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From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jun 02 2002 - 11:12:31 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526

 I have a question about the self portraits. I noticed the kids don't have
their hair showing, rather the hair appears as negative space. Very
effective! Are all these students dark haired? Or was the decision made to
not draw the hair for another reason? Also, I presume you worked with a
digital camera to do the original images. I love the dimension and mood
provided by the inclusion of the hands! Could you tell us a bit more about
the assignment?Thanks,Jude

Hi, Friend. Thanks for the compliment about the self-portraits. I was
extremely pleased with the results too...although it was like pullin' teeth
during the process. They did not like having to flip and trace it took all of 10 minutes to do. Lots of whining UNTIL
we started the black paper and coloring and then they were amazed.

Not everyone was dark-haired nor Caucasian.

I decided to exclude the hair part and concentrate on the face coloring
primarily because I wanted the hands to be an important aspect and there
wasn't room to include the hair AND hands with the size of the grid we used.
I really wanted the faces to be LARGE.

I do NOT have a digital camera. I took pictures at the beginning of the
semester with a 35 mm camera which gave me good CLEAR pictures and I had
them developed as 5x7" colored pics so they were larger to work from. I
pre-made grids for the pics with overhead sheets. They grided their 12x18"
white paper themselves. I had some practice dittos for drawing with grids I
made up and they did that to take a smaller grid square and blow
it up to a larger grid square. This they were bored with but it got the
point across to those who didn't understand. Interestingly enough, some of
the kids who were so bored had trouble with it as we progressed with the
dittos. Would I do the dittos again? Yes.

I gave them practice strips of black paper to practice colors with. I
emphasized layering colors as they wanted to whip this baby up in 10 minutes
and blend with their fingers (like they were working with pastels). Layering
the craypas lent a great blending effect without finger blending which is
ineffective with craypas.

The written assignment after this lesson was to "walk through the process"
on paper telling what they did at each stage and how they "felt" as they
were working on these stages. I wanted them to re-experience the ups and
downs of the mental process and moods it reflected. They were also asked to
write about why they chose their particular color palette and what had
happened to them that day when they selected it. I was equally impressed
with their much so as their portraits...and was surprised by
some of the personal revelations in these writings. I did tell them at the
beginning to be "aware" of process thoughts while going through the stages
and would be asked to write about them so they were somewhat prepared.

These reflections went into the student's bound "book of reflections" which
included all of their 9x12 work, a page listing all of the students in the
class and room for autographs, a title page of information about the
student...a great keeper of lots of their work and thoughts though the
entire semester. Toodles.....Bunki