A PAEA Presentation and Some Quick Thinking

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to present on DrawFIT's Drawing Workouts at the PAEA conference in Harrisburg. It was thrilling to share what I have been observing, wondering, and believing about drawing since I began teaching art to students from K-12. Thank you to those who came to workout with me!  I've attached my presentation :)

PAEA DrawFIT Presentation

Back to the classroom today, and was looking forward having my First and Second graders draw cave animals into clay. I knew they would LOVE it and when the time came for them to walk through the room I waited... and waited.. and waited! Where were my lovely little ones? 5 minutes went by, then 10 and now I'm panicking because I needed them for the entire 40 minutes to get through procedures and questions and art making! I eventually had to go retrieve them, realizing they were with a sub all day... and they were off the wall! There would be no clay today, I thought! So, I quickly rethought my remainder 20 minutes with them and grabbed a book off the shelf.

I chose The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan. 

I knew they came to make art and not to listen to a story, so I gave them all a piece of paper and some colored pencils. We talked a bit about the difference between an author and an illustrator. I told them they would all take on the role of an illustrator. As I read, they would draw the pictures they saw in their mind instead of looking at the pictures in the book (which are quite lovely, and will be revealed after the whole story is told). 

We got started and it was a hit! What was suppose to be a day full of clay ended up as a very successful drawing workout! All students eagerly began drawing after I read a few pages. They learned what "dreary" meant and what a "meadow" was. They remembered a weaving we did last year and began drawing a woven blanket. I was overwhelmed with the detail and excitement they had as they drew the pictures they saw in their mind and how well they could tell back the story by looking at their drawings! Some students even set up their page with boxes to draw their first storyboards without even knowing it! Bravo 1st and 2nd graders!

Two pencils are better than one

glass artist, dale chihuly

I'm always seeking out new ways to interrupt the way students think about and approach drawing. Whenever I can level the playing field and make us all feel uncomfortable and silly seem to be the days we have the most fun in the art room! 

I believe in warming up before doing any extended drawing project. So, when students arrive I like to have a mini warmup to raise their confidence and prepare their hands and minds for drawing. This warmup was a crowd pleaser for all!

30 X 22"

I often observe students (especially the younger ones) taking more than one colored pencil to create a multi-colored look in their drawings. The glass artist Dale Chihuly would often used handfuls of colored pencils to create his drawings prior to creating the glass forms. 

So, today I gave each student TWO well-sharpened pencils. We used a plaster head of David as our observational object. Before we got started each student practiced holding the pencils together so each pencil point made a mark at the same time.  Some students chose to tape theirs together. After practicing on some scrap paper students soon became confident and started on their own drawing. I noticed they drew much more slowly and had to really focus on the object they were drawing. YES! There were some grumbles and start overs but overall students had great fun challenging themselves with a new drawing workout that they knew everyone in the class was a novice at! 

This activity inspired Drawing Workout #2