Drawing With Shades

Grade 7/8:  Pencil Drawing Their Collages

This project was the final one in a series that focused on developing drawing and observation skills.  Earlier, they completed a gradated value scale, and then an all-white still life introduced techniques of shading and understanding values in tone.

So I thought that it would be good to take it one step further, and use those skills in producing a drawing that would have some meaning, some connection with themselves.  Their homework was to collect photographs from their life and/or magazine pictures that reflected themselves – and bring them in to create a simple collage.   Disappointedly, only a couple of students (my daughter being one of them) remembered to bring any pictures, despite several reminders.

Out came the stacks of magazines and they put together their collages that way.  I suggested simple groupings, and pictures choices that employed interesting changes in value.  I kept repeating “Remember – you are going to have to draw this over several weeks.  Don’t make it too complicated and make sure it is an image you like.”

I encouraged them to apply some of the principles of composition we covered in previous lessons.  They began the drawing by mapping out the composition lightly in pencil, and then slowly adding details over the whole NOT with line but by rendering the shapes, lights and darks with shading only.

The project took much longer than I hoped, and I don’t think I would do it this way again.   Some of the students who like drawing this way were pleased with their efforts and the results, others discovered that they can draw after all – and the joys of a smudge stick!  Success there.

With the majority of the class, however, I was disappointed by the low level of their commitment, and the inability of many students to follow through on their choices  (magazine pics can mean a lot of visiting, and head shots of teen stars and models, which they then are unable to draw to their satisfaction = even less commitment).  Finally, even with the earlier explorations in shaded tone drawings, they continued to rely on line drawing this time.

There are some fine drawings to be found within some of the work, and I hope those students are proud.  I would certainly adjust my approach and expectations next time ’round.  Take a look.

Winter / Parliament Oak School

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