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Re: drawing bicycles.....


From: Marvin P Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 24 2002 - 11:21:37 PDT

Julie's idea of displaying the bicycle upside down reminds me of several
other ideas.

Effective teaching often boils down to knowing when to make it harder (more
challenging), when to make it easier (allowing some success and
gratification), and doing it in ways that facilitate interest and learning.
 Making it harder might be done by adding content, by raising standards,
requiring more preliminary ideas, not allowing their same old ways of
working, etc. Making it easier might be done by starting with practice,
giving a simple thing to begin with, starting with something familiar,
sequencing the problem into easier parts, etc.

Here are a few ideas inspired by the bicycle discussion to make a drawing
challenging and some ideas to make it easier -- more doable.

1. Use a bike that has been badly damaged in a car accident (or get a
junker and a sledge hammer to create one). This can make it easier since
mistakes will not show up as much.
2. Take an old bike all apart. Display all the individual parts in a
"cubistic" set up. This can make it easier since mistakes will not show up
as much.
3. Turn the front wheel at an angle so that every view requires the
drawing of an ellipse of at least one of the wheels. Remind students to
make comparison visual sightings to measure the proportions of the ellipse.
 This can make it harder.
4. Combine the bicycle with something very organic for a study of "line
character". A plant that vines would be an example. This can be harder.
5. Use viewfinders and ask for negative-space-only drawings. Allow no
lines -- only flat shapes of background areas.
        a. To make it more easier, ask for a small area selectively framed area.
        b. To make it more challenging, ask for a dynamically informally balanced
design (listing criteria on board or poster).
        c. To make it easier, cut the negative shapes without drawing from pieces
of paper and glue them on.
        d. To make it easier, try a simple smooth background. I use a role of 36
inch cheap brown paper to simplify and neutralize backgrounds. If it is a
white background, use white chalk on dark drawing paper.
        e. To make it harder, ask for a dynamic messy mix of identifiable
(symbol) and mysterious (abstract) areas in the composition.
        f. To make it harder, ask for dynamic size variations.
        g. To make it more challenging, ask for the negative shapes to be
rendered in a variety of values and/or a variety of colors (and/or
intensities of color) that add the illusion of depth to the design and
disguise the subject matter more.

Locally, one of our eighth grade art teachers sometimes brings in a
motorcycle - gets a lot of interest.