Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
Happy New School Year! We hope you had a fantastic summer. This week is the first official week of school in the district we teach in. Many of you have already gone back to school. Here are three simple art ideas to get the year started off right in your art space.
2. Using drawing videos can be a fun and simple way to assess art students drawing ability. Here's one of our videos in which we use numbers and letters to create simple pictures.
In honor of the first weeks of school, we are hosting a sale from 8/28-8/31/2017. We have many art resources, lessons and activities that will enhance your creative curriculum. Simply enter the code BTSS2017 at checkout to receive a 10% discount on your entire order. Also share which art activities you start the year off with by commenting below.
We hope you're enjoying a fun and relaxing summer. Summer is a great time to travel. One of my favorite memories from childhood was when we would take the train to visit our family in Chicago. The train ride was always so fun and exciting. Meanwhile, one of our favorite children's books is Freight Train by celebrated author and artist, Donald Crews. Take a quick look at the simple Train Collage art lesson we created inspired by this colorfully illustrated book..
This art lesson is a great way to reinforce elements of design such as shape, color and texture for young artists in grades K-2. There are also cross-curricular connections to ELA, Math, Science and Careers. Finally, it is an art lesson that will help develop drawing, cutting, gluing and printmaking skills.
1. Cut the scraps of construction paper into different shapes and glue them to the bottom of the paper.
2. Use the crayons to add details such as wheels to each cart, a train track, gravel, etc.
3. Cut the sponge into a cloud shape (Only adults should cut the sponge). Stamp the sponge on the ink pad and then onto the collage to create the steam.
What is your favorite way to travel? Share with us by commenting below.
One of the of the fun things about teaching art in the last 15 years is learning about all of the great ways to use technology in the art room. I really enjoyed looking for innovative ways to use technology in my art room. Here's a quick list of my top three favorite tech tools. (Click on each title to learn more about the tech tool.)
1. Document Camera
Before 2009, I had never heard of or used a document camera. It is an amazing multi-media tool that connects to a computer and/or LCD projector.
I loved using a Smartboard in my art room because it is interactive. Click here to find fun art activities to use with your Smartboard.
There are so many cool apps that students can use on an iPad in the art room. Click here to learn about some great drawing apps that students can use on the iPad.
What are some of the great tech tools that you use in your art room or studio?
One of the most successful portrait lessons that I've taught on the secondary level uses the grid technique. Using the grid technique to teach drawing can really be effective in building students confidence in the art room. For this lesson, the students used magazine ads to create the drawings; they also used oil pastels to color the portraits. (Because it takes a good amount of time and focus to complete this project, this lesson really helps in managing an art class.)
This particular grid portrait is inspired by the work of Chuck Close. Chuck Close is a famous artist who is known for his beautiful portraits and inspiring story. To learn more about the grid technique and Chuck Close, click on the links below.
In high school, many students take art as an elective and do not realize the significance and necessity of art in the "real world". In the past I have been asked by art students, "How can I use what I learn in art to make money or get a job?" We did this video two years ago to briefly explain how one can use the skill of drawing to establish a successful art career in the real world.
This week we wanted to share a creative bulletin board idea using one of our art resources. Using the 4 Basic Pencil Shading Techniques poster, you can create an outstanding display in 5 easy steps:
1. Choose a bright background paper to cause the resource to standout.
2. Use a border that will compliment the resource. We created the one used in the picture above.
3. Create a fun sign to place at the top.
4. Select interesting examples of pencil drawings using various shading techniques.
5. Mount each sheet on black construction paper.
Send us examples of how you use this poster in your classroom and we'll post them on our website.
Another great idea for developing an outstanding extra-curricular program, is to provide a workshop for art students from another school to visit and work with the art students on a project at your school.We created an animation workshop to give some of the middle school art students in our district an opportunity to preview the animation class that our school provided. It also allowed the middle school art students to interact with high school art students in a positive environment.
First, we contacted the middle school art teacher to see if she would be interested in bringing her students to this kind of workshop. After she eagerly said "Yes!", we set up a date and time for her to bring over 2-3 of her art classes.
Each group rotated through three different spaces that were set up with animation related activities. In one classroom the middle students were introduced to Macromedia Director by the high school students. Each middle school student partnered with a high school student. The second activity was in the school art gallery. In the gallery, we set up a display of character illustrations, storyboards and videos of flipbooks created by high school art students. The middle school students created an original character and simple storyboard in the art gallery. In the last classroom space, the visiting students created a simple flipbook. Each activity lasted one hour and the students had a great time. All of the students got along well and the middle school art teacher enjoyed the "field trip" experience that we provided for her students.
One of the best ways to create an amazing art program at your school is to facilitate and offer an extra-curricular art program. Throughout my years in the classroom, I created a variety of extra-curricular programs for students who expressed a strong interest in visual art. The next several posts will briefly highlight some of these programs and hopefully inspire you to create one for the students at your school.
Earlier in my teaching career, I was fortunate to teach at a high school that had an arts academy. I loved working with the students and staff at that school. While the school did not offer a fashion class in the curriculum, one of the senior students asked me to work with her in developing a fashion illustration portfolio for college. Having studied fashion illustration and some basic sewing experience, I enjoyed working with her; this also inspired me to create and offer an after school fashion club.
I began by placing fliers aroung the school to see if any other students might be interested in joining the fashion club. While the first meeting had a large turnout, only 10 students were able to consisitently commit to the club. This was perfect because, it allowed me to be able to work with each student individually.
The club was offered once a week for an hour after school.The students were required to maintain at least an overall g.p.a. of 2.5 in their classes, maintain good behavior, and attend a majority of the meetings. We had so much fun learning about basic fashion terms, major designers, and styles.
The students learned how to create original fashion illustrations and picked names for their design concepts.
It was so exciting watching the students bring their designs to life by creating the actual garments they illustrated. After taking them to a local fabric store and teaching them about choosing the right fabrics for their ideas, each student created three outfits. They also learned how to read and alter a basic sewing pattern.
The program culminated with a student produced fashion show in the spring. The students advertised, decorated the space and invited family, staff members and friends to attend the show. We were fortunate to have an actual gallery space in that school and used it to display the student's fashion illustrations. The students also supplied hors d'oeurves for the guests. The visual art department received accolades from the staff, administration and community. The most rewarding part for me though, was seeing, the pride and joy on the students faces.
Whenever I have the opportunity to teach a basic high school drawing class, I like to find new methods for teaching traditional drawing lessons /techniques . For this particular lesson, I set up a still life composed of objects that are black and white and lit them with a studio lamp to provide a variety of tones and shadows. The students began this lesson begins by dividing the paper into 4-5 parts. Next, they focused on filling each part with a specific object from the still life. They were encouraged to add more objects and/or zoom in on certain parts of the still life. Finally, the objects were shaded. It took about (2) 45 minute class periods for the students to finish the project. The finished products were more unique than traditional still life drawings and the students enjoyed completing them.
1. 18"x24" Gray Drawing Paper
2. Black Charcoal Pencil (HB)
3. White Charcoal Pencil
4. Kneaded Eraser
2. Still Life
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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