When I do observational drawing we each make one out of dark blue
paper to support the observation. (Betty Edwards says that a blue
background intensifies the details) It helps the little guys to focus
on the object. Since I started using them in the primary grades their
observational drawings have definitely improved. They sit so-o-o
focused on their pumpkins, gourds, dandelions, seashells or whatever
that great detailed drawings come out.
The first observational drawings in first grade are little
Jack-b-little pumpkins. Save that aside. Then feel, look for the
parts (details), how do they fit together, how are all alike, what are
some differences. Use the "blue helper" to help look and draw again. I
use the first drawing before instructions to compare. The parents are
impressed when they get the packet of numbered drawings which show the
progression. (Tape on the back explanation about observational
Finally I show overlap and point of view by putting 1 pumpkin in the
blue helper and draw that. I add a gourd behind the pumpkin and draw
that. Of course I make a big deal out of looking at the whole gourd
before I hide part behind the first pumpkin. Put it behind and take
it out again several times talking about what can't be seen etc.
Finally add a third very different gourd and repeat. Then we walk
around the room to get a different point of view for the 3 squash.
They repeat this step of drawing 1, add 1 and draw, add the third and
draw. It is a nice entry into observational drawing. I always get a
group of artists that draw the overlapped items x-ray style and swear
that they can see all of each piece. They can only see what they are
ready to see.
>From: Dennis Morris <theartboss>
>Subject: Re: great lessons for 1st grade
>Date: Thu, Nov 25, 1999, 10:25 AM
> I use bio-degradable "noodles" as a sculpture medium.
> The students make a small sculpture and then create an
> environment using a tri-fold box. The first grade
> teachers have the kids write a very short story about
> their creation.
> Dennis < theartboss >
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