Ten Tips for teaching Art to your child-for the non-artist parent

If you are a parent who sees artistic potential in your child or children but are at a loss as to how to help them develop their artistic skills further, then this is the article for you.

Tip 1:Believe that it is a basic part of human nature to be creative and that you and your children have every right to be creative because Art is not exclusive. (If you do not believe this yet, then pretend to for your children’s sake!)

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Tip 2:If you have very little formal artistic skills yourself, it’s not a problem. Find one of many great online tutorials that can teach you and your children how to draw. Here are just a few: How to draw a nose, How to draw a Spinosaurus, How to draw a butterfly, How to draw a dragon’s eye

Tip 3: When your child does a piece of art work train yourself not to automatically say ‘Wow, that’s so amazing darling’. Take a look at this fantastic clip called Austin’s butterfly and try giving feedback that actually means something and shows you’ve taken the time to really look at their art.

Tip 4: Keep sketchbooks and date work. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as looking back over art work and seeing how much you’ve improved since the first drawing.

Tip 5: Let children follow their own inspiration! If Jonny loves snakes and you have a snake phobia, you’ll still have to support Jonny when he draws snakes because you don’t want to pass on your fear of snakes. Remember, it’s passion that gets artists through difficult times.

Muhyi snake

Tip 6: Encourage your children to embrace mistakes. So frustrating when they know what they want a drawing to look like and their hands just won’t do it! Learn about Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset and the power of using the word ‘yet’. Mistakes are not a catastrophe, they are part of an essential process towards a goal. Your brain develops most when you make a mistake and learn from it, so teach your child to be pleased when they make a marvellous mistake and explain that they are just not quite there yet.

Tip 7: For ways to create fun opportunities for Art linked to story books read this article.

Tip 8: Let your children take photos. Imagine you go to the zoo on a family trip but they’re just too excited to sit and draw any of the animals there. Well that’s where many artists would take several photographs of their favourite animal for later use. On a rainy day you can get the photos up on a computer or ipad and draw from them. Here are some photos my son took when we went to Crocodile world.

 

Tip 9: If you have an ipad or tablet then download Photoeditor. Let your children experiment with editing a photo they took. Art can be digital as well as drawn with pencil and paper. Here are some digitally edited photos done by 7 year olds I’ve worked with.

Tip 10: Get children out and about and do some Art outdoorsLand Art or at a museum.

Here are some pics of Land Art I’ve done with my children.

I hope this gives you some helpful advice to get started and perhaps once you get going you’ll have some inspiring ideas yourself that you’d like me to put up on this post for others to see.

If you have photos you’d like me to share then please send them to a.henckel@hotmail.com and add any short notes or tips you’d like me to add alongside them.

A message in hands

A creative journey through art and story telling 

I am your servant,
I am your slave,
I obey your command.
And never once do I question your demand.

Food I bring and drink I serve
Often more than you deserve.

Like a clock I can change with time,
Yet unlike a clock I am able to mime.
Though words I can’t speak
I can say a lot.
Things I can feel,
Though feelings I have not!

What am I?

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This was the riddle I showed my class of 28 on the Monday of our school art & storytelling week.

It took a lot of logical thinking from one particular girl to finally answer the riddle correctly. She analysed every part of the riddle and justified her answer in such a beautiful and reasonable way and to everyone’s astonishment her answer of ‘a hand’ was entirely correct.

Our theme was hands and over the week I took the class on a whistle stop tour of some famous paintings, sayings and stories of hands. We began with a pair of the most famous and unfortunately commercialized hands throughout history. Albrecht Durer’s ‘Praying hands’. I story-told the famous, but untrue story of Albrecht and his brother Albert’s almost unobtainable dream to become artists and study at art school. Read here for a version of the story.

Albrecht Durer Hands or ‘The Praying Hands’

On day two we looked at our own hands and then grabbed ipads between pairs and went out into the sunny spring garden of our school and shot some gorgeous photos of our hands. The children had two tasks, first to find an intriguing natural object and photograph their partner holding that object. The second task was to get together into groups of 6 or 7 and put all their hands into interesting positions and take photographs of them. Here are just a few of the photographs the children took.

