Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lesson: Visually Textured Monsters

Ok, so this is really a jam packed lesson because it is two lessons in one.  Or maybe 3 or 4 really.  While collaborating with my amazing colleague, Matt Milkowski, we came up with this amazing project that continues to be a hit with all involved.  Take a look at the final product (my example) for a sneak peek.  

As you may already have figured out, I am a proponent of using the foundations of the Elements of Art as the basic structure of my course.  Matt and I spent several years collaborating (you may have seen us speak at NAEA NOLA on our BLOWYOURMIND sketchbooks?  No?  Well, you really missed out.  I'm just sayin'.)  on the "ideal" curriculum for our students in Art 1 survey course, and this just worked the best for us, and continues to work the best for me.  Normally I'd say that I set up my units in this order:  Line, Shape (or Line & Shape), Value, Form, Texture, Color, Space (or some combination).  This time, I changed it up a bit.  I started with Line and Shape, but then combo'ed Form and Texture together.  An interesting combo if I may say so myself.  So here's how this worked:

I start out talking about shapes again, and how we can turn shapes into forms (drawing at this time).  How value (here's where I say, 'yeah, we have already talked so much about value, and we haven't even done out unit on it yet!  That's just crazy!' In fact, now that I'm writing that out, maybe I should START my year off with value... it is, after all, used in almost every project we make... so why not?  Hmm... food for thought.)  I digress.  I was about to say, how value makes a form 3D and pop out, take up space.  But how also... TEXTURE can play an important part in making something look 3D!  (Maybe a little stretch, but hey... I want it to all tie together.  And it will.  I promise.)  

Then we talk about texture.  Mainly, at this point, VISUAL TEXTURE.  We then draw a bank of different types of textures.  I then show them how to draw textures on an egg with key tips (curving with the object, breaking the drawn egg outline, getting closer together as it gets closer the edge...).  Then we do that hand texture handout that you can find on Pinterest. (Funny fact, when I started teaching at a particular school, one of my colleagues had this handout photocopied for his students.  I thought he had MADE this handout.  He did not correct me... so, when I inevitably found it on Pinterest, I felt like an idiot.  And a little angry at that colleague.  And a little stupid.)  It's a great handout, if you haven't seen it.  I always love hand drawn (no pun intended) handouts.  

From there we go BACK to talking about shapes.  Yep, shapes.  We explore shapes, appendages, and proportions to make a monster.  For examples, how you can combine different shapes to make a monster, but then reposition those same shapes, elongate, move up or down, closer together, etc. to create a completely different monster.  
This is a LOT of fun because the kids always make hilariously unique monsters.  I LOVE THIS PROJECT SO MUCH!  Have I said that yet?  I will, about 500 more times in this post.  And... I say it in class like a zillion times, too.  The kids love it. Or maybe hate it, I'm not sure.  Oh, I also wait a little while, but eventually I hand out a monster reference packet that I've made.  It has pages of eyes and horns and mouths and noses and, you know, Monster PARTS!

Then students choose their favorite 4 to redraw cleanly in larger thumbnail sketches (I have them draw 2 rectangles per page landscape).  From there they decide ONE and show me.  I give them a square paper and say... now draw it AGAIN!  They ink it cleanly, erase extraneous lines.  Then, they use that as their template to graphite transfer onto 4 more squares.  Then each of those squares gets a different texture (or textures).  I encourage the students to move directly to INK and practice the textures in their sketchbook.  Erase any leftover pencil lines/marks.  I have them think about their monster(s) and consider speech bubbles or accessories.  They can (and should!) add a little value shading under certain textures or around the edges of the monster to make it look even more 3D, or they can also add some color shading!  I then have them sign and name their monsters.  We mount them together and WA-LA!  It's amazing.  I FREAKING LOVE THIS PROECT!  So.  Much.  (Oh, and don't forget the self assessment and reflection!)

Here is artwork from my previous students as well as ones from this summer.  ENJOY!

(PS  After you check out all the amazing artwork below, check out my next Monster Post about how you can really have fun with these guys! Or push it even further!)

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