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Friday, April 18, 2014

Portrait Drawing and Collaborative Art

8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson

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 Drawing With Shading and Blending
8th Grade Sphere and Shadow Study
We started out by drawing spheres.  I set out a ball and we noted where shadows were and reflections. Then I put it away and we had to think about it a little bit more.  Where is our light source (pick one)? Where is going to be the lightest spot on our sphere?  How about the darkest?  Etc.  I showed them how to use their pencil in the direction of the curves to accentuate the item's shape and then taught them blending with their finger or a tissue.

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


8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson
8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson

8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson 


8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson
8th Grade Portrait Drawing Art Lesson

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...
Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art Lesson
Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art Lesson

Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art Lesson
Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art Lesson
















Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art Lesson
Collaborative Art with 8th Grade Portrait and Kindergarten Body Art 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!

Collaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art LessonCollaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art Lesson

Collaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art Lesson
Collaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art Lesson


Collaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art Lesson
Collaborative Art with Kindergarten Portrait and 8th Grade Body Art Lesson