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Before we looked at any art works we discussed how hands could have meaning. The children thought together in pairs and groups of all the ways they could think of that hands convey meaning. They thought of mime and sign language but strangely did not link the communication they do with their own hands on a day to day basis as part of hands having meaning. So we did some drama and acted in silence short scenarios that use hands to communicate something to someone else. The sudden upward shot of hands when something or someone is about to hit us, the outstretched hand when we want someone to give us something or help us and shaking someones hands to say hello were just some of the situations we explored.

Shaking Hands: My children,son and daughter, shaking hands, used for a buddy program for school age kids. Comments Welcome :)

I taught the children how to do what I call ‘scribble drawings’. A sure way to free anybody feeling constrained by having to get everything right. The children have not been trained in observational drawing and as a result have quite negative attitudes towards their work. Scribble drawings in pen are so free and fun that they forget the tiny details and look for the big shapes and shadows. Here are a few of their ‘scribble’ hand drawings and some foreshortened fingers.

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Encouraging children to annotate their drawings, saying how they would change them what they don’t like discourages pessimism and them crossing out work. It get’s them to think in a practical way how they could improve it. The drawing below shows my favourite annotation ever! Having drawn a hand that she wasn’t too happy with, this young lady commented quite accurately that it resembled a turkey!

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We discussed the work of Kate MacDowell, in particular her sculpture titled ‘in the hand’ and we story told another beautiful folk tale from India called The answer is in your hand. The children were amazed that Kate MacDowell’s sculpture linked so much with this Indian tale and they listened entranced as I told it. Kate MacDowell ‘s sculpture is so delicate, detailed and yet sparse with it’s crisp white porcelain finish and the children found it really interesting.

Having viewed images of many artworks involving hands we discussed together what the different artists might be saying through their art works. We learnt that some artists have a hidden message behind their art work and some have a message that is more obvious (like this Sudarsan Pattnaik sand sculpture). The children talked with each other about what was important to them and decided on their own title or message that they wanted to convey through their art work. They all created punchy titles that help their message to come across. By this stage they knew that they would be creating a 3D hand sculpture later on in the week and their message would need to be reflected in their sculpture.

Two particular titles I thought were brilliant. One was ‘Nature’s Hand’, the girl whose title this was, wanted to convey her love of nature and her desire for people to help conserve and look after nature. The other was ‘Soft, gentle Mom’, this was a boy who was stuck for any ideas, yet when asked: ‘What is important to you?’ he immediately answered, ‘My mom’. He described his mom’s hands as soft and gentle and so this evolved into his title.

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Nature’s Hand

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The children have completed their 2D designs and the plaster of paris hand casts have been created. Liquid plaster of paris was poured (by adults) into gloves that the children bought in, the top was then securely sealed with a rubber band. Then we then bent the fingers very sightly and pressed into the palm of the glove to give it a realistic feel. Quickly the plaster set into the new positions and then children were able to peel the gloves off and sand off any lumps and bumps. More information about how to do this. For health and safety risk assessment. You can also make balloon sculptures in this way.

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Below are some of our 2D designs, some children have also written about why their message is so important to them.

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Be Happy

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Save Tigers

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Stop Pollution

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The Nature Hand

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Racism & Violence Don’t Belong in Football

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For children who have little experience drawing and sculpting, this is a nice way to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D work. The plaster hands can then be scratched into with different objects in order to create the creases and details of the hand. This must be done in a ventilated area because of the dust and goggles should be worn just as a precaution.

Our next task is to paint our 2D designs onto the plaster of paris glove/hand casts. I will post more photos of these as we get them painted. And of course, use some E600 glue to stick a couple of broke fingers back on!

Here are the some of the completed hands. We added PVA over the top of the paint to give a soft sheen and protect them a bit.

Be Happy

Be Happy

Nature's Hand

Nature’s Hand

Save the World

Save the World

Violence and Racism Don't Belong in Football

Violence and Racism Don’t Belong in Football

Help Snow Leopards

Help Snow Leopards

Soft Gentle Mum

Soft Gentle Mum

Save Animals

Save Animals

Exotic Beaded Bib Necklace

Here is one of my latest beaded creations. An adjustable, beaded bib necklace made with tiny seed beads, semi precious stone & hand made polymer clay cabochons, turquoise adjustable leather necklace and a soft ultra suede backing. Available to buy from here.

