I second the advice about gridding. I taught this method to a rather
ornery 7th grade class last year, and the students who finished did a
really nice job. They chose photos (not illustrations) of full-length
figures in action and we used a rather large grid to get the basic
proportions and pose correct (they practiced a small section of gridding
in their sketchbooks first). After drawing the figure, they drew a
large circle behind the figure as a framing device; the figure's head or
feet or arms usually extended a bit beyond the circle. This made the
background a bit more interesting than just flat color.
At HS and MS, I emphasized color mixing (using warm and cool primaries
at the HS; crummy basic tempera at MS). They would paint and label
swatches for a solid week (and no, they didn't rebel; I think they were
amazed at the variety they could achieve with a basic palette). The
first day they would learn proper brush care (always wet it before
painting; don't let the paint dry on the brush) and how to mix small
amounts of paint for their swatches. Each day entailed different mixes:
tints, secondaries, etc. By the time they started their paintings, they
were mixing all their colors with a lot of confidence. They were not
allowed to use paint straight from the tube or bottle.
As for management, I found that giving the students temporary ownership
of their tools made them take MUCH better care of them; they're less
likely to hide or throw away a dirty brush if they know they have to use
it the next day. You can either number all the brushes, palettes,
knives and assign the students a number, or put their initials on
masking tape and place it on each item they use. To cut down on waste,
I gave them each an imaginary budget with which they could "purchase"
tools and tubes of paint. It worked great, and saved tons of paint.
If you're interested, check the archives as I discussed this recently.
NEVER put acrylics down the sink!! Wipe tools with wet paper towels first.
Joe Cox wrote:
><snip> They have to paint someone
>who is a living person or has lived that they feel is their hero. Now this
>is a beginning art class so the skill levels vary greatly. Therefore, I am
>having a hard time figuring out how to approach this lesson so that the
>student won't feel overwhelmed. If you have any suggestions please send
>them on I would love the help.
>One other question. How do you keep students from wasting paint?