Monday, May 27, 2013

Emoji Design: Show us how you really feel!

Different colors and facial features make each group of faces so ...
Unique and expressive!

Although your average emoji  is adorable and yellow and smiley, we quickly figured out that there were numerous variations to discover.  My students did an awesome job of showing a range of expressions in their page of emoji faces!
For this assignment my 8th grade Visual Art students designed and painted a page of six or more emoji faces. If you have a phone with texting capabilities then I bet you have seen these yellow smiley face icons before.  All of my students were interested and excited at the prospect of designing a range of different emojis. We discussed the way that facial features can give the viewer a lot of information about how a character is feeling. I encouraged each student to draw faces that expressed different moods or character traits.
We used rolls of masking tape as tracers so no one got hung up on taking too much time to make the circles. Features were drawn in pencil, outlined with sharpie and painted with watercolor paints.  Of course there were demonstrations and discussions about line quality when outlining and watercolour techniques. We also experimented with creating a range of light and dark values and using contrasting colors. I think you will enjoy our work so check it out!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Capturing Candid Moments!

These friends are ready to party!  They exude style with each girl wearing cool accessories and a youthful hairstyle.  Most importantly, student artist Morgan A. has created a collage group portrait that feels as though we are looking at a specific moment in time; a moment that is candid and authentic among friends.
For some reason I picture these girls as art students in new York City.  They just have a sense of coolness and a funky style all their own.  Katerina H. is a talented student artist with awesome design skills as you can see here!
When it comes to creativity none of my students can top Tamar G! Inventive and unusual are two of the words that describe her collage of this candid moment.  The variety of sizes, colors, textures and characters is amazing!
Easy there, buddy!  There was no rule that said monsters couldn't be used in this assignment, and Ben T. from Period Five took advantage of this option.  The little guy in the middle doesn't know what to make of this weird moment!
Hee hee!  What's so funny?  I'd like to know, but student artist Chelsea L. isn't letting us in on her secret.  Great use of hands to help add expression and personality to these figures, don't you agree?
Hey friends!  I bet this a group of the " popular kids" in school.  I think they look like they are ready for some fun or something funny has already happened!  Cailyn from Period One is always sure to add many details to add personality to her work and I appreciate her extra effort on every assignment!
Whoa!  What is this guy doing?  I don't think I'd be up for a hug from him!  In this candid moment it looks like these girls aren't impressed with his affectionate ( or creepy) gesture either! Good work, Alissa!
Oh how I love your work, Hannah B. from Period One! Here she shows us her amazing work that has original and interesting characters as well as an excellent use of contrasting colors.  Top notch in my book!
I really like how Sean R. from Period Four shows his figures in different positions.  We have a profile view, a frontal view and a three-quarter view.  Nice way to add variety and create interactions between the figures!
Oh my, what do we have here?  I'm not so sure about the gender of all of these folks, but they seem to be enjoying each other's company.  The older lady to the left seems to be all dressed up for this event even sporting red gloves!
In this collage, student artist Eddie C. uses a vertical composition so he could fit one figure with his arms raised over his head.  I especially like the quirky dog-faced friend who is chillin' with these cool guys.
I Love the action in this candid image of a group of friends! The choice of colors adds contrast and clarity to the scene.
Breanna B. used overlapping and put her figures in different positions to add interest.  Well done!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More miniatures...

Thought I would post another batch of miniature masterworks. There were too many excellent examples of student work to not post some more. Also, as you may have noticed, I have not been posting much lately. I have had some computer issues that are now resolved, so hopefully I will be able to catch up on posting several new lessons that were completed during third quarter. I can hardly believe that 4th quarter will begin on Monday! Thanks for your patience and your continued support.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Miraculous Miniature Masterworks!

Finished miniatures were stored in small box lids . The miniature artwork ranged from modern art to multicultural jewelry.
My example in my hand shows the scale of the assignment. Work was drawn on small paper, then colored , cut out and pressed into the plastic cap.
This lesson was so much fun! The students were challenged to reproduce a famous artwork by scaling it down to a size that would fit inside a two inch plastic cap. We worked on a small white paper, tracing the perimeter of the cap to make a tiny circle.  I encouraged them to be as accurate as possible and they were required to draw in pencil first, then add details and the correct colors with colored pencils. We worked from small reproductions that I had saved and cut from old poster catalogues.  The kids had an easier time reducing the work to an even smaller and rounder format because of this. To amp up their interest even more, I borrowed plastic magnifying glasses from the science lab.  It was fun to see everyone looking at the original images and locating details and textures that were difficult to see without magnification! When the work was complete, we cut the
circular drawings out, taking slightly more off the edge to allow the image to fit snugly inside the
cap. We didn't even need to use glue. Some students went around the outside edge of the cap and 
added a line of colored sharpie marker. We also used the sharpie to write our names on the back of the caps. 
Students referred to small artwork examples cut from old poster  catalogues

Beautiful textures and tiny details were discovered while looking through  magnifying lenses!

