Friday, January 29, 2016

In my spare time...

Okay so no teacher has "spare" time, but for the third year in a row I am contributing a piece of art to the Sioux Falls Habitat for a Humanity Restoration Art Auction.  (I dare you to say that 5 times fast). 

This is a great local cause where our local Habitat Restore let's artists borrow supplies from their store to repurpose into works of art that will be sold at auction.  I made a mirror art the first year, a table out of Newell posts last year and a wall hanging out of flooring this year.

I fell in love with this rustic looking flooring and knew I had to make something with it.  Hopefully it will help to raise money for our community.

Can you "resist" the pull of watercolor

Okay, so I have done a watercolor resist for my own personal artwork, but I have never done it with a class before.  I don't know why, probably because I thought I would go through a lot of masking frisket.  And just so you know, I was right.  Now granted, the kids loved the project, but I went through both jars of masking frisket, they were both about half gone, and we used about 2 jars of rubber cement.  SO that is a lot of materials to use for one project.  Or at least I think so.  Maybe you don't think that is bad.

The students loved this project for a couple of reasons.  First, we used photoshop to manipulate the image.  I let them take a photo of anyone.  We then used Photoshop to adjust the brightness/contrast and then used the threshold or the exposure buttons to turn the image into a positive/negative.

The other reason that they loved this project, is that I then let them trace their positive/negative image.  They loved the feeling that they were cheating.  Of course that is now backfiring on me, because they think they should be able to trace all of their projects.  I don't think so!!!

After they traced it, they applied either rubber cement or masking frisket to the white areas.  After that dried they were allowed to paint with any colors they wanted except black.

Lane H.

Kevin C.

Sommer B.

Logan G.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's try watercolor

Well let's try some watercolor.  I have said it before, but I see Art 1 as a chance to try all sorts of mediums and techniques.  So up next on our learning adventure is watercolor techniques.

We start by doing some different colored bubbles on a piece of paper so that they see what colors look like if they overlap with each other.  It is my version of a color table.  Basically it becomes their reference material.

Since you have to wait for watercolor to dry before you can do the next thing we also worked on these monochromatic cities.  We started with a wet on wet sky, and after that dried we added our skyscrapers, buildings, towers and roads.  We really try to focus on how things in the distance are lighter, and how they need to find the sides of the buildings by working with highlights and shadows of colors.  We also work with the fact that things that are closer to us are darker.

Jonah L.

Riley R.

Courtney A.

After we finish the bubbles and cities, we draw this boat scene together and fill it in with a variety of techniques.  We do a wet on wet for the sky, work with watercolor pencils and crayons for the boat, wet on dry and dry on dry for the hills, masking frisket/resist for the sailboats in the back, wet on dry for the water and salt for the front beach.  I would love to do the crinkle technique but I don't know where to put it into this project.

John S.

What's inside a monster?

Do you ever just have a favorite project?  Well this is one of the school's favorite projects.  Everyone looks forward to my cartoon skeleton projects.  I borrowed this project from Art of the Apex a few years ago, but it has become a school wide attraction.

I think everyone loves the simplicity of this assignment.  It is taking a cartoon character, something that everyone can relate too, and then giving it an xray of its insides.

This year I required that they color their cartoon characters so that they looked more 3D and a little less flat.  I really think that helped and gave some dimension to the drawings.

We started by looking at a skeleton and drawing several pieces of it.  We also drew some of our fellow classmates in different poses so that we got an understand for gestures and gesture drawing.  From there I do a quick 5 minute activity where I have all of the tables see who can come up with the most cartoon characters.  I like this little competition because it also opens up their ideas to other characters so I get more than just spongebob.  From there I tell them that they will be drawing a cartoon character on one paper and the skeleton on the other.

Here are some of my best examples.  I'm sorry that they are blurry, I don't know what happened.

Mercedes F.

Madison S.

Riley R.

Sommer B.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What can a colored pencil do?

So what can a colored pencil do?  Turns out it can draw some amazing pictures.  Art 1 started by looking at the colored pencil work of Karen Hull and Morgan Davidson. I know that neither of them are famous artists, but if you have a chance I highly suggest going and checking out their works.  They both do amazing things with colored pencils.

After we had been thoroughly inspired by these ladies, we started looking at what we could do with them.  We started by doing a variety of techniques in our sketchbooks.  We looked at how to blend the colors, fading, shading, how to create texture and what it looked like if you added black.

After we did these tests, we drew a practice fish and colored it in together.  The fish I use is on That site has perfect directions as to how to color and get all of the layered colors into one fish.  I do make the kids draw the fish in their sketchbooks.  That is probably the scariest part of the whole process.  What is it with kids and their ability to draw a realistic looking fish?  Maybe it is just my students but those poor fish always look like they have been run over by a toy truck.

When we finish the fish, I hand out the Wobby worksheet that you see below.  I have drawn this one, so they all have the same beautiful dog, they just have to go to the website at the bottom of the page to get the step by step coloring directions.

You might be wondering why I give them so many practices, and why so many with step by step instructions.  Up to this point we haven't done a lot with layering color and I really want them to get that concept, because after this we move to watercolor where we will continue to layer color.

After Wobby, they then are required to create their own 6x6 colored pencil drawing from one of my calendars and magazines.  I have a huge collection that I have acquired over the years so they should all be able to find something to work from.  I like them working from an image that they can hold so that they can see the underlying colors.  I don't think you always get that from an image on technology.

