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Re: lousy coloring skills?!


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Dec 09 2003 - 14:24:33 PST

This has been a good topic and I've seen some great responses.
This web page is a Poinsettia ball point color drawing that I did
last Saturday.
It was inspired by reading your question about coloring skills. I
send it as my holiday greeting to all of you on the list. I did the
pencil work on a piece of drawing paper on my clipboard while soaking
in the tub with the plant setting next to the tub. I then carried
the plant to the table where I colored in the lines with ball point

My two-bits worth about coloring in the lines:

1. I agree with those who say that some styles work much better for
tight and structured working and others need a playful and carefree
approach. Often a project can use the playful approach during the
ideation stage and then move to the intense focus during the
execution stage.

2. I agree with those who say careful work takes focus and patience.
I can identify with this because I can do this type of work much
easier on certain days. For me it really requires intrinsic
motivation. As teachers, we need to trick their minds into wanting
to do it - not an easy trick. I also find it much harder to color
in somebody else's lines than my in my lines.

Here are two ideas I have used to try to add motivation by offering technique.

1. Ask them to figure out the drawing in very light pencil line
using an eraser to get it the way they want it before adding any tone
or color. I also ask them to make an outline for the cast shadows,
dark tone, and mid-tones. Part of the preliminary drawing must
include the outline of the white highlight on each item where no tone
or color will be added - just white paper. Obviously, they begin to
see much more when these requirements are part of the preparation. I
do not draw for them. They work from something real - not copy work.

Then in another medium such as markers I have them add tone and color
but no outlines. Then they have to erase all the pencil outlines so
only tone and color remain. I find they are more likely to care
about the work if they have done more preparation before adding the
color and tone and if they are learning to create a special effect.
This web page shows a small stippled example where the drawing lines
have been removed.

2. Show how to use a half stencil (pieces they cut as needed from
construction paper) to protect an area so the crayon or marker can
slide onto another area without messing up the protected part. I
don't demonstrate, but I have them do preliminary practice how to
hold the stencil card and how to move the crayon to avoid getting
color where it is not wanted.

I use this method myself to save time when I creating architectural
presentation drawings and other illustrations such as the Poinsettia
drawing. It works well when darkening a background to make the
foreground objects pop forward. A clean stencil also works great to
isolate an area for an eraser to bring out a highlight.

This web page has other ideas.

Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526