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Re: observational drawing-j.h/middle school


From: Eric & Kris Holsen (holsenek_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Jul 22 2003 - 13:45:57 PDT

In my desperation to get negative space across to some day I came
up with this:

I used Betty's concept of the bugs bunny shaped hole in the wall - and had
them find a magazine picture of an object from a 3/4 view. Then we cut them
out carefully with exactos (I have a small class of high-schoolers) but left
them "hinged" to the negative space. I had them place the pictures on top
of solid-colored paper ("the magic green paper") and then draw the shape
they could see onto white paper. (Always had some who thought they should
trace it)

Then I had them go in and cut the picture of the object up along the major
lines, put each puzzle piece in (or leave just it out) and draw the interior
shapes. It helped to keep these "hinged" too so we didn't lose pieces.

Then they could shade and finish as they liked.

This is an exercise, not a creative assignment as much, but it helped get
the idea of seeing the space across.

This year I think I may blow the pictures up larger on the copier so the
bits aren't so tiny!

My kids really get into drawing classmates posed with silly props and
costume pieces too. I make them sit in a circle around the model so they
get a different view every time - everyone insists on getting a turn at the
front view - but of course these are not always the coolest drawings! I
also put blinders over their markers. (colored markers are fun and don't
erase!) Since the models look so silly anyway it takes pressure off getting
them to look "right."

We "finish" these by choosing one and collaging it with a variety of
materials into a composition that tells a story.

What drives me nuts about the beginning of the year is that I want to teach
drawing stuff right away - but with the drop/add circus I always get some
who miss vital stuff and are less successful all semester. This year I am
trying to find some quality "filler" I can do before what I consider

BTW - I draw along with them - and give them away.

Enjoy the rest of summer!


Kris Holsen
Studio Academy High School
Rochester, MN
"You must become the change you wish to see in the world."  -Gandhi