Grade 7 – Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was an artist that I felt my grade 7s could connect with. He was an art superstar from the last century who was super controversial and super interesting. We began this lesson with an intro to Warhol and his work and watched a pretty cool short clip that I found on youtube, showing Andy working on his Marilyn Monroe screen print artwork. This (and other similar artworks) was to form the basis of this art project.

I had already printed out black and white photocopies of all of the staff of Camps Bay Primary that we use in front of the office. Each learner was given one printout. The learners could use various techniques to edit each printout by adding colour and darkening lines. The first technique used by most of the learners was using oil pastel over the black and white face/hair etc. of the member of staff and then taking tissue paper and removing as much of it as possible. What you get is a softer colour that remains onĀ  the white areas of the page but where the black is printed, it cannot be seen.

Following Warhol’s style, the learners were encouraged to use bright colours and bold lines. They painted the background behind their member of staff using solid colour. They were then given two square pieces of cardboard, one coloured/black and the other slightly larger one, white. They used these to make a funky border for their artwork.

There was a little uncertainty about whether the staff would be happy to have the artworks up in the school exhibition but they were very supportive! The project was great fun.


Grade 7 – Picasso can crushing portrait

This project was very fun! The idea came from this site. Learners had to bring a can to class. I first taught the learners about cubism and Pablo Picasso. They then began making their artwork.

Learners began by crushing their can! This was a fairly noisy process (especially with the principals office beneath my class). At the end of the period, each can was definitely crushed though! I then explained what a portrait was and linked the drawing of the portrait with the Cubist trait of using geometric shapes and drawing the character from different angles.

They were encouraged to use bright colours and to keep the form away from being realistic.

Grade 7 – Pierneef landscapes

Hendrik Pierneef was an old master of South African art who has fallen into some disrepute in recent years. I thought the grade 7s would appreciate his interesting way of stylizing the landscape so that it almost looked cartoony though.

The learners began by drawing the basic shapes of their landscape using pencil. They then took a black crayon to go over the pencil lines with. Finally they used water colour paints to add colour to their landscapes!

Grade 7 – Character Modelling

The grade 7s did some interesting poems in English which gave me an idea for an art project. These poems were: ‘The jabberwocky’; ‘The wendigo’; ‘The Spangledpandemonium’; ‘The marog’; and ‘Maccavity cat’. All of these poems are stories that involve interesting characters that, I thought, would be great in a movie!

The project I gave the grade 7s went as follows: I told them a story about a Hollywood director having come to me, wanting to make a movie about one of the poems that they did in English! He asked whether the grade 7s (since he heard they knew the poems) could be part of designing and doing concept art for one of the characters in the poem!

They began by learning about character modelling sheets and how artists first make these which the 3D artists must follow when making the character. They were told that the sheets should include one main picture of their character as well as the character’s name. It should also have extra information about the character as well as some other pictures of their character.

They then had to use their sheet to make a clay model of their character which the learners then painted! I think the Hollywood director would have been very happy with what the grade 7s produced.

Grade 7 – Keith Haring

I discovered Keith Haring a number of years ago and have been looking forward to doing a project on him ever since! He was a rebelious artist who stood for many important but controversial topics in ways that sometimes made the authorities a little unhappy.

His style is simple to do but also has great scope for creative interpretation. The learners were first introduced to Haring as well as the use of rhythm as a principle of design. They were then given a white piece of paper on which they were asked to make a silhouette of themselves…this soon changed to a silhouette of something that is meaningful to them. 06The filled this with different small, living and moving characters. They did this first in pencil before adding colour. It was up to the learners to use their own creativity to add whatever they wanted to finish off these artworks!


Grade 7 – Poster design

It was that time of year again…play time for the grade 7s.

By ‘play time’ I obviously mean the well worked out and very impressive dramatic productions that the grade 7s do each year. This year they were going to be covering a number of well known musicals such as Greece, West side story, Annie and Mary Poppins through the eyes of a wandering pair that get lost during a dance to the ‘time warp’.

The grade 7s put a lot of work into these plays and they are always worth watching! Last year I had a little bit of difficulty fitting the grade 7s artwork in with their rehearsals so this year I decided: “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.” I introduced the learners to a bit of poster design, more particularly, movie poster design. They were also introduced to the concepts of Emphasis, Contrast, Balance and Scale/proportion. These are a few of the principles of design that help to make art effective. They then had to make a poster for one of their plays!

The lesson began with a bit of a brain storm and thumbnail sketching as the learners tried to come up with a unique idea. I was very impressed with what came out of the learners! They then chose their favorite idea and got down to making.

A few of the ideas were very clever and allowed a successful poster to be made very quickly. Others had to have more time spent on them but still resulted in beautiful work! We then stuck the posters up around the school to advertise the plays.

Grade 7 – Ed Hardy Tshirt


This is a project I have been quite keen on doing for a while now! When I was growing up, Ed Hardy was a big name in our world. Ed Hardy clothes were all the rage! I thought that the grade 7s would like the look of his designs.

The project began with a PowerPoint that briefly looked at designer Ed Hardy, his biography and some of what he made. Ed Hardy studied fine arts before going to Japan and learning more about tattooing. This Eastern influence gave him the edge when he returned to America and began life as a tattoo artist. He later went into fashion, using some of the same designs he had made for tattoos but not placing them on clothing.

We discussed some of his works, looking at his use of the elements of art and some of the principles of design. The grade 7s were asked to imagine that Ed Hardy had come to them and come up with a new South African design for a Tshirt. This design should be authentically South African while still linking in with the Ed Hardy brand. The designs had to have a clear focal point as well as making use of pattern.

After brainstorming and drawing a few thumbnail sketches, the learners were given a Tshirt template, on which they drew their design. This is what was marked. The final lesson saw learners who were finished getting a square piece of fabric and, using fabric paint, painting their design on fabric.

The project was a success and it being on a Tshirt template printed on A4 paper, fairly simple to mark. It was interesting to see what the learners saw as representing our country. A number of the learners were obviously influenced by the news and it must be said that the views expressed are not those of Camps Bay Primary School! Next time I do something similar however I will give a bit more time for the fabric part!