Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lesson: Book of Secrets (with Packing Tape Transfers)

I totally snagged this project from my colleague, Matt Milkowski.  So- HEY!  Thank's MILKO! (Though, I think he snagged it from another art teacher- that's how we roll!  I mean, isn't that the whole point of this blog, anyway?)
The giant Secret Book on display at our
Kenwood Academy Art Show!
In this project, the students illustrated a secret they had.  Some found this difficult... although, we all know that we ALL have secrets, right?  (Except me, of course.)
Students drew ideas in their sketchbooks, then received a "page" to illustrate their secret.  They had to use the skills we had already learned from class like compositional techniques, a unique font, borders and outlines to emphasize something important, and of course, excellent craftsmanship.  

(On a total tangent, a bellringer I had put up one day was this:  "Do you think that QUALITY and TIME are related?  Explain!"  And most students wrote that it takes a lot of time to have quality work.  Seems like a pretty easy concept, yet, so many students rush through to get the job done.  Clearly, they are choosing less time over quality work. But anyway...)

The new part of this project was including a Packing Tape Transfer.  Students use packing tape to transfer images from magazine, SOME printouts, newspaper, or even pencil drawings.  This was super cool because it would create a transparent layer on their page.  They could choose this as a texture or as the object, or even as text!  This is done by sticking clear packing tape to an image, then letting it soak in a bucket of water.  Then, the paper softens, and you can rub the paper off of the packing tape, leaving just the ink attached to the tape.  You DO need to use a SMALL amount of elmer's glue to glue the tape to the paper when it is dry (the tape is no longer sticky enough to hold on itself).  Don't use too much glue or it will dry white.

When students were finished with their pages, we "laminated" them with clear packing tape and added hinges to the edge.  Later, we assembled the pages into a giant Book of Secrets including students from all 4 of my art survey classes (about 100 students).  I tried having two of my best graffiti artists design the cover for our book, but unfortunately neither pulled through.  I guess it will be a design I can work on over the summer. 


1. I had to glue AND tape on the paper hinges because the glue just came off once it was dry.  The glue acts like a temporary tack until the book is all together, then I went back (had a student) and added tape in spots to reinforce the hinge/page connection.  
2.  Some types of printing worked as the transfer- I think it is laser, but NOT ink jet?  I want to say this is because the ink on the inkjet is absorbed in the paper, whereas the laser printing is sitting on top of the paper?  Honestly, I can't say this for sure, because some of my students who brought in print-outs were able to make it work, and some were not. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lesson: I can't RESIST it! Contour Line Drawing Project

In between large, very structured projects, I wanted something in which students would explore both a new drawing technique to them, as well as apply some of the watercolor techniques they learned during their sketchbook cover project.  Something more... loose.  I was also looking for something that would only take about a week or so before moving into our printmaking unit.  


For this project, students first practiced making several contour and blind contour drawings.  We started with them choosing a person or a hand gesture.  On the second day, they practiced drawing objects like shoes or other objects in the classroom.  They had a bit of difficulty remembering not to lift their pencil off of the paper.  Students also tended to draw items that were very simple or more two-dimensional like an iPod or an analog clock in the room.  I had to really push them to use only forms (3D objects) to work from.  



After that, we 
began the "large project."  Part of this project was about following directions.  I even ended up giving students a grade if they followed all of the directions (or not).  As you can see to the left, I had some pretty explicit instructions.  I still briefly demonstrated/walked through the Day 1 process so students could SEE the steps taking place and ask questions along the way.  

I actually really enjoyed this change of pace, because each day, I would just hand them the new instructions, and students would grab their artwork, and know exactly what to do.  If students were absent, I typically tell them to read the handouts, ask their neighbors, and THEN they can come ask me questions.  This worked fairly well to cut down on repeating myself, plus students teach each other.  That freed me up to walk around more, address some of the contour drawing issues mentioned above (don't take your pencil off the paper!).  

On Day 2, students finished up drawings from the previous day if needed, as well as applied  oil pastel or crayon and glue resists, and various marker line weights.  The work needs to dry overnight.  On Day 3, students recalled the various watercolor techniques from prior projects.  In this, students found it very exciting to see the crayon resists (especially the light colored crayons like flesh and white and yellow) "popping" out through their watercolors.  

Lastly, students were to emphasize the idea of layers by using crayons, color pencils, or collage on their work.  They were also to emphasize specific objects in their artwork through value, color, etc.  

Overall, this project was okay.  I definitely will refine it next time I use it.  
Feedback:  Some of their resists did not turn out so great.  Either they didn't press hard enough with the crayon/oil pastel, or they barely put enough glue regardless of my demonstration, repetition, and... (yes, it's true) nagging.  I left the watercolor portion pretty free, and some of the students had some AMAZING contour drawings... but less than desirable watercolor techniques that may have obliterated their really great drawings.  I could put on more restrictions onto this portion to make sure I get more "clean" looking artwork.  But... some of this was just nice to be loose and let the students interpret their artwork how they see fit.  As long as they got the concepts, I was happy with their results.  Sometimes, we just have to say... it's ok (this time)!