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 – 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!


Grade 7 – Architecture project

20160223_081438Last term was a fairly short one for us in the Grade 7 art department. Various events saw us having to miss a few art periods. We focused the whole term on just one project, and it was a big one!

The learners were first introduced to architecture as well as Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was an amazing architect whose work almost merged fantasy with reality. I thought the learners would like him to.

The idea for the project came from a page . For a while it had an online 3D ‘game’ where you were guided through the process of choosing a client and designing a house to meet that clients needs.

Our project began with three of the learners introducing three made up clients: A hippy mom with lots of children, a celebrity chef and a Oxford scholar. They had to choose one of these clients and start designing a house for them.

The practical outcomes of the project were a floor plan of the building done on Sketchbook (A program made by Autodesk); a visualization drawing of what the final building might look like from the outside; and a 3D model of the final building.

I didn’t know what to expect from the learners but what I got blew me away! They really enjoyed the project and their work showed it! A few made smaller but very well made buildings from clay while others incorporated recycled materials and made much larger models. The houses that were produced were of a very high quality as well as being creative and tailored for the clients needs!

Grade 7 – Past & Future

It was the last term of the final year of Primary School and our Grade 7’s were on their future. They were thinking about the High School they were going to, whether they would still see their friends and other things their future might bring. At the same time thinking about and reminiscing on their time at Camps Bay Primary School.

For their last art project of 2015, I decided to bring in these interests. The project began with a teacher led brainstorm about, first, their past in Primary School and then second, their plans and hopes for their future.

Metaphorically, these brainstorms were used as ‘juicers’ to get the ‘creative juices’ of the learners flowing and ensure that the process of art making was kept ‘well lubricated’. The project was split into several steps:

Step 1: Design and fill an A4 page with drawings that link in with the learner’s past in Primary School or past in general. This was to be done in fine liner (though I was not averse to learners trying different things if they wanted to).

Step 2: Cut out pictures that link in with your goals for the future, both in High School and life, from magazines. Create an A4 collage with these.

Step 3: Turn the collage page over and draw a symbol that represents yourself on the back. (Learners drew everything from hearts to suns to surfboards!) Cut this out.

Step 4: Stick the colorful, more abstract symbol onto the black and white background (The thought was that the learners were placing their colorful and glossy future over their black and white past).

Many of the learners enjoyed this project though I would have liked to do it a bit earlier in the year as to interest grade 7s in any work in the last term is a challenge! I’ve put up a few of the images I got in (I let a number of the learners take their projects home with them last year if they wanted to).