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!


Artteacher11 said...

What a great way to exercise the imagination and set your students free! I am going to use this with my high school Drawinh 2 kids who finish early on their current pen & ink drawing! Thanks for posting!

Mrs. C said...

I love these! Your students did great job of using their "artist's eye" to see the pictures in their ink designs! Very cool project! :)

~nick~ said...

I love this lesson! It looked like so much fun when I was in the class watching! Great job!

one little deer said...

Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone! I'm glad that you like this lesson and the student's work. I agree that they were able to use their imaginations to problem solve and that is always a good thing!