Thursday, October 21, 2010

let's skate!

After doing the Charles Demuth project with 3rd graders, I thought the students would enjoy doing something a little more contemporary. Hello skateboard designs.

I introduced the students to the work of designer Don Pendleton. He has been designing work for the skate industry since 1998. He has a unique abstract style that varies depending on the project that he is working on. He relies heavily on contour lines to define the shapes and objects in his designs. Even though his designs are abstract, he still creates some depth by using tints of colors, overlapping shapes, and changing sizes of shapes from big to small.

After I introduced Don and his work and told the classes that they would be designing their own decks, there were loud cheers from many of the students in each of the classes.

I focused on one of his recent deck designs for the student project. When students looked at the design I had them identify the different ways he created depth- overlapping and size change in the shapes. We also discussed his use of complementary colors and by using these you can make parts of a design pop out from others.

When I showed them an example of what we would be doing I revisited the use of dark, medium, and light color values at add to the creation of foreground, middleground, and background. I also pointed out how the contour lines got thinner and thinner in each of those layers.

So, all told, students were going to create space in their abstract designs by doing 4 things-
    -big, medium, and small sizes
    -dark, medium, and light color values
    -thick, medium, and thin contour lines

They had a compositional structure to follow, but the look of their characters was up to them, as long as they were abstract in style.

The lesson took a session and a half. I introduced Don's work and students create their cut paper decks during the second half of the class that was used to finish the Demuth project. THe drawing design was completed during that second meeting, after reviewing the key elements required in their designs.

1. cut and glue paper deck and white shape for deck design
2. draw outlines of characters using basic geometric shapes
3. draw features for each of the characters
4. trace contour lines of each character with marker color of deck, going from thick to thin lines
5. with colored pencils, add the complementary color of the deck to shapes in each layer of design, going from dark to light in the layers
6. add other colors to the characters in each layer, but still going from dark to light
7. add a pattern at the bottom in the construction color portion of the deck with construction paper crayons, using the complementary color of the deck. the pattern should be based on a shape that is in the design

The students really enjoyed this project and they are very excited to get their skateboards back so they can take them home and show them off. A number of students wanted to make real ones out of wood.

Maybe we need to write a grant for a wood shop.

1 comment:

  1. Don Pendleton took the time to respond to an email I sent him regarding the project and the above blog post.

    That's awesome! And you got some really nice results out of the kids.
    My sister is a teacher who does a lot of original concept teaching
    projects and having been a student myself, I know what a difference it
    makes when you have fun while you're learning.

    I'm flattered that you'd choose my work as the inspiration for the kids.

    As for the students, I'd just say this:

    Enjoy what you do, don't be afraid to explore and have fun with art or
    any other subject you enjoy. If you've got a passion for what you're
    working on, it'll never feel like work.
    I think kids are sometimes told they can't do 'this' or they can't do
    'that' but you can do anything you want and be anything you want as
    long as you put yourself into it.

    thanks again,