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Anubis weighs an evil heart

By the hand, the white shrouded figure is led up to the scales of Maat.  IMG_1674Jackal Headed Anubis brings forth the heart to be weighed and in the presence of the gods the Ba bird flutters above, awaiting its soul’s judgement. The feather of Truth is laid. The scale is set with exact precision and all is suspended in oppressive silence. The only sound to break the deathly hush is the drop of Ammit’s salivating jaw as she eagerly awaits her prey. Then with a clank, the heavy heart pulls down the scales with the weight of its evil, leaving the airy feather floating for all to see. It is done. The judgement has been passed and with a half starved snarl Ammit grabs what is rightfully hers. The evil heart, soul and Ba bird; all are devoured.

Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead- With a contemporary twist 

I spent a day with Windmill Primary School’s fantastic Yr 6’s who created some superb Ancient Egyptian art with a modern twist. Do have a closer look at who the white shrouded figure being led by the jackal headed Anubis actually is. A leader famous for cruelty, death and genocide.

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 Ancient Egyptian mythology provides superb opportunities for storytelling

I story told the myth of Isis and Osiris to the children and then we discussed Hunefer ‘s famous papyrus scroll commonly called Hunefer ‘s Book of the Dead. (NB this is a colour enhanced version, to see it in original click here)

Here is my fantastic interactive version https://www.thinglink.com/scene/478359226985480193

The Art Work

The children were each asked  to draw, paint and then cut out a figure, either individually or in pairs. I showed them how to draw an Egyptian figure using the Ancient Egyptian Canon. All the figures and elements in the scroll were measured according to this formula which kept everything in proportion. IMG_1673Below is the enthroned Isis, Lord of the Underworld, who will pronounce the final judgement over the soul of the deceased. This heart weighed more then the feather of Truth so the demon Ammit will consume it and the soul will not attain immortal life. IMG_1676

The All Seeing Eye of Atum

There is an intriguing creation story of the all seeing eye. It begins with the dark, swirling, chaotic mass of Nu before Creation was made. From Nu arose Atum, and he was alone. He created a hill named Ben Ben, upon which he could stand and with his shadow he created a son and a daughter. Atum spat out his son Shu, god of air and his daughter he coughed out, she was Tefnut the goddess of moisture.

Tefnut and Shu had two children. The sky goddess Nut whose star studded body arches across the sky and gives birth to the sun every day. The other child was Geb the god of the earth and growing things. Nut and Geb always wish to be together but Shu keeps them apart so that creation can exist between them.

Once, Atum lost his children Shu and Tefnut in the chaos of Nu and was frantically looking for them. He sent his ‘all seeing eye’ around Creation to look for Shu and Tefnut and eventually the eye found them and brought them back to their desperate father. He was overjoyed and cried tears of happiness. It is from these tears of joy that the first humans were created.

See this story here.

Children created the All Seeing Eye or Eye of Horus 

Having story told several myths relating to the ‘all seeing eye’, I asked the children to look at their own eye in a mirror. The concentration was almost tangible as I talked them through observing the light, shadows, reflections and shapes in their eyes. After this observation they then began to draw the outlined shape of their eye on A3 paper and worked on observing and drawing the detail. The last step was to turn it into the eye of Horus.

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The Eye of Horus

Horus is the son of Osiris who was brutally murdered by his jealous and evil brother Seth. Horus wishes to avenge his father’s murder and reclaim the throne of Egypt from his evil uncle, so he challenges Seth. An eighty year long battle ensues and in one particularly difficult fight Seth gauges out Horus ‘s left eye and breaks it into six tiny pieces. However with the help of his mother Isis and Thoth the god of medicine, the eye is restored and returned to Horus who gives it as a gift to his father Osiris. Although the eye is restored, it never regains it’s original brightness and thus represents the moon and is a symbol of protection against evil, of rebirth, regeneration and healing.

