Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Studio Art: Unit 2 Begins...2-D Media

My first unit lasted about as long as I had hoped it would, and on Friday we began our second unit.  Our second unit is all about 2-D media...drawing, painting and printmaking.  I am also combining art criticism with this unit.  The textbook I am using has art criticism as its own unit, but there is no way I'm going to spend an entire week or two just on art criticism...that's something we can work on over the school year to perfect, a little at a time.  The students have also been antsy to get started on a "real" art project.

The cover of my unit 2 note packet...stay tuned to the SmARTteacher website...my unit is posted there now!

On Friday, I introduced/reviewed value and the four common shading techniques with the students: hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and blending.  They had to practice in their notes and then for their second sketchbook assignment, I asked them to set up a 3-object still life at home, shine a light on it, and draw it using value.
This is the generic sketchbook assignment rubric I have created for the weekly sketch assignments.  Each student has now seen this and will have their Friday sketch assignments graded according to this rubric every Monday.  So far, I think I'm happy with it...but we'll see if I feel like I need to make any changes to it.

On Monday, we started off the unit by discussing the different drawing media that can be used (oil pastels, pencil, chalk, etc.) and we spoke briefly about art styles.  Again, this is something we will work on throughout the school year, but the projects we do for this unit are all going to fall under the realm of pop art, so I want students to have a basic knowledge of what pop art is compared to the other styles of art.
In the back of my packet, I put colored copies of these paintings.  We cut them out, and then one at a time, we talked about which style they thought these fell under.  Quite a few students new some of the more popular artworks here and knew the styles (although when I had them in 6th grade, they had to do a group research project on an artist...I found it quite wonderful that a lot of them retained the information!).

 Now, as I graded those sketch assignments on Monday, I realized that the students (a) didn't have a good idea of what I meant by set up a still life and (b) didn't know how to properly utilize value with observation skills.  Thus the reason why it's important to give sketch assignments as homework (a good way to assess prior knowledge!).  I threw out my original plans for the next few days and pulled out the mannequins I bought for the elementary room with past SmARTteacher winnings.  I set them up in the middle of the tables, let the students arrange them, turned the lights off and put a spot light on the figures.  I gave a brief demonstration of how they should quickly do a contour drawing of the figures and then demonstrated the proper way to observe value.
The students REALLY enjoyed doing this and asked if we could work on it again tomorrow...heck yes!

I found that they did okay observing the shadows and high lights, but they had a tendency to just give a dark and light value.  I went around to each student and asked if I could show them on their drawing how I wanted them to exaggerate what they saw and make more of a range of values, from black to white and everything in between.  Once they saw how much their drawings started to pop, they were really excited!

Tomorrow, I am going to give each student a large piece of drawing paper and an ebony pencil.  I envision having them do multiple drawings of the figures on one sheet of paper...a super huge close up of a figure that goes from top of the page to bottom...smaller figures that go off the page, etc.  Just a montage of mannequins!

Once we move on from practicing the value (probably by Thursday or Friday this week), students will have to bring in a wrapped food item, such as a candy bar, and do a large, up-close black and white drawing of it.
As we move onto the painting aspect, students will learn about how paint is made and we will then use our candy bars and acrylic paint to do a pop art painting...I'm thinking more in the style of Claes Oldenburg.  I want them to incorporate some acrylic mediums that I bought to give their paintings texture.  This project will be a way for students to utilize the elements and principles to create an interesting composition.

For the final 2-D project, printmaking, students will do some reduction printing ala Andy Warhol.   I did this with my printmaking class when I did my student teaching, and I have my example hanging on a bulletin board in the high school art room that students were admiring and mentioned they wanted to do (I hung up some of my artwork from the past, both high school and college, so that students could see what I am capable of).  So, I'll have students bring in a popular object to turn into a multi-colored print.

This unit will also introduce art criticism to the students.  That was originally what I was going to start with, but I was tired of doing the note thing, and so were the students.  I prefer getting the boring stuff out of the way in the beginning, but I need to remember that the students don't think that way!


  1. What happened with your graffiti unit? Did I miss the post or did you switch gears? Did you get the magazine?

    1. Ah, yes! I did get the magazine! I feel so stupid now because I thought I e-mailed a thanks, but I guess I didn't! :( They really aren't making that pregnancy brain thing up! The graffiti unit is for my 7th graders, whom I see every other day. We started off with having a debate/discussion about why graffiti is considered art and/or vandalism and learned about four graffiti artists before really diving in. The last class we discussed the elements of art and how they apply to our tag designs, and started to practice graffiti lettering (bubble letters, block letters, and wildstyle). Their homework assignment this weekend is to come up with a final design for their tag in black and white. Then we'll discuss adding color and they'll make a tag out of marker to hang on a fake brick wall (which is totally a steal from an art teacher post on the Art Teacher Facebook page!).

  2. No problem! Just making sure it got to you! The lesson sounds interesting - I look forward to seeing what your kiddos do.