Friday, September 27, 2013

the kinders and leonardo.

I met with our little balls of energy (the kinders) for the first time this week and I introduced them to a little monster named Leonardo.

I started our time together by introducing myself and my classroom expectations, since it's the first time they have laid eyes on the silly man with gray hair and needing to be trimmed facial hair;)

After that we talked about what authors and illustrators do. I showed them the cover of Leonardo the Terrible Monster and identified Mo Willems as the author AND illustrator of the book. Mo is one of my all time favorite makers of kids' books.

I pointed out how Mo uses lines to make shapes- circles, triangles, and even monsters. We also talked about how an illustrator can show how a character is feeling by drawing a line for the mouth- it could be happy, sad, worried, etc. I told the students to be on the look out for these things as I read the book to them.

I have to say, I love reading to these classes, especially on our first time together. I find it is a great icebreaker. A lot of kiddo apprehension of me goes away as I get into the narration:)

Once we are done the book, I also point out how Mo made some things look smooth with line, but he made other parts look furry by wiggling his marker back and forth.

I have a predrawn circle on their paper and we draw the rest of Leonardo together. We identify shapes as we draw- rectangles for arms and legs, triangles for horns, etc. Students draw a mouth that reflects how their monster is feeling. When students trace their characters, I show them how they can wiggle their marker back and forth to make them look furry. They may choose to do this or not. They can color their characters as they wish.

There are definitely some interesting looking monsters  in this bunch. This lesson also gives me an opportunity to see who needs help with pencil grip, who needs help with hand pressure, and who can draw basic geometric shapes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

cloud city.

This week the 3rd graders are using an illustration by Dinara Mirtalipova to learn about line and 3d space in art. They are familiar with Dinara's work because they did a project inspired by another illustration of hers last year.

Dinara's work is full of whimsy. I like how she flattens and stylizes her shapes, but through overlapping and size changes, she maintains a sense of recognizable space. I like sharing her work with my students because of the fictional touches she adds to many of her images.

I started the lesson by having students read our focus of the day aloud- today I am.., So that I can..., and I'll know I've got it when... We then looked at the image from last year to review Dinara's work and how she creates 3d space, and then we looked at our focus image for this lesson.

3rd grade focuses on the understanding and creation of 3d space, so I had students identify what parts represented the foreground, middleground, and background. We discussed how Dinara used size change, overlapping, detail, and color to separate the different layers. We also looked around the room for other examples of 3d space in outdoor scenes. 

Students used their small dry erase boards to practice drawing a person from behind, and to lay out their own fictional cityscapes. They referred to these as they drew out their final compositions on brown paper. I asked that the students only use color on the main character and ladder and that everything else was drawn in white. Students were required to create 3 different layers through color, size change, and having less detail in the background. Students made individual choices about their main character, cloud drawing, and background elements.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Last week the 4th graders did a project inspired by the work of Marz Jr. After we did the project I contacted him about it and he replied with the wonderful letter below. I thought it was too good not to share:)

Thanks Marz!

Friday, September 20, 2013

making faces

The first graders continued their line practice this week when they created drawings that were inspired by the abstract faces of French artist Didier Triglia.

We started by reviewing the 3 things line can make from last week. Then I explained that we would be using line to make shapes and patterns again with this lesson, but there might not be movement involved. I introduced them to contour lines and we looked at how all the shapes in our rocket ship drawings from the week before used contour lines to outline them.

I shared a few of Didier's face images with the class and we talked about fiction and fantasy because his faces certainly don't look like "normal" faces:)

We identified the facial features that were present even though the face looked different. We also identified patterns and a little bit of movement.

We drew our faces together, with students free to make choices every part of the way, in terms of shapes and sizes. Once the drawing was completed I directed the students to make at least 3 lines thicker. I asked them to think about parts they wanted to stand out more. Students then added at least 3 patterns to their drawings as well.

Color choices were up to the students. I showed them how to create light and dark colors by pressing soft or hard.

So much character in these drawings!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Freshening things up.

I just added some new tabs and info to the blog. I had been meaning to do it for awhile. I looked around at blogs like Art with Mr. E, k6art, and Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists for some ideas on what to include. I wanted the blog to become more useful to parents and educators by offering more than just supercool art lessons;)

These new sections will be added to when necessary. Some, obviously more than others. If anyone out there has any comments or suggestions, please send them my way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

a marz landing.

Marz Jr. that is:)

Marz Jr. is a New York based artist who focuses on cityscapes, comic books, and movies as the subjects for his artwork. The way he handles his subject matter was a perfect fit for the 4th graders' continued work with line and contrast.

Before starting the project we reviewed how we made contrast and emphasis in the Petra Borner inspired project from last week. I pointed out that with that project we focused more on imagination and this week we would focus more on observation. Students read aloud from my Standards board- today I am..., so that I can..., and I'll know I've got it when...

Then I shared Marz Jr.'s work with them.
The kids loved looking at his work, especially the Star Wars imagery. What they noticed right away about most of his work was that the emphasized objects stood out because they were lighter in color value than everything else in the image.

For our lesson, we focused on his cityscapes. We talked about what makes a cityscape a cityscape and then looked at numerous buildings from San Diego. As we looked at these, I showed students how to make building shapes look 3d with diagonal or curved lines.

Students followed along using their dry erase boards to do sketches on. This was the first time we tried these out to practice, and I think they worked really well. I'm looking forward to using these for brainstorming and sketching throughout the year.

After practicing, students were expected to draw at least 3 buildings in their final project. At least 2 of them needed to be from our San Diego examples. They could invent or borrow buildings from other places for other buildings if they wanted to.

Students drew their buildings on a colored square and then drew their final building on a white piece of paper that was cut and glued in place to create the focal point of their drawing.

Thanks also goes to Patty at Deep Space Sparkle for doing a project based on Marz Jr.'s work last year. The step by step I used is how she broke it down. I just added the hometown San Diego focus to the project:)