Tag: high school art project

Portrait Colored Pencil + The Memory Project

I have spent much of my life creating art. Growing up with an art teacher mom greatly widened my creative boundaries. She always had art supplies, new ideas, and fun projects for us to work on.

However, while my art making career does reach far back, for as long as I can remember I have also struggled with and have tried to avoid portraiture. In contrast, my art teacher mama spent much of her free time creating beautiful watercolor portraits, and even attempted to teach me her tricks a time or two, but the process never clicked for me.

My aversion to portraiture was tested in college, but for the most part I was able to skirt around assignments. However, my career choice of art education forced me to come face to face with my greatest art aversion, you guessed it, portraits.

I knew that in order to create a well rounded curriculum I would have to teach my students portraiture, and myself along with them. It took years of practice, learning new techniques, and teaching it to others for things to start to sink in. While it still doesn’t come naturally, it comes more easily, and I have added more and more portrait based assignments to my classes over the years.

One new addition last year was The Memory Project. We worked with The Memory Project organization to create portraits of children in areas of need. Once the portraits are completed we send the originals to the organization, who in turn sends them with representatives to hand deliver the works of art to the children portrayed.

Everything about this project touches me to the core. It incorporates my love for art, sharing that love with others, and it teaches students how they can use their talents for good. They have to take time to create a work of art that they will have to give away.

My students and I had such a good experience last year I decided to make it an annual project. Last year we focused on acrylic paintings, you can find the lesson plan for that here, but this year I opted to make myself even more uncomfortable by throwing in another material I don’t naturally get a long with, colored pencil.

THE SUPPLIES

  • 9″x12″ or smaller sheets of quality drawing paper
  • Memory portrait pictures (multiple copies, the same size as the paper)
  • Pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Erasers

THE TECHNIQUE

My students start by selecting the child they are interested in recreating. I then make copies of their pictures for them to reference. Before jumping right in I have them create thumbnail sketches of different facial features and practice blending various colored pencils colors to get the right skin color. You can find a worksheet to help guide that process here.

After they have some practice under their belt, we get started on the base sketch. Because we are sending these portraits out to the children they portray, I allow my students to choose multiple options to get started. They can use the grid method to create an accurate base drawing, they can punch holes through the picture and make dots to follow on their paper, or they can free hand. You can learn more about these options in my Memory Project painting pack here.

Once they are confident in their drawing and have all the correct information, they get started with the layers. I tell them to start light and slowly build layers up. They block out shadows and mid-tones first, working towards the highlights. I recommend coloring in a circular motion to mimic the soft, even look of skin. They should aim to color along the contour, or outline, of their shapes to give it a three dimensional quality.

I recommend starting with the skin tone first before jumping into the hair because the hair overlaps the skin. I also think it’s important to work on every part equally, rather than 100% completing the lips before moving to the nose (for example). Instead, build your piece up as a whole.

After creating a base layer start adding darker and darker colors, build in the hair, clothing, and other details.

Consider what to do in the background. Did their subject note their favorite color? Is there an interesting background in the photograph they want to recreate? What would enhance, not distract from their portrait?

Similar to coloring in the subject, the layers should slowly be built up. If too much pigment is put down at one time the surface will become burnished and look shiny. It’s hard for more pigment to stick to this burnished surface and often layers need to be removed with an eraser in order to add more color.

While portraits still aren’t my favorite subject to create, I am glad I have developed the skill set and some confidence in introducing the concept to my students. It’s important to offer them a well rounded art education and portraits are a part of that!

Check out a time lapse video of my piece below!

Read about some of my other portrait projects here.

Check out portrait resources on my blog shop (grid lesson here) and my TPT (acrylic portrait project here, portrait with words here, charcoal self portraits here, altered self portraits here).

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read about one of my recent projects! Share the post on your social media outlet of choice and help me spread the word about all things art making. Thanks for stopping by!

Teachers Pay Teachers: Principles of Design Worksheet Pack

So far this summer I have enjoyed a break from my normal teaching schedule, a trip to South Africa, Hilton Head Island, Smith Lake, and I’ve been getting extra snuggles from my little man Cooper. In addition to traveling and snuggling, I have also been working hard to get new items posted on Teachers Pay Teachers. Last year my August and September earnings from the website funded a trip to Europe for my husband and I. This year, and for the foreseeable future, I hope to save my earnings for a home renovation. It’s a big goal I have set for myself, but I am confident with a lot of hard work I can get there.

My last post, over two months ago {whoops} focused on one of my newest Teacher Pay Teacher products, a revamp of my hand drawn elements of art worksheets. Today, I finally got my final worksheet of my principles of design pack added to the website. Check it out here.

This pack includes eight worksheets. Each worksheet focuses on a different principle of design. I created worksheets for balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, repetition and pattern, rhythm, unity, and variety. On the front of each handout there is information on different ways you can incorporate that principle into your artwork.The back of each worksheet has an activity for the students to complete to test their understanding of the information on the front. I use these in my Introduction to Art classes, which are added to their art notebooks and checked for daily grades at the end of the semester. Now that I have two versions of the elements and principles worksheets, I plan to use one set in my Intro class and one set used as a reminder for an upper level course.

