Grade 6/7/8: Drawing from Observation
It is still early in the school year, and I wanted to stretch the class in their drawing skills by giving them a project that would require them to look closely at proportions, details, textures, lights and darks – and then draw them!
I presented the class with an array of laminated circles cut from magazine pictures, about 3″ in diameter. Each was only a portion of an image, cut to abstract the original, moving beyond the literal and pictorial. They each got a larger paper circle to draw on, measuring 8 1/2 “. The challenge? To translate/transpose while enlarging the image using pencil and pencil crayon. There were enough circles to give them some choice: I wanted them to at least like the image they would be spending some time with …
All along, I encouraged them to work out the composition lightly in pencil, paying close attention to the size and relationships of the different colour areas in the circle, using shading techniques to render the darks and lights and gradations therein, and to illustrate any textures visible.
Being one of the first projects this year, I had to encourage some students to keep at it and NOT do only the absolute minimum. We persevered for two classes, as the teacher and I moved about the classroom, encouraging them individually. Showing them their two circles, at a distance, from time to time – it helped to demonstrate what areas needed work. This was a lesson in value study, and (for some) learning new ways to work with pencil crayon.
We then had a class critique once the results were posted in the hallway, and that proved a good exercise in getting them to talk about their own work, and assessing which drawn circles most looked like their original. (and which ones they just liked!) Overall, the results looked a little like scientific data … perhaps multiple images of microscope slides?
Fall 2013 / Parliament Oak School