Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Character Stacks inspired by Totem Poles

The crayon coloring needed to be hard enough to deposit a thick layer of wax.  Watered down tempera paint was applied right over the drawing to create these wonderful crayon resist pictures!
 Every October I hear, " Can we do a Halloween lesson?" and my usual answer is "probably not". Instead of fighting the urge, this year I compromised and decided to combine a cultural theme with halloween imagery that my students were familiar with and motivated by. The results are spooky, highly detailed and fun to look at! 
I made several handouts with a variety of photographs of Native American totem poles, most of which are located in British Columbia.  We also read about the process of carving a totem pole as well as the meanings and traditions associated with the display of the poles.  I was primarily concerned with the overall design that was evident:  Students would be asked to make a stack of characters that had visual impact, strong connections between each part and a variety of details.                                                             .

These halloween stacks are twenty-four inches tall and nine inches wide.  We drew a rough draft first, made revisions and went on to final drafts on white paper.  Students drew each part with a regular pencil and outlined with a black sharpie marker.  I asked them to use many types of crayons including metallic glitter crayons and construction paper crayons.  They needed to color heavily because we would be applying diluted purple tempera paint over the entire picture.  This process is called crayon resist.  The purple paint toned down the colors of the crayons just enough to add to that spooky effect that we were going for! 

Who says that skulls can only be white?  This lime green skull looks amazing!
Coloring heavily with the crayons paid off when it came time to see how the paint beaded off the picture as the wax resisted it!
Nicole was very motivated to use characters from the movie "The Nigthmare Before Christmas".  Don't you think she did a great job?
Awesome colors and a variety of interesting details are sure to keep the viewer's attention!

Avery's Halloween stack is a real balancing act!  I especially love the way he perched the bats on frankenstein's "bolts"! 
If you enjoyed viewing these images we would love to hear your feedback!

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