These sheets were created for grades 4th-12th grade. Some have more complex ideas, and may not be suitable for younger than 4th. I would encourage use of these in levels as high as AP art, when the elements and principles are one of the bases for grading the portfolios.

I loved making each of these. Each were inspired by a piece of my life or a simple occurrence at the time I was designing them. My emphasis worksheet is an obvious reflection of my love for chickens. My repetition and pattern worksheet was created on a very rainy day while I was vacationing at Smith Lake in Alabama, which inspired the cloud and water design.

If you haven’t checked out products on Teachers Pay Teachers yet, I strongly encourage it. There are some amazing, creative teachers out there and you are helping to support another person directly involved in education. It has also helped me become a better teacher because I find myself cleaning up my lesson plans and PowerPoints to make them better sellers, and better teaching tools in my classroom.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! I recently did a major design overhaul, I hope you enjoy the cleaner look. Help me spread the word about my Teachers Pay Teachers products, and in turn help me expand my house to fit my expanding family, by sharing this post with others. Thanks for stopping by!

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Art Lesson: Collaborative Relief

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At my previous school I always taught a lesson on the grid method by creating a collaborative grid with my students. Each student would get a section of the original image, and they had to enlarge and re-draw it. In order to accurately re-draw the image they had to pay attention to where lines and shapes intersected the outside edge of the image, which in turn taught them the basic concept of the grid method (read more about this here).

In the process of changing schools I also changed my teaching title, which meant a lot of new lesson planning was ahead of me. I was now exclusively a sculpture teacher, teaching 3D I and 3D II classes. Although I had taught sculpture in the past, and spent a lot of time in ceramics class in high school and college, I felt a lot of pressure to re-create assignments, and think outside of the box. After all I was moving to a private school with an established and impressive art department, I felt I had big shoes to fill in my new work environment.

Although it has been stressful at times trying to produce examples and create new projects, I have loved every minute of it. It truly is amazing how different a class can be when you actually have the budget to support it. I now had the ability to teach interesting, complex, and creative projects, without the fear of running out of supplies with no money left in my budget.

As excited as I was to have a new challenge in my life, I did miss some of my old projects, including my Intro to Art collaborative grid assignment. One day while reminiscing on the past, as I often do, it dawned on me that I could do a collaborative grid project in sculpture, by focusing on relief carving. I had my doubts that everything would come together during the project, but once all of the pieces were in place, I couldn’t believe how amazing it looked. I am so proud of my students and I hope another sculpture teacher can find an interesting way to implement this into their class.

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THE ASSIGNMENT: Collaborative Relief

OBJECTIVE: For students to learn the history and techniques of relief carving, and apply those techniques in a collaborative relief carving project.

SUPPLIES:

  • Lizella Clay
  • Rolling pin or slab roller
  • Ruler
  • Needle tool or knife
  • A variety of clay tools and textured items to carve and add texture
  • Low fire underglaze (I used blue, green, red, brown)
  • Low fire clear transparent glaze
  • Kiln
  • Wood panel
  • Black Paint
  • Heavy duty glue

STEPS:

1. I began this project by introducing my students to the artists, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, and the famous Florence Baptistry doors competition. I had the students vote on which “Sacrafice of Isaac” relief they liked better, and we continued to discuss the doors as well as the Gates of Paradise doors.

2. After the history lesson I introduced the assignment. I explained that I would randomly hand out a 1″x1″ section of a larger image, and they would have to recreate it as a relief sculpture on a 6″x6″ clay slab. We discussed carving techniques and looked at the variety of tools they could use to create different textures.

3. After the assignment was explained they got to work. Before they started the project I had taken an image of our Fine Arts building, divided it into a grid, and put a number and letter on the back of each square (1A, 1B, 1C, etc.). I made sure to make a few copies, the students tend to misplace their squares and it helps to have extras on hand. As soon as the students got their slab square cut they had to flip it over and carve the letter and number into the back of it.

4. After the students completed their squares I fired them and had the students glaze them. I knew every line and shape would not line up in the image, so my goal was to create a sense of unity through the glaze. I instructed the students to loosely paint underglaze onto their tile (I set up a few colors of blue, green, brown, and red) allow it to dry, then wipe it off with a wet sponge. This technique caused the underglaze to stick in the textured areas, and wipe off of the smooth area, giving it a loosely painted quality. Once the colors were added they painted a layer of clear glaze on top, and once again wiped it off. I loved the shiny vs. matte look this created.

5. Once the pieces were fired a final time I glued them to a piece of wood I cut to size and painted black. My plan is to eventually add a black frame and display it in the Fine Arts Building.

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My students were as impressed as I was with the final product, and it was a huge hit at our annual art show. I love how each piece is important to the whole, and how it truly came together in the end.

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Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you find useful information you can use in your classroom! Please comment if you have additional tips, ideas, or have done something similar in your class! Thanks for helping my spread the word about my blog by liking, tweeting, commenting, and subscribing! I couldn’t do it without you!

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