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I do a project with my art I students in which they work on 12 x 18" paper
with 4B or ebony pencils. They are shown how to make a value scale - dark to
light - and are instructed to begin making value scales randomly on the page.
I circulate around and suggest making different sizes of scales, curving them,
locating them over the entire page, grouping small ones together, etc. I
always make sure the darks are DARK. From this beginning, the students look
at the white spaces and begin to design back and forth, positively and
negatively. We talk about realism and that all art is not realistic. They
begin to work with an expressionistic concept in mind. By drawing's end, they
have done lots of darks and have created without the "pressure" of realism.
We then move into realistic and formal drawings which are much richer in darks
because of this first drawing.