Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One Image Three Ways

This is a project I have done with my grade fives but it can be adapted to others.

It involves using a variety of media.  Students will be able to see how the same image can be affected by different media.

Students begin by drawing a chosen image on a sheet of cartridge paper (6" by 8") and include a border.  They usually just use a ruler width for the border.

Next, using pencil crayons or felts, the image and border are coloured.  Try to avoid black in the image as this will not show up in the second project.

This student chose a multicoloured effect for the
frame or border.

Try to encourage students not to include fine details as this could affect the success of the other projects.

100_1429                                                      Second Project

The next project involves drawing the same image on black paper, again the same size as before.  

Students used a pencil to draw with, it could still be seen but did not stand out if it wasn't covered in the end. 

This time students created a mosaic or stained glass effect by using cuttings from magazines.

Once the colours are found, cut the page into random shapes.

Complete the image with the cut papers.  Too much detail could create a problem.

Stress the importance of leaving an edge of black all around the cut paper.  Remind them that this is the grout or leading around the piece.

Glue stick or liquid school glue was used to attach the pieces.

The gloss from the magazines adds to the effect.

                                                       Third Project

The final project has the students working with black and white patterns. 

Same image once again but get them to experiment with as many different patterns as possible.

This time Sharpies were the tool, but black markers, pencil crayons or even pen and ink could be used.

Encourage students to think about contrasts when adding patterns and the use of light and dark.

This time this student decided to go for a unified look to the border.

Finally, all three images are mounted on one sheet of construction paper.



Here are all three images together.


      Two more examples.   


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Animals That Pop

I attended a session at convention by a teacher presenter named Andrea Daly who had many wonderful ideas.

She suggested putting an animal into a "natural" setting but to use unusual colours for the creatures. 

When I returned to school, I tried it with my students.

The successful results are below.

Liquid school paint was used once the pictures were drawn with the animals as the main focus.

Students completed the backgrounds first then coloured their animals.

The unexpected colours make the paintings pop.

The two below weren't quite finished but you can see where the artists were going with them.




I think they look great!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Self Portrait Glasses

Recently I was given a stack of paper 3D glasses and decided to have my students make wearable art.

Bristol board was used to to create objects that showed their interests.  It seemed that many were into sports this year.  Pencil crayons and markers were used for colour.

Students had to figure out how to balance everything on the glasses, make it appealing and most of all, make it wearable.  Noses sometimes presented a challenge. 

Everything was glued in place.

The glasses base also had to be covered before the images were added.  An additional layer of bristol board was added for strength.  The original glasses were used as a pattern (lenses removed) then glued to the bristol board.

Although this was a self portrait project, any theme could be used for the glasses.

The glasses would also work as a base to create a mask.

This project is suitable for multiple grades.

The original shape of the 3D glasses can be seen in the image below.

Everyone was able to wear their finished glasses.

Monday, 23 July 2012

100 (blanks) and a (blank)

Looking for a project that can be completed at once or over time?  This one could work.  It is suitable for a variety of grades but you might want to reduce the numbers for the lower ones.

First students pick a theme. Possible themes include 100 Animals and a Chair, 100 Vehicles and a Comb, or 100 Necklaces and a Bottle.  The idea is to have the single item completely different from the 100 objects.

I have them try drawing about 20 quick sketches to see if they are capable of coming up with 100 images.  If they can't do at least 20, they won't succeed so I encourage them to find another theme.

Using cartridge paper (12" by 18") and a pencil, students randomly draw their chosen items.  Try to discourage them from drawing in rows, they usually will end up with unused space.  I try to get them to draw from side to side and top to bottom for balance.

Some chose to begin with pencil crayons and/or markers.  Vary the size, shape, direction, colour, and pattern.

Once all 100 images are completed, the individual object is added.  It is best to place it away from the center as that is where people tend to look first.  The object is to be fully drawn and coloured.  It should not be partially hidden.

Mount the finished work and include the title. 

This project attracts a lot of attention as students get up close and search to find the individual object.

100 balls and a mouse

100 Balls and a Mouse

100 items of clothing and a ball

100 Tops and a Ball

Escher Inspired Cubes

Here's another project that was inspired by Escher.  This time we focused on his metamorphosis shapes.

