Tuesday, October 16, 2012

biking around.

The first 5th grade project of the year was inspired by a few different people. The art work of Leslie DeRose and Christine Vineyard and the art projects created by Mrs. Knight's 5th grade students.

Mrs. Knight posted about her project at the beginning of the year that was inspired by Christine's work. I knew I had to try out something like it with my 5th graders too. I had previously pinned an image by Leslie and thought that her painting would make a good intro to contour line, positive shapes, and negative shapes. Leslie's work had the contour line element I wanted to incorporate into the lesson for my line unit.

I started the lesson by sharing the above image by Leslie with the classes. We pointed out her use of contour lines to define the edges of the bike shapes. We also talked about composition, in particular, how she zoomed in on interesting sections of the bikes. She wasn't concerned about including the whole bike. If an artist zooms or crops like this, they can get rid of extra empty space (negative shapes) that can lessen the impact of the design.

I gave the students a couple handouts with several bikes to choose from and viewfinders to look through. I demonstrated how to move the viewfinder around to find interesting parts to draw. I also shared Mrs. Knight's post with examples of her students doing the very same thing.

Love the decision making present on this one:)

Students practiced a couple compositions on the back of their watercolor paper and then drew one of them to fit on the full front. This was definitely a challenge for a larger number of students than usual. I re-demonstrated drawing what they saw in numerous classes and worked one on one with many kids. As I demonstrated drawing what they saw in the viewfinder I talked about how certain parts touch the edge of the viewfinder, how certain parts go half way across the viewfinder window, and so on.

This said, I am proud of my students for not quitting. There certainly was frustration in each class, but no one gave up.

Once they had the image drawn large they traced the contour lines and colored in the positive shapes firmly with crayons, so the colors would be bold and strong.

When the students finished coloring the bikes, they finished up their designs by applying watercolor to the negative shapes. I demonstrated using enough water to make tints of colors. I asked students to make their colors light, so the background shapes would not compete too much with the bike parts.

About half the students in each class were able to finish their designs in the hour we had. I plan on giving each class ten minutes at the beginning of our next meeting to complete their bikes. 

Way to hang tough kids!


  1. An excellent project - it's really great to nudge the students out of their comfort zone once in a while - they've done such a great job! :)

  2. wasn't it a cool lesson? my kids struggled a little with the enlargement process, too - but really, in the end, everyone was pleased with their results. i heard so many "oooh, now i get it!" 's when it finally clicked for them, which was fun. omg, that sketch is hilarious... ftw!

  3. What is it about bicycle drawings that is so cool? I really like this lesson as it covers all of the art elements. I have always liked using viewfinders with the kids because it opens up a new portal to their creativity. That's one of the best parts about being an art teacher, right? Oh and by the way, I must truly be as old as the dinosaurs because I don't know what Hope meant by, "ftw". Ha!


  4. Challenging lesson plan. Great job 5th graders!

  5. Love your results as well. It's a challenge, but such a great learning experience....for the kids and the teacher!!

  6. Hello:

    I am a social media marketer for the 2015 Storm Lake (Iowa) RAGBRAI stop. We are hosting a children's art contest and needed a great photo of some children's bicycle art to use in one or several posts. No profit will be made from using your photo.

    Please let me know if you either do not wish to have your photo used, or if you would like to be credited somehow. Otherwise, feel free to visit www.stormlakeragbrai.com to see your awesome art project taking center stage. Thanks for sharing art with so many young minds!

  7. Brilliantly composed article, if just all bloggers offered the same substance as you, the web would be a far superior spot.. mtb under 500

  8. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and coverage! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.best mountain bike under 500

  9. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine. essay writing service