Friday, May 1, 2015

gone fishin.

The 4th graders have gone fishin this week with the help of Erik Abel. A fair bit of students will need some time next week, but I thought I'd share some of the cool drawings that have been completed so far:)

Erik is an amazing artist who is constantly inspired by the ocean, the creatures that inhabit it, and the landscape surrounding it. I love his sense of color, style, and composition. I have used his work as inspiration for multiple projects in the past. I was scrolling through my instagram feed recently (like, this past weekend) and when I came across the image below that Erik had just posted. It's a bit of a departure for him in terms of shape, contours, and mark making and I think it's absolutely awesome! I think it could be the source of a great shape and collage lesson, but I decided that I would use it for a lesson in my texture unit.

We look at a number of images from his website and then I share this image with them. We identify the geometric shapes Erik has used and how he created a bit of depth in the images by changing fish sizes. I also point out that there is a spot on each fish that is handled differently than the rest in that it has a more natural texture than the other parts. It contrasts from the rest and gives the image a little boost of energy. Before the kids start with their sketches we also review our warms and cools from the previous 2 lessons and go over how each of the warms has a cool opposite or complement.

The students need to draw at least 2 small practice fish before starting their large (12x15") final drawing. I walk them through using geometric shapes as the basis for body, head, fins, tail fins, and interior elements like gills.

After their sketches are done, students can start on the large drawing- making sure to alter the size of the fish to create a little depth. Erik's image doesn't have outlines, but I had the students use thick and thin sharpies to outline their parts and create variety in their line weight. 

When students were ready to color, I modeled using texture plates to create different patterns on their fish. I emphasized only using textures on some of their fish parts to create contrast between solod and patterned parts. Students were also to use at least one pair of complementary colors per fish. They could use more than that pair, but they needed to demonstrate that they could identify and use complements too.

Their exit slips are done on post-it notes for this one. I gave them to sentence starters to reflect on the project. 


  1. Great lesson, so much possibility with all the shape combinations

  2. Love this lesson! Like hope said, so many possibilities... :)

  3. I am keen to try this. Thanks. And I love the background to your blog.

    1. can't wait to see whatcha do with it:) thanks for the background note. it's from a collab quilt i did with 2nd graders inspired by eleanor mccain's work:)

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