Students began by tracing a pattern for the box onto cartridge paper.  I used bristol board for the patterns and they have lasted for years.  The pattern is T-shaped and flaps were added to make assembly easy.

Each side of the cube has a different pattern.  Students had to work out how to merge each side so that they flowed.

Colours were limited to black and white for strong contrast.  Markers were used.

Students could either cut the shape out before they started or at the end of the project.  Most waited until all the sides were nearly completed then cut it out so they could accurately match where the sides joined.

Assembly consisted of sharply creasing the folds then adding glue to the flaps and attaching the sides. 

We chose to hang the cubes, so, a paper clip with a loop of crochet thread was inserted before all the sides were closed.

This could just as easily be a stand alone project or stack all the cubes together.

Other students liked to spin the finished cubes to watch the patterns change.



3D name sculptures are also hanging from the ceiling.

The cubes were created by grade 7 and 8 students.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

2D to 3D Name Sculptures

This mixed media project attracts a lot of attention from other students as they try to discover the name in the sculpture.

3D NameStudents begin with a sheet of bristol board.  (I cut the sheets in half before handing them out.)  Using their first or last name, they outline the letters on the board.  It doesn't matter where the letters are placed as they will later be cut apart.  Make sure that the letters touch at some point to each other.  Encourage a variety of shapes and sizes.

While they are doing this we talk about positive (the letters) and negative (shapes between) space.  Check their work to make sure when they cut the letters out that they do not have one large piece remaining.

Next students colour the letters and include patterns.

Then the negative spaces are coloured.  Positive and negative spaces are coloured with pencil crayons and/or markers.

Once the front is completely finished, the work is turned over.

Students now paint the back of the bristol board with a variety of colours and patterns.  Let dry.  The back is painted because it will be seen in the final project.

Letters are cut out next and all the negative shapes are also saved.

3D NameNow comes the challenge. 

Students use all the pieces to assemble their sculptures.  Shapes are bent, inserted, layered and twisted together to create an interesting form.  Sculptures are constantly turned to make sure they are balanced.  You have to watch for students that turn it into a ball, have them open up some of the pieces and bend them in other directions to avoid this.

Glue was used to attach the pieces which were held in place with paper clips until dry.  Staples can also be used.

Once completed, a loop of string was attached and the sculptures were hung in the room.

Although I've done this with my older students, it could be easily adapted to other grades.

3D Name

We end with a discussion about how the original positive and negative shapes now become the positive shape of the sculpture and the spaces around and inside become the negative.

3 D Name

This project can also be completed as a free-standing sculpture if you don't want it to hang.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Inspired by Warhol

Earlier this year, (don't be fooled by the incorrect date stamp on the photos) students checked out the work of Andy Warhol and in particular his repeated images of Marilyn Monroe.

Their own work began as a 6" (15cm) square.  They completed their chosen image as a large line drawing then repeated it nine times on a 16" (45cm) square of cartridge paper.  Students divided the paper using a meter stick before adding their images.

Paint was next.  Liquid school paint was used.

Students could choose between five to seven colours for their project.  Limiting the colours helped to unify the images.   Some found it a challenge not to paint the same colour in the same area twice. 

The finished results were interesting as some were tightly controlled while others were more painterly.




Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Themed Alphabet

Another project that I have done with various grades is to create alphabets based on various themes.

First pick a subject or theme.  It is better to keep it general than too specific so there are more items to choose from.   Some suggestions include wildlife, things around the house, sports, holidays, fashion, and food as shown in the example.

Then divide the paper into 28 blocks.  Use two blocks for the title and the remaining for the letters.

There are two ways to approach this project.  The easier one is to just make the letters out of the objects.  For example, three rulers could form the letter "H." 

The one my students did was to find objects that looked like the letters.  For example, a giraffe looks like a small letter "h."  This way was more challenging and led to a lot of discussion and sharing of ideas among the class.

The picture below was completed by a grade 5 student.


Pencil crayons and markers were used and often together.

The title blocks could be placed anywhere.

This can also be done as a class project.  Assign a letter to each student after the theme is chosen.  This project lends itself to quilting, printmaking, and ceramic tiles as well as painting and drawing.  Assemble the blocks once they are completed.

