On Jun 15, 2010, at 6:53 AM, Jerry Vilenski wrote:
> I teach watercolor workshops and drawing to beginning through
> advanced artists, and because of the wide range of skill levels, I
> had to develop a series of exercises that span those levels to keep
> everyone engaged. I think some of these techniques could help your
> First, I start with studio exercises geared to teach basic drawing
> or painting techniques in an unusual way.
> 1. Gumdrop still life: This is fun and edible at the same time!
> Each student chooses gumdrops of a variety of shapes and sizes and
> constructs a still life on a sheet of paper. This exercise teaches
> working with shape, mass, overlapping, texture and shadow.
> 2. Balloons: Give kids 3 or 4 balloons, and have them inflate
> them to differing degrees of size, some partially inflated and one
> fully inflated. Place on a large sheet of white paper in an
> arrangement and draw. Kids can tape them to the paper to keep them
> from moving. The balloons present the problem of drawing
> translucency, volume, mass and how shadows are effected by those
> 3. Ribbons: Give kids 3 or 4, 6 inch pieces of shiny ribbon, and
> have them curl some and leave others alone. Place in an
> arrangement that shows overlapping and adjacent objects. This
> project teaches rendering shiny objects that have a variety of
> translucent to opaque qualities, reflective surfaces, and how
> objects relate to one another in a composition.
> 4. Glass of water with object: Give kids a glass 2/3 filled with
> water, and place a brush or pencil in the water, tall enough to
> stick out of the glass. This is arranged on a white sheet of paper
> and drawn. This exercise presents the problem of showing how water
> refracts and reflects an image and focuses on observation skills.
> 5. Two point perspective: I think it is a must for students to
> understand the basics of linear perspective. Set up a rectangular
> object on a sheet of paper and position it with the corner facing
> the student. Draw the object with a view to observing how
> converging lines work as well as shadows without showing the edges
> of the paper. Two point perspective is the most commonly used
> viewpoint in artwork, so I would focus on that first. I developed
> an easy to follow sheet of instructions to teach perspective that I
> have taught from 5th grade to adult with great success.
> I hope some of this makes sense. Contact me off list if you need
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