Monday, April 3, 2017

Perspective Drawings

Let's just agree right now that perspective drawings can be tough. This year was even tougher. Why? Because I changed the way I taught this lesson and I'm glad I did. There's usually a method to my madness, so let me explain...

Perspective drawing helps kids appreciate dimensional qualities of work, they see that overlapping objects can show that something is in front of something else, that things far away are smaller than things that are close. It takes everything we've learned about using basic shapes in our artwork to the next level. 

We looked at examples of perspective in pictures of places from around the world. We discussed the little details of many different kinds buildings, the streets, the shops, and shared the parts we liked best. 

And then we drew together. We did basic guided drawings of horizon lines with vanishing points. We drew cubes above, on, and below those horizon lines with rulers. And then we got silly. We turned those cubes and rectangular prisms into floating toasters, trucks, and butter dishes. Yes, even butter dishes. 

I told stories while drawing my examples on the board about the way my counter looks after my kids make toast with butter. We talked about the crumbs, the lid being left off of the butter dish, the butter knife being too close to the edge of the counter (sometimes), much to the delight of my dog that loves to try to lick anything buttery. They giggled, and some admitted their own buttery toast mess guilt. They could relate to what we were practicing together. They could tap into their real lives, real experiences, their interests.  

In kindergarten we learned that shapes are used as the parts of our drawings. As 3rd graders we learned how to turn 3D shapes into a variety of furniture. And now I was asking them to turn 3D shapes into anything, everything, be creative! Having ideas, generating ideas, being inspired, mish-mashing things you like together to make something new, those are not always easy things to do. I'm an adult and sometimes I still struggle to accomplish these things. But they're important. Future bosses will be looking for creative problem solvers. Thinkers and doers. Ideas. Grit. We're attempting that. 

Some embraced the freedom to create anything they wanted in perspective while others struggled with deciding on what to draw. I wanted them to own it, to know it was theirs and not mine or ours. As students worked they critiqued each other, asked me questions, we solved things that didn't seem quite right. They had to consider details that were important to them. 

The freedoms continued with how to apply color. Some students love painting, others prefer colored pencils, still others enjoy markers. Several combined various mediums and some even tried something new. 

Allowing freedoms can sometimes mean lesser quality for hall displays, but I'm so glad I gave them this opportunity to push themselves, make decisions, solve problems, and to explore.

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