Also the reason for a 6x6?  It is not as intimidating to cover that small piece of paper with color as it is a huge project.  Also it is a challenge for some students to work small like it is a challenge for some students to work big.
Here are a few of my favorites.

Riley R.

Sommer B.

John S.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Advanced Colored pencil

I feel like I should specify that these drawings are done by my Art 3 class since one of my upcoming posts will be showing Art 1's colored pencil drawings.  And lately I am lacking the creativity to come up with exciting titles to these blogs.  I must be losing my touch.

Art 3 got to choose anything they wanted to draw.  My only request was that it was done in extreme detail in colored pencils.

Jacob K.

Mikayla R.

Riley H.

Sarah C.

Terra C.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Superhero/Villain Challenge

This was Challenge #2.

So for our second challenge of the year, Art 3 students got to pick either a superhero or a villain that they would like to work with.  For this part I drew their names out of a hat and had all of the superheros and villains written on large pieces of paper.  That way I didn't end up with 20 Spiderman projects, this forces a few of them out of their comfort zone.  Of course most of them still got the character that they wanted.  So I guess I was the villain that was foiled in the end.

  I then had them spin for the new era that they would find that character in.  We used for the spinning action.  If you haven't used it, I highly recommend you check it out.  It adds a layer of excitement and suspense to the assignment, and who doesn't like that.  So for instance, if they picked Spiderman, (which I might add nobody picked), might end up in Ancient Greece.  Then the student was given the option of drawing, painting, or creating something that worked with their character in that time period.  So you could recreate their mask but add symbols and/or details from the time period.  I loved that this project was so wide open.  They could do anything.

Brooke A. - Black Widow in Greece

Emily H. - Green Goblin in Mayan

Mikayla R. - Wolverine in Medieval
If you need a list of superheros/villains or time periods let me know and I will get them to you.  We did discover that a few time periods were harder to work with than others.

Book Alterations

I love it when books come alive, and for this project do they not only come alive but they are jumping off of the page!!

Of course we are making them pop off of the page, but that is another story.  Art 3 was given the task of taking old books and use some of the extra pages to make images that would stand up and look like they are coming off of the page.

Brooke A.
Or like this guy, they cut the pages to make the image pop out of the middle.

Hunter S.
I love how she made them look like dancing clothes and the book like it is a checkered dance floor.

Mikayla R.

Foreshortening in drawings

Sorry I couldn't come up with a more clever title for this post.  Hopefully the art will make up for it.

I asked my Art 3 class to create foreshortening drawings.  Actually I asked them to take pictures first, and then they were supposed to draw their pictures, but that didn't pan out. Most of them were not thrilled by the picture that they took or they wanted to draw something else.  So I gave in.  They should never say I didn't do anything for them.

They then were given the choice of pencil or colored pencil.  Here are some of my favorites.

Bree H.

Drea B.

Emily H.

Sarah C.

Terra C.

Clay flowers

The assignment had nothing to do with clay flowers, but here are a couple of my favorite clay projects that have come out of Art 3 lately and both happen to involve flowers.

Bree H.

Courtney M.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Drawing with White

We had been doing so many pencil and pen drawing that I wanted to mix up our next drawing project and force students to find the highlights instead of the shadows.  The only way to create that was to make them use black paper and white colored pencils or white charcoal.

I love the way it forces them to think outside of the box and see the other side of the drawing.

Danica H.

Holly S.

Lexi B.

Sydney Hau.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Selfie time

Why is it that in this day and age of the selfie, and the amounts of selfies that my students take, that they wouldn't be thrilled at the thought of drawing themselves.  I think I hear more moans and groans from this lesson than from any other.  Why is that?  I bet if I grabbed all of their phones I would find hundreds or even thousands of selfies, but to actually sit down and draw themselves and focus on all of their own details seems to be torture.

Well, I make all of my classes get over their hate of self portraits.  I don't remember where I heard it, but someone told me years ago that they thought all students should create a self portrait every year.  One, it shows them how they change physical and two, it shows them how they grow and change as an artist.  Like I said, I don't know who said it, but I thought it was a great idea.

In Art 1 we actually did three portrait projects.  The first was where they had to paint a picture of my choice in fauvism, we gridded their self portrait (this project) and then we did the technique called the John LeBoeuf technique.  I am sure John has a better name for it, but I don't know it so I just named it after him.

These are examples of our learning to grid an image.  I start by giving them some small practice pieces to do in their sketchbook.  If you go to they have some amazing lessons.  Then for the final I told them they either needed to print off one of their selfies or they needed to let me take their picture.  Once we had all of those printed we drew grids over our printouts and then made a larger grid on bigger paper.

Here are some of my favorites.  I should leave the captions off and see if you can guess who some of these people are, but I'm not that mean.

John S.

Sidney H.

Dylan M.

Abbie B.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The power of the pen

I know it has been awhile since I posted, it's amazing how fast this year is flying by.


One of the projects I assigned to Art 2 last semester was a pen drawing.  I gave them the option of size of paper and if they wanted to do it all black and white or if they wanted to use my colorful pens.

I was happy that I got a variety of sizes, colors and even some techniques.  I am thinking that two of these will be going to our state contest in March.

Austin L.

Danica H.

Heidi S.

Morgan H.

Nikole K.

Sydney H.
If you didn't figure out which two were going to state, it is probably Capt. Jack and the Joker.