Keep Me Warm at Night

Looking for a project that can cover colour theory at once and even be expanded to include all the elements of art?  Try having students design patchwork quilts.

Begin  by dividing the paper into blocks.  First draw a vertical line through the center.  Folding the paper in half (hot dog fold) could also help.  Additional lines are added on both sides.  Make sure to have wider spaces at the bottom than at the top. Next horizontal lines are added.  We talked about having larger blocks at the base and decreasing the size towards the top to help give the illusion of perspective.

Each block was used to illustrate a component of colour theory.  Patterns were also varied.  Additional blocks were student choice.  Pencil crayons and markers were used.

Quilts were completed with a variety of lines acting as stitches using a black marker or Sharpie.

Once the quilts were finished, students now designed their rooms.  A back wall was created with a rectangle of construction paper.  Head and foot boards were next.

Students then drew and coloured heads on pillows.

Assembly began with the headboard placed slightly below the back wall.  The pillows were attached to the headboard and then the quilt was positioned.  Finally the footboard was glued to the bottom of the quilt.

Final decorations and details were added with more construction paper or drawn with markers or pencil crayons.


Oops!  The student on the left's quilt is upsidedown.  It gives a different perspective. 

If I were to do this project again, I would have students draw their diagonal lines to the corners of the base then cut the excess off to help give the effect of perspective.

An alternate way to do this assignment would to just draw a variety of blocks and not worry about perspective.  Instead of putting the quilts on a bed, hang them on a laundry line.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Designs influenced by M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher is a popular artist in my classroom.  We've done many projects that have been influenced by his art.

This project is based on a repeated module. 

Students began with a triangle and drew half an image on each even side.  Once the module was repeatedly traced, the full image appeared.  When they were happy with their design, they darkened all lines to make it easier to trace.

They had a choice of working with a square or rectangular format.  If I were to do it again, a triangle would also be a choice.

Tracing began in a corner and the module was continually flipped to fit.  The tracing was the most time consuming of the project.  Students used either overhead projectors or windows as light sources.

Once the tracing was completed, students chose a limited colour palette. Then they coloured each of the three images with a different combination.

This project took awhile to complete, but the results were worth it. 


If you draw a line down the middle of each fish, you will be able to see the original module (triangle).


This project could be used to discuss shape, form, pattern, movement, and positive and negative space.

These art projects were completed using pencil crayons or markers and by students in grades 7 and 8.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Name Monsters and Aliens

Symmetry was used to create a classroom full of monsters and aliens.  This project is suitable for all ages.

First students folded a sheet of paper in half (hot dog fold).

Then with the fold of the paper facing them, they printed the letters of their names along it.  Students used block or bubble style lettering and made sure that each letter touched.

Keeping their papers folded, students then traced their letters on the opposite side.  I have several overhead projectors in my classroom that I use as light tables but holding the papers up to a window could also be used.

After tracing, the papers were unfolded and we discussed symmetry and positive and negative space.

Students coloured  both the letters (positive space) and the areas enclosed by the letters (negative space).  The spaces beyond the letters were not coloured as this would later be cut and discarded.  (Although if cut carefully and mounted, it could also demonstrate positive and negative space.)

Patterns were also added.

Once the colouring was completed, the aliens and monsters were cut out.  We cut them out after colouring to avoid accidently tearing off pieces.

Finished monsters and aliens were mounted on black paper.


The owner of the alien on the left forgot to make the diagonal lines symmetrical and instead they all go in the same direction.

The student on the right chose to outline the face before cutting it out giving it a finished appearance.

This project could also be used for colour theory.  For example, colour the letters in warm colours and the negative areas in cool.

Other students had fun trying to figure out the names once the projects were displayed.

pencil, paper, pencil crayons, markers, scissors, glue, construction paper for mounting.

Influenced by Oldenburg - Food Sculptures

Claes Oldenburg was the inspiration for these oversized paper mache sculptures of food.

IMGP4054Grade 7 and 8 students viewed a slide show of his work and then took part in a discussion about public art.

Next drawings were completed showing their chosen subject from several viewpoints.

Armatures were built using cardboard, stuffed plastic bags, newspaper, tubes and masking tape.

Two to three layers of paper mache were added alternating the direction of the newspaper strips for extra strength. 
Wallpaper paste was used.

