To learn about drawing we begin with lines, and according to "Harold and the Purple Crayon", a line is a dot that goes for a walk. Everywhere he walks with his purple crayon, new and exciting things happen. He solves problems with lines. Kindergartners can tell you all about it! "A line is a dot that goes for a walk"....It's catchy. We like to chant it. Don't judge, we're trying to remember important stuff here. Anyway, this story helps us see that lines can be anything we want them to be and that lines can be used to tell our very own stories. So lets talk about lines a bit...
There are lots n lots of different types of lines (zig-zag, curvy, spiral, swirl, dotted, thick, thin, etc.). In order to use them in our art, we need to know how to draw them well. After carefully drawing the different types of lines with pencil, we traced them with Sharpie. It's a big responsibility to use a Sharpie. They're a big kid tool. They have scary words on them like "permanent". We had to learn how to use them properly and it was a big deal. They took it very seriously and I was super proud of them.
Tracing well is sorta like driving a car. You want the car to stay on the road so life stays neat and tidy. Right? Right. Well, you want the Sharpie to stay on the pencil line so your lines are neat and tidy and you have less erasing to do later. But, tables shake when folks accidentally bump into them, we sneeze unexpectedly sometimes, weird things happen that cause us to wander from our lines and then we really need erasers. My husband (also an art teacher) calls it "Captain Eraser" because erasers are like superheroes that save your art! To use them effectively we learn to erase inside the letter "L" made with our hand. If you stay inside of that letter "L" you can erase well without wrinkling or tearing your paper (I always demo that and we talk about how sad it is to hurt your art after investing all that time in creating it!). You just have to keep moving your hand letter around your paper carefully, checking to be sure you get all of those pencil lines. It's easy, and they're getting pretty good at erasing!
When all of the erasing is complete, it's paint time! WAAAAHOOOOOOOO!!!!! YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!! We all LOVE to paint! Since this was our first time painting in art class we talked about how to use painting tools. Happy brushes have great hair, not dry crazy bad hair day do's. We learned that to use watercolor paints you need water on your brush. Makes sense! We tried to carefully paint between our lines, taking our time, trying to fill in our white spaces.
We learned that adding more water made your colors lighter so you could have colors like pink! We really love PINK! We learned that to darken colors to use a bit less water, but not too much less (they'll get too sticky when they dry), or to paint over it again after it dries. We learned what happens when we overlap colors. New colors! Awesome!
I usually have two small cookie sheets of watercolors prepped for painting projects (I take them out of the trays they come in and learned this trick from a teacher pal of mine). One tray has all of the colors in a basic set, and the other has only primaries (for when I want students to mix their own colors). Before school starts I typically go through them and clean the paints up, replace empty colors, and make sure they're ready to go for school! This year was a little different. Sadly. Not all of my paints had arrived yet so I wasn't able to prep them as usual. So, what to do? For this project students used both trays instead of the usual one, but we squeaked through! We learned about cleaning brushes before using another color. We gently swish brushes in water and on paint colors, never tapping our brushes or digging into the paint. Tapping brushes on the sides of water dishes makes splatters and causes spills. They're really good at sharing supplies with the person that sits next to them. We love to share!
Students love being able to choose. Rather than requiring them to use colors in a certain order for this project they were able to choose what they liked and could use a whole lot of their favorite colors (unless it was yellow or red, because those colors hadn't come in yet and we were running dangerously low on those).
All of this line work prepped us for our next big line adventure! Stay tuned for more about lines.....we're drawing some really neat-o things and sharing some imaginative ideas. You'll love it!