I'm going to start this blog entry by sharing our portraiture lesson and then explain how this become a collaborative piece. So if you start reading and are wondering how this involves any sort of collaboration, stick with me...I promise, I'll get there!
My 8th graders have been taught how to draw faces before, but it never hurts to revisit a lesson (especially on drawing realistically). Similarly to how I taught my fifth graders portraiture and proportion, I started by handing my classroom over to Oli on YouTube and letting her show off her skills as a 9 year old, while also teaching my 8th graders the basics.
We sketched out our faces and left them alone for awhile to talk about shading. Shading faces can be tricky and I didn't want them to just add a little grey and smear it across their faces so that they still looked flat but now they were grey. So we talked about how shadows and highlights add depth and show us the shape of the object and tell us about its form.
|8th Grade Sphere and Shadow Study|
Once our spheres were complete, we discussed how that same concept can be applied to anything three-dimensional. We talked about the high points on our face (cheekbone, forehead, nose and chin) and how/why highlights would fall there. We talked about the areas with the most shadows and why as well as where middle grey/medium shadows would be. We also discussed hair and how it is actually individual strands growing from the scalp and not perfectly smooth and colored in solidly. I reminded them of using their pencil in the direction of the curve on that part of the face and encouraged them to use the sides of their pencils for ease of blending. We don't have a class set of blending stumps nor shading pencils, so each student was working with their standard #2 and armed with a Kleenex and/or their fingertips.
|My demonstration example of how shading a face can look before and after blending|
Once we had covered portraiture...we got into the collaboration! I work at a K-8 building, and our 8th graders are each assigned a Kindergarten buddy. The idea is for the 8th graders to show the kindergarten kiddos the ropes and make the little guys feel comfortable in the building and they end up forming these adorable bonds! This collaboration project was inspired by one of those popular articles that floats around Facebook. In this blog entry by the artist/blog Busy Mockinbird, an artist and mother discusses and shares images that are created out of collaboration with her four year old. To cut to the chase, the results are absolutely amazing! And I wanted my 8th graders to do something similar with their buddies.
So after we learned about portraiture, I shared my idea and the article with my 8th grade and had each student draw a medium sized head on a blank page in their sketchbook. The next time that Kindergarten came to art, they were taught about collaborative art and how they were going to be working with their 8th grade buddy (I don't teach the kindergartners Art, but I stopped in and found them cheering at the idea of working in their 8th grade buddy's sketchbook). And thus, our collaboration portion of the lesson...
But wait, there's more! After the kindergartners added bodies to our 8th grade faces, they drew a face on another blank page in their buddy's sketchbook. On which, of course, I had my 8th graders add bodies and backgrounds!