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Further useful links for teachers and anyone else interested in ancient Egyptian Mythology
For Adults:

For Children:

Islamic Art Lesson – Ideas for School Children

This post is the second of a few explaining exciting art ideas that you could do with KS2 children, linking with the RE topic of Islam. I have included some background information for anyone unsure about Islam and mosques at the end.

Build a mosque

Class of 30-divide children into 5 groups of 6. Allow about 3 lessons to complete project.

The Project Idea

  • To use recyclable materials, mixed techniques and media to create a model of a mosque.
  • To understand why a mosque is shaped the way it is.
  • To begin to understand the deeper symbols and meanings behind the art and architecture within/on a mosque.

What you need-Lesson 1

  1. Interactive White Board images of famous mosques from all over the world (see below).
  2. Images of Islamic geometric patterns. Some photocopies for reference per table.
  3. Laptops for paired/individual research.
  4. Children’s sketch books/project book or A3 paper.
  5. Pencils, colouring pencils.
  6. Graph paper with different base patterns, squares, triangles, hexagons and octagons.

The lesson

Look at images of mosques: (would be great if children have had an opportunity to actually visit a mosque). Compare purely functional mosques to the highly decorated Ottoman ones. This mosque has been rebuilt but stands in the place where the first ever mosque was built, the first ever mosque was very simple, it had palm tree pillars for walls, a partial roof and was undecorated. Also show this gorgeous mud mosque in Mali. Lastly look at the incredible golden Dome of the rock.

Features of mosques:  How mosques are used – BBC learning zone clip.

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/452209750663233538 (link to an interactive mosque drawing I did)

Discussion: Talk about what a mosque is, what it is for, who it is special for and why. You would need to have covered such topics as Who are Muslims, and what do they believe? Also discuss the parts of a mosque, what they are for and how they are used.

Design: Get the children to work on designing their own mosque on paper. This would probably be the outside of it. Get them to think about how many minarets it will have, what shape the main building will be, will it be a pointy dome or a round flat dome? What shape are the windows and doors? Will it be like a very early mosque that is less decorated? or will it be covered in decoration?

Decoration: Using the reference material photocopies and laptops children can explore Islamic patterns, sketch them and decide on some designs that they might use to decorate their mosques. These can be drawn onto their designs. Children could try using graph paper to design a tessellation. They could use 2D shapes to create a pattern, photograph it, print it and use it on the mosque. This could be linked to a study of tessellation in maths.

Colour: Children can then use the research they’ve done to colour in the designs in appropriate colours. They can draw in stained glass windows, mosaics, arabic writing, tiles, coloured dome, crescent moon and star. These should be sketches and explorations, not finished work.

Plan: Children need to indicate on their design which parts of the mosque they will make out of what sort of recyclable material. An obvious one would be to use an empty kitchen roll for the minaret. They can also make diagrams of how to manipulate materials to get the desired shape/design.

What you need-Lesson 2 & 3

For the mosque.

  1. Several domed shaped plastic bowls or blown up baloon.
  2. Newspapers.
  3. Wall paper paste for papie mache-made up into ‘gloop’, one per table.
  4. Cardboard boxes, one per table and wrapping paper and kitchen rolls, cereal boxes, larger piece of firm cardboard for mosque to stand on.
  5. Glue stick, glue gun-adult supervision required, scissors.

For the windows:

  1. Tracing paper or acetate.
  2. Black & coloured felt tip pens.
  3. Photocopies of simple Islamic geometric patterns.
  4. Scissors, glue.

For the optional carpet for inside the mosque:

  1. A3 Sugar paper cut into equal strips-can be several different colours.

For decoration:

  1. Paint, (I would recommend turquoise, orange, emerald green, gold, white, cobalt blue)
  2. Handwriting pen for finer details e.g. decorating the prayer mat, writing calligraphic decoration.
  3. Some coloured paper scraps for chn to cut into squares for a mosaic/tile pattern.

The lesson

In groups children will first decide on a group design for their mosque, this may involve making a final sketch that incorporates several ideas from people on the table.

They will then begin to work as a group to make their mosque, following the design they’ve decided on. This will require them to work as a team and delegate tasks to particular people in the group.

