SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Elementary Studio Lesson Capturing MOVEMENT "A profile is never motionless before our eyes, but it constantly appears and disappears." —TechnicalManifestoofFuturistPainting Lynda Lord T he idea for this art lesson grew out of watching the lively actions of my fourth grade students. Since drawing is my first love, I am always looking for new ways to teach it. This time, instead of setting up a still life, I decided to teach students how to capture their actions on paper. Gesture Drawing We began by looking at the gesture drawings of Degas, Daumier, and Toulouse-Lautrec. We compared the use of contour lines—a continuous line following the edge of images—to gesture drawing, which utilizes quickly drawn lines to capture various movements of people and animals. Students were given warm-up drawing exercises to help them create loosely drawn spirals. They practiced with soft pencils until they could control the size, movement, and direction of the spirals on their papers. When control of the spirals became consistent, we began to focus on drawing the human figure. We discussed the human body, studied the relationship of body parts to the torso, the length of the arms and legs, and discussed the way the head and neck would be positioned in certain poses. Each student participated in providing a pose for the class to draw. The tables and chairs were set up 42 SchoolArts May/June 2007 in a circle to provide an area in tended to the middle where students would draw a few pose. Each student was aware that lines and although they were motionless, the then erase action would be obvious: standand correct. ing, bending, dancing, reaching, They began or twisting. If a pose would take a to realize that student off balance, we used a chair the short time went hand-in-hand as a counterbalance. Students were with making many quickly drawn, allowed to use props to help them sketchy lines. As students proin their poses, gressed with although Instead of setting up a still life, their drawing drawing the I decided to teach students how techniques, prop was not they learned to capture their actions on paper. to draw in less required. Drawings time and gradstarted out taking thirty seconds. uated from pencil to charcoal. They This short time was set for stuhad to complete ten pages of poses dents to experience how quickly in their sketchbooks, each with as one drawing could be completed. many poses as a page would hold. It also helped those students who

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