Finally a layer of clear newsprint was added. 

Once everything was dry, the sculptures were painted using regular liquid school paints.

Some students added glitter while others defined parts of their sculptures with markers.

The oversized food sculptures were displayed around the school before going home.

Lines were later added to the banana to create the divisions.

To give you an idea of the size of these sculptures, they are balanced on one of the stools in  the art room.  The floor tiles in the pizza picture are 12" square.

Low Relief Cardboard Masks

Looking for a project that can be adapted to many grades and is easy on the budget?  This could be what you are looking for.  All you need are scissors, glue and a supply of cardboard boxes.

After a discussion of additive and subtractive methods, students cut out their mask shapes.

Features were created by adding layers or removing parts of the surface.  An opened paper clip was used to help peel off the layers.  Students discovered that if they scored the surface, certain sections could be removed without affecting the surrounding area.

Cardboard was separated, bent, twisted, rolled, curled, cut, layered, woven, folded and then glued into place.  Both liquid school glue and glue sticks were used.

Holes were added and yarn inserted so the masks could hang.


These masks were meant to be decorative so eyeholes were not included. 
That can be easily changed if masks are to be worn.

How to Adapt

Older grades can make their masks more detailed while younger ones can build their masks with an assortment of shapes already made if the cardboard is too hard for them to cut.  They could still alter the shapes before assembling. 

Dry pens, large nails, and the ends of paint brushes make excellent scoring and tearing tools.

This project can be used to discuss symmetry and monotone.

Animal masks can also be made.
Check out the cute mouse in the photo.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Clowns Influenced by Picasso's Three Musicians

Mixed media clowns were the result of viewing Picasso's Three Musicans

Students began by examining the painting, then they got to work creating a variety of textures, patterns and colours that would later be used for their collages.

Cardboard was used as the base and papers were cut or torn then glued on to form the background.

The figure was next.  Students kept in mind the edges and shapes in The Three Musicians as they collaged their clown.

Other items related to the circus were added.

This project could be adapted to any age.

Media used included paint, crayons, pencil crayons, markers, newspaper, cartridge paper, and construction paper.  Not only were brushes used to paint with, but students also created patterns and textures using cardboard, toothbrushes, their hands and other found objects.


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Colour Wheel Shapes

Instead of having students just paint a colour wheel, one of the colour theory projects I have them do is pick an object, create a pattern, then trace it twelve times on paper.  I remind them to leave space between each shape.

We discuss primary, secondary and tertiary colours.  The demo includes how to mix the colours only using the three primary colours, red, blue and yellow.

Students label the colours under the shapes then paint all of them only using the primary colours.

Once the shapes are dry, they are cut out and arranged in an interesting and balanced way on black paper.

Students use either paint cakes or liquid school paint.

Plastic lids are used as palettes.

Someday, as an alternate but similar project, I plan to have them create colour wheel mobiles and on the opposite side of the shapes, have them paint the complementary colours.

This colour wheel project is suitable for and easily adjusted to multiple grades.



This artist mixed the colours correctly, however the blues and violets were reversed.


Swirly Letters - Line Design and Shading

Last year, like many other art teacher bloggers, I tried the line design with shading project from the blog artwithmre@yahoo.com and although the results were successful, I found it took a fair amount of time to complete.

This year, I gave the project to my grade 5s, but instead of working within a rectangle, I had them draw an outline of their initial in block format.

They then proceeded with the same method, drew the first line across the letter, added the dots, connected them with curves, then continued adding more curves to fill the letter.

Finally they shaded the shapes with pencil crayon, working dark on the sides and disappearing to white in the center.

The students were very pleased with the results and several decided to make extra letters and add them to Mother's Day cards.  A couple of the students also decided to experiment with other shapes with positive results.

Finished letters were cut out and mounted.


This letter is nearly finished.  Next step would be to cut it out then mount on another sheet.




The student who created the image below finished her letter early so she decided to experiment with other shapes.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Overlapping Objects Painting

Grade five students picked a theme and then worked with overlapping shapes to create depth in their pictures.

First they began with paint. They tried to balance their pictures by applying the same colour in at least
three different locations.

Once the painting was finished, the objects were outlined with various markers.

It was a little tricky getting them to draw large at first, but they soon caught on.