their head down and draw what they think a typical apple would look like.  We want students to constantly look back at the object and draw the nuances of the lines and curves- simply as a series of lines and curves, not an apple.

The lesson below relates to geography for the week.  The Book of Kells is a medieval illuminated manuscript created by monks in Ireland around 800 AD.  It is a great way to connect art to history to geography. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 2- Geometric Bear

Fine Art for week two is Mirror Images.  The exercises this week are great for training students to pay attention to shapes and angles, while also practicing the skill of manipulating images in their head.  They will need to study the shapes and be able to flip them around in their mind’s eye before they draw them.  This can be tough to do!

As in the last post, this project is tied to the science for the week.  Students will be drawing a picture of a bear (most of which are omnivores, excluding polar bears and giant pandas).  Bringing in a picture book about bears could be fun for younger students. Continue Reading →