These jobs need to be done in each group: papie mache the dome over the upturned cling filmed, cereal bowl; construct the minaret; make the building of the mosque; design the stain glass windows; make a grand door;  weave the prayer mat out of the sugar paper strips; make bands/strips of paper decorations that can be stuck onto the outside of the mosque (if in their design).

After each part of the mosque is made, children will need to discuss when to decorate the part they’ve made, before or after assemblage. They will need to decorate, paint the mosque and this will need to be planned for either lesson 2 or lesson 3. The domes will take a day or two to dry so this may mean some children assisting with other tasks while this happens.

NB if you are using balloons to create the dome shape then you don’t need to cover the whole balloon, but you do need to cover enough of the round base to give you an open shaped dome. If using a bowl you can place cling film on the bowl first and then over lay the glue papie mache news paper strips, this will stop the papie mache dome sticking to the bowl.

NB It may be advisable for supervising adults to have a craft knife/scalpel available to help with cutting windows, doors Etc. (Obviously, keep it out of reach of the children.)

By the end of the sessions you should end up with one mosque per group of six children. This is a great opportunity for the children to exhibit the mosques and for you to photograph them and create a work sheet using the photographs so that they can label some of the parts of a mosque and you can assess how much they have learnt.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Information About Mosques:      A mosque is a building used to bring muslims together to surrender to God by the act of prayer and group worship.

Decorated or undecorated?     The first mosques were very undecorated buildings, the reason for this was based on the belief that if people got distracted with decorations ,they might forget the true purpose of the building. There was also a risk of showing off wealth, which would disturb cohesion with non muslim communities. Decoration was also not encouraged in order to avoid an obvious disparity between the rich people funding the decoration and the poor people unable to do so. Islamic beliefs encourage humility in power and modesty in wealth.

Hagia-Sophia, Byzantine church turned into a mosque. 1453-1931

Over hundreds of years the mosque became a far more decorated building, culminating in the Ottoman times. Often an Ottoman Sultan (king) would commission the building of an elaborate mosque to show his wealth, power and to be remembered by. There was also a bit of competition between the Muslims and the Christians who competed with each other to build the best religious building. During early Ottoman times many Byzantine (Christian) artisans were commissioned to work on mosques and many churches, in conquered lands, were also turned into mosques.

Small mosques are often built upon the graves of saints and some believe that the goodness of the saint will make the mosque a blessed/special place. Here’s one in Konya, Turkey. The most famous is the mosque built around the tomb of the Prophet Muhammed himself.

KEYWORDS

  • Mosque/Masjid
  • Dome – points to the heavens, is supported by octagonal shape before the cube shaped building beneath it. Often filled with mesmerizing patterns to remind the viewer of the endless cosmos and God’s infinity.
  • Minaret-tall thin tower like part from which the muezzin chants his call to prayer,
  • Muezzin-specially trained person who performs the call to prayer. Hear an Egyptian Athan. (Each country has a different style of singing the Athan.)
  • Adhan- (pronounced athan) the call to prayer.
  • Mihrab-niche in which the Imam leads the prayers in front of the congregation,
  • Imam- similar to a priest.
  • Minbar-stairs from which the Imam delivers his sermons, he never stands at the top because it is symbolically reserved for the prophet Muhammad,
  • Qiblah-the direction that worshipers face when praying, it faces Mecca.
  • Ablution- the ritual washing worshippers do before prayer. (Traditionally the ablution ‘sink’ was octagonal, a reminder to Muslims of the allegory of the throne of God which will be carried by 8 angels on judgement day-reminding them that they are responsible for their own actions.)
  • Prayer mat-has a special design to ensure all worshippers are stood next to each other in rows, this reminds them that all people are equal before God, (The prophet Muhammed describes this to be ‘like the teeth of a comb’.)

SYMBOLS AND MEANINGS

Islamic art can be viewed as simply a way of people expressing themselves non figuratively. However it can also be seen as a series of symbols that together point the viewer towards deeper spiritual meanings. Laleh Bakhtiar (Sufi 1976) and Keith Critchlow (Islamic Patterns 1976) write about some of these deeper meanings.