   The students really enjoyed this activity and I liked watching them use their observational skills to match colors and compare proportions. I hope you enjoy viewing our work. Please leave a comment because I would love to hear what you think!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Look "Whoo, Who'" Is Learning About Contrast!

We learned about pattern and contrast!
Jessica shows us her cute owl and a nice range of patterns in lights, mediums and darks.
Eddie C. made a masculine owl with a mask-like face and a protective stance.  

Alec B. used large areas of black to help create contrast with the lighter patterns in the face and legs.
Morgan created a good variety of patterns, including the background!

For this assignment, I was looking for a theme that would interest my students while not being too difficult to draw.  I didn't want them to get hung up on the drawing because the goal of the lesson was to teach them about creating contrast in a black and white image.  I decided that "owls" would work well, and appeal to male and female students. I explained how their owl character could be made more aggressive, cute, comical etc. depending on the size and placement of the features and overall posture of the body. I provided the kids with handouts and library books that showcased a range of owls from the most simple symbols to more scientifically accurate renderings.
Ben's owl looks mechanical and has screw shapes for eyes!
Hannah B. made a cute more friendly owl due to it's large eyes and chubby appearance!

   After designing and drawing an owl, I provided students with a planning worksheet where they began to create different repeating line designs.  Each one inch box on the worksheet contained a unique pattern designed by that student.  I explained how we could change the lightness or darkness of a pattern just by using the black Sharpie marker to fill in areas.  I also provided examples of how to use the marker to make lines close together, which made the pattern look darker.  Students quickly learned that a black marker could make a design that appeared lighter if more of the white paper was left uncolored.  Problem-solving how these patterns could be placed into their owl would become the students' key challenge in this lesson. You can see just a few of the owls from these 8th graders here, and I think they did a great job using patterns and creating contrast. Let us know your thoughts!  We'd love to hear from you!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fun with Blown Ink Drawings!

A beautiful tropical bird sitting in foliage was created from ink blown through a straw.  Color was added with colored pencils. This image was created by Mary M. from my Period 6 8th grade Visual Art class.
See how the ink design was used to form the
shape of this fire-breathing man?
Remember the joy of trying new art materials before anyone told you how to use them? You just dove right in and started experimenting.  There is a lot to be said for not over-thinking and just doing when it comes to making art. Kids think it's great fun to use materials in a way that produces random, unexpected results! Sometimes I wonder if my students just need a break from using materials "correctly" to achieve a specific result, or from practicing a particular technique.  For these reasons I thought it would be beneficial to experiment with creating art from the random splashes and blobs made by blowing india ink through a drinking straw!

Several sheets of paper have been covered with ink blown through a straw.  Students will begin to brainstorm ideas for what each of these ink splotches can be turned into....Perhaps an animal? A person? May be an object or a landscape? 
For this lesson you only need a few supplies and the process is simple.  Get out small disposable paint cups and fill them only 1/4 full with black india ink. Give each pair of students two drinking straws, one of the ink cups and a dropper to suck up the ink.  I had old droppers left from previous years when I had purchased small containers of india ink, like those used for calligraphy. Suck up a small amount of ink and randomly let it drop anywhere in the white drawing paper.  Do only a few drops or else it gets absorbed before you have time to blow it around with the straw. Remind students to take big breaths and shift the paper and the straw from side to side to vary the effects produced by the ink.  It is possible to get a variety of line widths and directions, but each student will find this out through experimentation.  Remember to write one' s name on all sheets at this stage, because it is very easy to get confused with who made what.  The next class, introduce the idea of turning these random ink designs into something with a shape.  Turn the images upside down and rotate the paper because students tend to give up too quickly if they do not initially see something in their image.  Use a pencil to lightly add lines that connect small ink blobs to form solid shapes.  Add sharpie marker lines once you are sure that you like what you have drawn.  The sharpie lines should blend in with the line style of the ink lines.  The whole drawing should have the appearance of being connected and uncontrived.
Use the colored pencils to enhance certain lines or to fill in entire shapes to further help the viewer to recognize the subject matter.  Sometimes only a small amount of color is necessary, while other drawings look better with more.

Cute orange fox.  I especially like the expression of the face, don't you?
Frightening wolf above and a wonderful medley of natural elements below.

The students were challenged by this activity and it really forced them to consider the possibilities for making art.  The resulting images were really great fun to see and I especially enjoyed seeing the variety of characters that emerged from these random blobs and splotches of blown ink. What do you think of this lesson?

This lovely lady strolls about with a flower and a parasol.
Oh My!  No explanation needed for this one, but the dinosaur looks more cute than ferocious to me!

Silly floppy ear rabbit resting in the grass. Thanks for viewing this lesson!