draw bicycles (another project I did in high school), my fourth graders draw their classmates (also a project I did in high school), and my fifth graders draw their hands (yet another project I did in high school).
I do not think they are too young for such academic, classic drawing tasks. They are so successful! Of course, we do other projects that engage their kid culture in the arts, but I love teaching students how to see and how to reproduce what they see on paper.
When I saw these observational drawings on the Briargrove Elementary Art Page, I knew I had to tackle such a project with my second grade students.
I loved the drawing challenges:
draw at least one object larger than life
draw at least one object cropped (going off the edge of the page)
draw at least one object repeated (from observation again)
I didn't have shells, fake flowers, or an abundance of potted plants. Instead, I found our everyday materials: paintbrushes, paint bottles, scissors, compasses, pencil sharpeners, glue bottles, etc. (Not surprisingly, I also had to draw school supplies from direct observation in high school.) While there is a benefit to drawing organic items (no intimidating straight lines and more forgiveness in mistakes, especially when drawing directly in permanent marker), my students rose to the challenge.
We learned that to observe means to LOOK! They needed to be constantly looking at the object they were drawing.
To add interest, they used crayons to draw textures, patterns, and solid colors in the objects with one color family (warm, cool, or neutral). Using a different color family, they added textures and patterns to the background. Finally, they used watercolors to paint the areas that were not covered by crayon. The results are fabulous!
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