Symbolic significance of some colours in Islamic art:

Gold/yellow has a sense of Divine enlightenment, most holy, Divine royalty

White represents purity, goodness, potential, not of this world-away from materiality.(During burial the body is wrapped in a white shroud).

Blue is a reminder of life, water is the life giving and sustaining element on earth. Heaven is also said to be full of beautiful, fresh flowing streams and rivers. God’s limitless ability to sustain.

Green is a reminder of the lush gardens of paradise, God’s limitless generosity and to give life. Saint’s tombs are often covered in green silk, and the Prophet Muhammad often wore a green robe. Also linked with Al Khidr or the green knight, an illusive saint who appears to people and give them guidance.

Symbolic significance of numbers in Isamic art:

One signifies the one Creator, the Absolute in his Absoluteness. God. Allah. The dot or the centre of the circle, the origin. All creation resides in One God. This is multiplicity within unity.

Three signifies the first potential for creation, the triangle. It can also represent human consciousness.

Four represents earth, stability, the square, four elements-earth water fire air, hot cold wet and dry, matter.

Five and ten as a star points to the enlightened soul, to the Prophet Muhammed. Five can also be a symbol for the five daily prayers, five pillars, the golden proportion, growth.

Six consists of two groups of three and so recalls the meanings of three, hexagon is a symbol of heaven.

Seven links to the seven days of the week. Connected to 28 and the phases of the moon.

Eight connects to the throne of God being carried by seven angels, connects to the qualities of four.

Twelve connects to three, four and six and their related properties. The signs of the Zodiac.

Twenty eight points to the phases of the moon. Links to the crescent moon, a symbol used to represent muslims.

As you look at the geometry you can begin to glean a little of the hidden meaning behind the beautiful patterns and colours.

If you find this lesson idea useful and use it in your class, please take some photographs and send them to me so that I can post them up on here. Your kids will love to know that their art work is on the internet!!

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Out door sculpture- children inspired by Andy Goldsworthy

Going outdoors is a superb way to bring an art lesson to life.

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 The year 5 classes (60 children) were studying woodland, and as part of the curriculum they had to actually visit and experience a woodland environment. The C S Lewis Nature Reserve provided the woodland setting and art gave them a focus with which to explore this lovely place.

PREPARATION BEFORE THE TRIP

The children had a session looking at Andy Goldsworthy’s art, and a few other land art artists including Robert Smithson. The children shared their thoughts about their art work. Discussed why they thought these artists work with nature in this way and what possible purpose it could have-other than being fun. Environmental issues, conservation, the purpose of art, sending a message were all touched on in the discussion.

Andy Goldsworthy

Robert Smithson. Spiral Jetty

HOW WE DID IT

I split the children into two large groups (30, we had enough adults to accompany each group). I took one group, whilst the other group was taken by their class teacher. My group was looking at pattern in nature, capturing it using pen and ink and photography. The other group were making Andy Goldsworthy inspired sculptures using natural objects like leaves, berries, twigs and stones.

Here are some patterns my group photographed.

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And now have a look at a few of their drawings.

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These are perfect-what I was looking for was quick recordings of the general shape of the patterns and where they appeared. They had half an hour to do this.
SAM_0394Here is someone who spent his break time sketching instead of running around making a racket and disturbing the wildlife.
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Lets take a closer look…
SAM_0401 This is wonderful work, the little notes remind him of what he saw, he’s captured things close up and further away, he’s generalized the pattern into a overall look yet not compromised the detail either. I was very proud!

