Tuesday, April 26, 2016

city of dreams... and solid figures!

This week the 2nd graders are experimenting with texture as a way to create and transfer images. We are looking at the wonderfully vibrant work of Lisa Congdon. I have shared Lisa's work with students in the past. It is always a treat to introduce students to her refreshing take on the visual world.

For this project, we are looking at a spread in one of her sketchbooks that she titled "City of Dreams". This drawing works so well with the 2nd grade math curriculum because at this point they are learning about solid figures. When introducing this drawing, I ask the kids what solid figures make up the buildings- rectangular & triangular prisms. We also steer towards what makes these buildings look 3d- Lisa uses light and dark and she shows 2 faces of the buildings.

Lisa Congdon's "City of Dreams"

 We are scratching into styrofoam as we draw the elements of our cities. This changes the texture of the styrofoam and is what makes the lines show up in the final print. We build a couple buildings together and then the students need to add at least 3 more. When the shapes are all in, we then add patterns to the faces- trying to use more lines on one side, so the buildings will appear to have light and dark faces.

When coloring the solid figures, we are trying to use one color per building, to make the light and dark line effect more apparent.

When the kids finish printing, they are to reflect on the concepts and process with a written reflection. Vocabulary is posted in the room and they make talk to a neighbor if they are unsure how to answer a question. 


  1. Ok, what is your secret to the great marker prints? We're doing the marker prints too and either you can't see the detail because it is too light or we put too much water on it and it's blurred! Need tips please!

    1. Hey Marcia,
      I use student grade 80 or 90 lb watercolor that has a smooth texture on one side. I think that's key, so the texture of the paper doesn't interfere with the transfer. When I spray, it's 2 or 3 pumps from the bottle and then i sponge it even. When the kids rub the paper on top of the plate I emphasize firm and even pressure. I'm right there for that step to monitor and point out spots I think they missed. I'll see if I can do a short vid of the process this week so you can see.

  2. These are amazing! Pinned for sure!