From this point on the most important part of our summer sketching project is going to be time. Although their will be specific goals to the exercises we do my main goal will be to get my children to spend hour long segments of time sketching in their sketchbooks. Sketching and drawing are like any other disciplines, the more you do it the better you become.
Today's exercise were done with just the smaller kids because they were the only ones art home!
Exercise 1 - Copying Shapes
The purpose of this exercise is to help the children realize that when I'm talking about shapes I am not just talking about the shapes they recognize (squares, circles, triangles). It is also to help them see, that when they need to, they can carefully measure a shape to get closer to what it really looks like.
I began by drawing some random shapes at the top of a couple of sketchbook pages and ask them to copy the shapes in the space below. Although they both did a fantastic job they found it to be mentally challenging. This is a great introduction to the thought process involved in drawing.... it is a mentally taxing challenge even to the seasoned artist.
At one point they were both very frustrated so I introduced the ideas of treating the shape as a connect the dot exercise. If you can accurately place the dots drawing the lines between is simple. When they struggles with this concept as well I introduced a ruler to help them line up the proper placement of the dots. This is very similar to what an artist will do with a plumb line when painting from life. The eight year old did well at this. This six year old was ready to draw monsters.
He's the happiest monster I've ever met! It looks like he is doing some type of dance! I can't find Cole's monster but trust me.... it was scary.
I next asked them to draw a scene that had a house and a tree swing. Here are the results.
The children do very well at sketching from their mind and it is a great way to get them drawing for long periods of time and the crazier the suggestion the better: train crashes, a dog climbing a tree, a bear being chased by a mouse.... Use your imagination.... if it's really silly they will enjoy it!
Our last little project on this trip was to combine sketching from out heads and using our water colors to brighten things up. I have two words of advice here:
- Buy them some better water color brushes. The ones that come with cheap water colors are terrible.
- Try and teach them NOT to press down hard with the brush. Your will have to watch them on this. Most children like to scrub and this will destroy the brush and cause them to have little control. Once they get used to lightly applying the paint (several paintings from now!) they will be able to put it on as freely as they did with the old smooooshy method!
Here's what my kids did with a butterfly.
In our next trip the children will be sketching several objects from life. I've got by doubts about how this will go but we'll give it a shot.