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LETS TAKE A LOOK AT THE SCULPTURE GROUP
land art
land art, kids
Here’s a lovely patterned frog we came across too!
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CROSS CURRICULAR LINKS
This sort of lesson can beautifully compliment other areas of the curriculum. Here are some ideas:
  • Link it to woodland tales such as Beatrix Potter, Peter and the Wolf (musical links here too), Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dhal, The Woodland Trust Stories, Watership down – Richard Adams. These are just a few…
  • Take photos of children’s work and use these to stimulate some descriptive writing, or instruction writing about how to create a woodland sculpture.
  • Children can then create a collage in groups using coloured sugar paper to recreate their sculpture. Perhaps the class can make a huge collaborative one.
  • We used our pattern drawing to inform some black and white illustrations of traditional tales.
  • Children can find fascinating creatures or objects and create a character for them. They could use these characters to create a shared class tale.
  • Science, study of woodland habitat, animals, birds, local area compared to another, local trees, a woodland tree as a mini ecosystem, food chains, how are woodland animals suited to this habitat, what’s special about the woodland compared to the rainforest.
  • Maths, measure & estimate the height of a tree using traditional methods, comparing the size of different leaves in relation to the height of the trees they were taken from. Can make a graph to represent the results, can press the leaves to create art work after.

SPACE Illustrations – 10 year olds

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After the rain forest mural project I had a strong sense that the 60 young artists needed a complete break from observational drawing. I set a new topic that complimented our term’s topic of SPACE.

SPACE  PATTERN & ILLUSTRATION

I created a power point showing some stunning photographs taken by NASA of black holes, nebula, galaxies, butterfly nova , etc. I showed them a couple of examples of Zentangles, and lastly they looked at a some, monochrome illustrative drawings like this and especially this.

The purpose is to INSPIRE, STIMULATE, DISCUSS, and enter the realm of imagination.

ASK QUESTIONS LIKE…What do you see here? (chat on your tables/with your partner) What do these remind you of? Does it give you a certain feeling? Can you see an end and a beginning? What’s interesting about it? Which is your favorite and why? Highlight to them that pattern does not finish at the edge of the paper. It is free. There is no right and wrong.

They will need: Square paper (2 small and 1 large-I cut up A4 sheets), 4 different thicknesses of black Berol pens (hand writing thin one, thicker gray one and the broad red ones. Plus a very thick one.), some inspirational material on each table and on white board e.g. space photos, illustrations etc. NO PENCILS!

After an engaged discussion you can get them going by taking them through how to do this Zentangle star called an Auroknot. Do it on the scrap little squares, or on the big one.(Remember Zentangles are copyright so you’ll have to bear that in mind).

I really enjoyed teaching myself this Auraknot and the children will find it a challenge but fascinating. It sets the standards high and gives them a starting point.

Invite them to use the Space reference pictures to start their own space inspired illustration. You can show them my one if you don’t have time to do your own!

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(Please note that the Auraknot in the centre is taken from Zentangle how to video and I do not claim it as my own work. The surrounding images are my own! This was purely for the purposes of education and not for financial gain.)

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The main pattern below was inspired directly from Zentangle’s Mooka, purely for the purposes of education and not for any financial gain.

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I showed the children some of these patterns on the white board and they worked them out with me on their little squares. I demonstrated how to make a tube look curved and 3D, and I gave them ideas of how to fill area with pattern.

The children absolutely loved the lesson and continued to finish their Space illustrations during break time duties, and other little moments throughout the day. Here is some of their work in progress.

IMG_1550 Every now and then, stop the class and remind them of composition, drawing the person’s eye around their picture and most importantly balance. Use your hands as a way of showing a weighing scale and show how a very large dark area on one side of a picture can unbalance the work.

Challenge the children to silently stand up, tuck their chairs in, and with no comment or facial expressions, wonder around the room to see what other people have been working on. Reward them if they can do this maturely!IMG_1549

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I was blown away by their ingenuity, and creativity. No one struggled with this out of the 60 children, and very often the children who did not shine so much during the rainforest mural project, certainly shone here!

During this lesson I had a table with two marbling trays, every one took two minutes out of their lesson to have a go at Space inspired marbling. We then displayed the work like a chequerboard in school, which received many wonderful compliments.

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As they did the marbling they were encouraged to remember the theme of Space and use the black holes, galaxies, nebulas to explore with the marbling. You can really see the space influence in these pieces.

NB There is the temptation to call these doodles. They are not doodles, they have  purpose, meaning and are the catalyst for further developed work.

Space illustration

My next post will show how this project progressed to incorporate calligraphy, pattern and illuminationIf you need any advice, have any suggestions or wish to share photos of your class’s work,e then pleas don’t hesitate to contact me below.