The end of this semester has proved to be quite busy. We are currently working on our birchbark boxes and will hopefully be finished by the end of this week. I will be moving schools for the second semester and that means an entirely new group of students. It also means that I am working on planning the curriculum for this second semester.
As an artist who likes to work in a variety of mediums, I am definitely one who likes to try new things and experiment with different lesson plans. A few of the projects we did last semester (pop bottle drawings and zentangle pyramids) will be repeated but I will be teaching many new projects this second semester. One project I have been dying to have students try is a large-scale collaborative grid drawing. I think I will be doing this project instead of the Chihuly sculptures with this group of students.
I took inspiration for the grid drawing lesson from Chuck Close's gridded portraits. This lesson is still in the works, but I think it will be a great lesson on drawing what we SEE, rather than what we think we see. This is something I know a lot of 6th grade students struggle with and breaking it down into 5"x5" square chunks should ease frustration. The 7th & 8th graders do their own personal grid drawings and this should be a nice precursor for building up background knowledge of grid drawing.
I chose six artists and their portraits for this lesson. I copied and pasted their images into a word document and overlayed a 7"x9" grid over each image. I applied the artistic filter "pencil sketch" over each image to show contour lines more effectively.
The hardest part was narrowing my choices down to six artists. These may not have been your own choices, but my criteria for selecting artists was based on the lessons I will be teaching throughout the semester and I wanted to represent different cultures and show a balance of both men and women artists.
I plan on printing each gridded artist image twice. I will use my paper cutter to cut out each small 1"x1" square from the image. I will then label the back of each square with a number so we can keep track of which image goes where. Then I will give students a handout for the project with a 5"x5" square box to draw in. Each student gets a small 1"x1" square and will be asked to transfer the 1" box into the 5" box on the handout. I plan on showing students examples of what we are doing, but not what our final image will be. I like a little mystery! :) Once students have their drawing in pencil finished, I'll have them color with markers or colored pencils. I will be testing this project out myself to see how it works before teaching it. The worst case scenario is that it doesn't turn out to look like a portrait.
Each final work will be a combination of two art classes (approx. 30 students in each class). The final work will be 35"x45" in size with a total of 63 5"x5" squares in each work.
Time required: 2 (50 min.) class periods
You can see the document I created with the six artist images below. I will keep you posted about how this project works out!
I am a 6th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for 4 years. I truly enjoy working with students on a daily basis. I also enjoy teaching real-world skills such as problem solving, using technology, and the power of teamwork and collaboration. My joy is sharing my passion for art with others!
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