Friday, November 22, 2013

Celebrity Half Challenge

A huge emphasis in our Art One curriculum is learning about observation and value in drawing. To be totally fair, I drew a lot in high school, but didn't really "get it" until college. As a second year high school teacher, I am still trying to find that balance of what is art one really about and how can my students be successful?

Term Two started with some observational drawing, value scales and vocabulary. We discussed cast shadow, full light area, half tone and reflected light, taking notes and practicing gradations. I did the same along with the students, under a document camera that I am borrowing from the Drama department, which was projected in the front of the room. oooh ahhh technology. But it caught the students' attention! We then drew pumpkins like the ones above.

Next we broke things down into simple, geometric shapes. Under spot lights on tripods, students observed cast shadow, full light and reflected light on spheres, cones and cubes. This part was totally boring to them. I knew it and tried to emphasize that everything they will draw from here on out can be simplified to these shapes... and that this was so important that I am counting it as a "project" grade.

I kind of just threw together the next assignment as a filler between observation and their own value drawing, but I am so, sooo glad I did. Inspired by this pin, I typed up very specific directions, with a vague rubric, as I am counting this as a mini project grade as well.

Students were asked that as they finish their observational shape drawings and value scales, to go into our small (six) computer lab and find a picture of a celebrity.

After cutting the picture in half and pasting one side to a new paper, they were asked to observe the value and proportions from the discarded half or the pasted side, in order to recreate the other half.

I am overjoyed for these kids.
Many were taking pictures of their work with their cellphones before turning it in. One even posted it to Instragram and another told me he was trying to prove to his mom what he had accomplished in art class.
From a teacher stand point, this was a fabulous exercise. Students didn't want to "mess up" because they wanted their celebrity to look as real as possible. They had to draw upon everything I have taught them about observation and measuring, as well as value, and making comparisons between lights and darks. The face can even be broken down into spheres, which they had already drawn. As students were working, they were actively seeking feedback from me and their peers, taking photos and making considerations about how to improve. What more could you ask for!?
Again, I am so very proud. From here, students have been given the task to create a drawing that uses value, communicates an idea and defines the space. Many are overwhelmed by the openness, but we spent a couple of days in the library looking for images and inspiration, so our creativity gears are turning. Look for value drawing final images sometime in December or January!

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