Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Endangered Species

This lesson was inspired by my fellow art teacher last year. I can't remember the web site from which he printed the animal photos (if I find it I'll post the link), but students chose an endangered animal to draw, working from the photos (simple lines, not a lot of detail...we talked a lot about simplifying).

After working out composition, students drew their chosen animal on a sheet of 12x18 colored construction paper. They then traced their lines in glue. The clear, dry glue allowed the construction paper color to show through as the line color. Students then used chalk pastels to add color to their drawing.

Love messy hands!
The big ideas of this project were color and composition. Simplifying the lines of the drawings was an excellent exercise for students, as well, since young artists often get "blocked" when faced with too much detail (where to begin??). So we broke the background information down into basic shapes and spaces. Also, too much detail and the glue lines run together creating puddles, so simplifying was of practical importance, as well. Another benefit was that simplification often led to abstraction, which brought the animal into greater focus.

Here are a few of the finished drawings:

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