Social media opens up a whole world of lesson possibilities which the learners would love! Edgar Artis is an amazing instagram fashion illustrator who is very popular. As soon as I discovered him I knew my grade 6s would love his work! I decided to do a project around his style.
The lesson began with a figure drawing session. Various members of the class took turns posing for their friends while their friends practiced drawing from observation. When the next week I told them they could either choose their favourite posed drawing, or choose from a selection of images I had, and draw a model. I asked them to complete the drawing as much as possible with colour and outlines etc. This finished, they then began adding the clothing.
Edgar Artis does this using a various media, the stranger and the more unexpected, he greater the impact! The learners had to do this as well. They loved this step! They used old fabric, feathers (these were a favorite), beads and even seeds to create their clothing. Once it was finished, we cut out the model and pasted it onto black card which we could add details to using metallic pens.
The grade 6s were just finishing with their funny/funky head sculptures. This happened in drips and drabs. I started thinking about what we could do to extend this project. I thought of somehow integrating photography.
I knew of some conceptual artists like Sandy Skoglund and a South African artist Jane Alexander who had done artwork around a sculpture. I also follow a blogger who takes photos of various toys in strange locations. I used all of these as inspiration!
I took photos of my own creature in strange places and showed these to the class. I explained about composition and camera angles as well as lighting. I also showed a simple video on composition tips by a world renown photographer.
As soon as the learners finished their model, they could fetch their phones/ ipads and take it on a walk about to find interesting locations to photograph their creatures. I showed them how I was looking for interesting pics that tell a story!
This year the grade 6s had other cultures as a soft theme in art. In celebration of Chinese new year in the first term I decided the grade 6s should make something to celebrate! I found very nice ideas online. One idea was to make a four part dragon using split pins so that it could still move.
I found images of Chinese dragons and a little video clip of the dance of the dragon taking place (they all recognized it from Kung Fu Panda). They then made their four parts of the dragon: head, two middle parts and tail. To save on paper I asked them to work in pairs. They then used off cuts to add decoration onto their dragons.
Finally we added sticks onto them so that the learners could control them!
I got this project from the Santam art teachers manual. The lesson began with a look at architecture from around the world and a discussion around the different forms. The learners then chose a culture they liked best (out of a selection of about 5) and began designing their buildings.
The end result they were going for was a pop up artwork where the learner created 3 main buildings which popped off a flat but beautiful landscape. This years grade 6 group is very creative and always do something which surprises me.
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 on 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.
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!
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.