This week, as part of my shape unit, the 3rd graders are looking at the differences between realistic and abstract style. I'm using two sources to assist me with this- the work of Thom Pastrano
and the movie The Book of Life.
I start the lesson by using posters hanging in my room to illustrate the differences between the two styles. I talk about how an artist can rearrange reality and play with the shapes, colors, values, and textures of something to make it abstract.
I then share an image of one of the characters from the movie on my smartboard and we talk about how it looks real even though it is really a drawing. I then share a few of the posters Thom has sent me and we look at how he has rearranged and flattened shapes to make well known characters look abstract.
This, I tell the kids, is what we are going to do with the character of the day.
Students start with a collection of geometric shapes. We will alter some of them into more complex geometric shapes and some of them will become more natural looking shapes. I model each piece, emphasizing that if theirs looks different than mine, it's cool because we are making an abstract piece anyway:)
Students create all their shapes first and then play with them and move them around in different ways until they come up with a composition that works for them. Then we glue all those parts in place.
It's been a fun exercise in shape and style for the kids and myself. I'm doing a different character with each class, which will provide a nice amount of variety when they are displayed and it keeps me more engaged throughout the week too! When I see them next week I plan on having them do a compare/contrast activity with this project and the shape project they will complete during that session.