Cycle 1 Week 4- African Masks

Though the arts and ethnic groups of Africa are vast, one common trait is the making of masks.  Even within this commonality, African masks can land on a broad spectrum from representational to completely abstract.  In this lesson we will look at abstracted masks from the regions of Ancient Mali and Ghana (week 14 history sentence and geography) as well as other cultures surrounding those areas.  Even though we will study and gain inspiration from their designs, students are in no way expected to copy them.

What we do want students to learn from this lesson:

  • What the term “abstract” means
  • How to create an emphasis in an abstract deisgn
  • How to gain inspiration from other work, but change it to make it our own

I hope you and your students enjoy the lesson!

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Cycle 1 Week 3- Mayan Glyphs

Just like the ancient Egyptians, the Maya had a written language that was based on symbols and pictures.  The images used in their writing are complex and in fact required artists to accomplish them.  In this way, scribes always had to be artists, and their word for “scribe” reflected this: t’zib means both artist and scribe!  (This makes me think of modern-day calligraphy: the melding of written language and art).

For this week’s upside-down drawing, I used the Mayan symbol for chocolate.  This article and fabulous video talk about the Mayan language, and also decode the glyph for “chocolate”.  It’s super fun and interesting! 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 1 Week 1- Egyptian Art

The new Foundations Guide came out this year, but you’ll notice that drawing for weeks 1-6 are the same as in the past. Since Cycle 1 looks at the history of ancient kingdoms, I will be combining the drawing concepts alongside art from ancient civilizations.

Week 1 starts out with the basic elements of drawing using the OiLS concept. We will use Egyptian symbols to practice studying what we see and copying that on our own paper. Remember, these are drawing lessons: the point is to learn to draw well, not necessarily express creativity. Once drawing skills are developed, students can more easily express their own thoughts because they have the skills to do so! It is okay to ask students to slow down, follow directions exactly, and even re-work their drawing to improve it. This will be so effective in the long run, and the students will see that the results are worth it.

Below you will find lesson plans with videos for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Happy drawing!

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