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.

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Grade 4 – Self portraits

This project comes from the Santam creative art teaching manual.

The learners had to begin by looking at themselves in a mirror and drawing themselves using stick and ink on an A4 piece of paper.

They cut this out and then took a ready prepared, square piece of paper which they drew borders onto before pasting their self portrait onto it. At this point we took a little break to go outside and enjoy nature. On returning to the class, the learners used either warm or cool coloured crayons to draw plants behind their self portrait inside the borders they had drawn. around the outside of the border they wrote words that they thought of when they thought of nature or their image.

99% of these artworks turned out beautifully! The learners did very well!

Grade 4 – Tonal landscape

This is a simple way to introduce learners to atmospheric perspective. I got the idea for this site from this blog.

Basically, learners begin by sketching out a simple landscape. They just have to show the outlines of the different layers of the landscape. It is important that the learners understand that their landscape will need to have ‘layers’ or significant divides in order for this project to work. A number of my learners wanted to do the sea which wouldn’t really work, unless it was the back layer.

They then choose a colour of one hue (for example: red, orange or green). The top layer they leave white; The second layer they mix white with their colour and paint the second layer with this colour; The next layer they paint with the pure colour; They then mix black with their colour and paint the next layer with this darker colour; and the final layer (the one which will look closest to the viewer) they paint black. It is a good way to teach learners about value of colour.

I reminded them that having layers overlap each other enhances the effect of depth. Also, increasing the size of foreground images helps. There was still a fair amount of freedom given to the learners and some of the artworks amazed me with their creativity!

Grade 4 – Stretched Capetonians

I was wondering through the streets of Cape Town and noticed a number of artworks being sold in markets and on pavements. I thought they could make a great artwork at school!

After introducing the learners to this street art (many of them had seen it before anyway), I gave each learner a piece of A2 paper cut in half so that it was extra long. They had to imagine a situation which they could be in. They had to draw themselves as a stretched person! They could also draw some things in the background. They then used oil pastels to colour themselves and any other significant objects in before using watercolour paints to fill the background with colour.

The learners did really well! Two of these artworks actually won awards in the local Eisteddfod competition!

Grade 6 – Chuck Close

This artwork focused on the American artist Chuck Close. Now a number of the learners at our school (as at any school) have great obstacles that they have and will have to overcome in their lives. Chuck Close is an artist who overcame the hugest of hurdles to become a world famous artist. For one, he is a quadriplegic. For another, he has prosopagnosia, which makes it almost impossible for him to recognize faces.  He began painting portraits, in part, to overcome this difficulty. You can watch a small intro video to Chuck Close HERE.

Our learners first learned about Mr Close and his background. They then learned the technique he uses to make huge, super realistic portraits using paint and other media. He divides his canvas up into a grid which correlates to a grid drawn on a smaller photo of a persons face. Instead of focusing on the picture as a whole, he transfers the image block by block (Often called the grid method). We took the concept of the grid method and pushed it, using the grid as a creative tool.

Though some of the learners struggled a bit with expanding an A4 p

age to the A3 paper using the grid method, the learners creativity made up for this. The end results of the project speak for themselves, The artworks are beautiful!