7th Grade – Colored Pencil Techniques and Still Life

7th Grade – Colored Pencil Techniques and Still Life

Description of the Unit –

Students will learn and practice essential colored pencil techniques involving mark-making and shading to create a still life.

Activity statement –

Coloring with colored pencils can be a deeply rich and satisfying experience. Something about the feel of the medium as it is spread across paper, and then combined with other colors to slowly come to life, can be both thrilling and meditative. Given some basic techniques students can achieve highly rewarding results.

7th grade colored pencil still life in progress of persimmons in a bowl on a table
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress

Students will practice some basic techniques by completing a mark-making and shading chart that will include hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, scribbling, burnishing and layering. Together we discuss the types of textures and effects we might try to achieve when choosing to use hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and scribbling. When discussing and demonstrating these first four techniques I will stress the importance of pressure, and how hard pressure produces bolder, thicker color, while lighter pressure, of course, produces and softer, lighter color. I have students practice controlling pressure on pieces of scratch paper, for even in 7th grade some students have not yet finessed the fine motor coordination to control how lightly or heavily they apply the pencil.

7th grade mark-making and shading techniques in colored pencil, including hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, scribbling, layering and burnishing
7th grade mark-making and shading techniques in colored pencil

Next we review light and shadow, going over the terms core shadow, cast shadow, occlusion shadow and highlight, and discuss the direction from which the source light needs to come in order to create the shadows, as well as discussing which of the shadows are the darkest. We then observe works in colored pencil and discuss where and how burnishing and layering were used to express three-dimension and shifts in value (shadow). Layering is an especially important technique to use not only to express changes in light and shadow, but color and texture of an object, as most objects when rendered realistically are not made up of one single color, but rather combinations of congruous color.

While sheltering in place during Covid 19 I made a video tutorial for this lesson:

Goals – Students should

Understand:

  • Why, when rendering realistic representations in colored pencil, one would choose to use the various techniques taught in this lesson (i.e., to produce certain effects of light and shadow, express texture, etc.)

Know:

  • The meaning of the following techniques: hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, layering, burnishing, scribbling
  • The meaning of the term ‘congruous colors’

Be able to:

  • Produce the above techniques in colored pencil
  • Choose from among the above techniques to produce certain realistic effects
  • Identify highlights, form (core) shadows and cast shadows in an image

Objectives – Students will:

  • Use the colored pencil techniques practiced in this lesson to render one realistic still life drawing

Resources and materials –

  • Examples of still life in colored pencil
  • Still life photo references, if right lighting not available
  • 9×12 white paper (or grayscale paper)
  • Colored pencils
  • Sharpeners
  • Erasers

Questions –

  • What might you want to use a hatching technique for?
  • What might you want to use a cross-hatching technique for?
  • Why would you use the dark, dense lines in hatching?
  • Why would you use light and spread-out lines in hatching?
  • When might you want to use the layering effect?
  • When might you want to use the burnishing effect?
  • What do you envision using stippling for?
  • What do you envision using scribbling for?
  • Can you also use layering and/or burnishing when stippling or scribbling?
  • What are congruous colors?
  • Where are the highlights in this image?
  • Where are the form shadows in this image?
  • Where are the cast shadows?
  • What is darker, the form shadow or the cast shadow?

Evaluation – Did students:

  • Effectively demonstrate skill at the various colored pencil techniques taught in this lesson?
  • Thoughtfully and purposefully use the techniques to represent aspects of light, shadow, texture and color in a still life?

Informal:

  • Student questions
  • Group discussions
  • Completed still life
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress of a bowl of cherries
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress, drawing of a pitcher with grapes and a pear on a table
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress, drawing of three pears
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress
7th grade colored pencil still life of three small pumpkins
7th grade colored pencil still life
7th grade colored pencil still life of a red apple, green apple and an orange on a plate
7th grade colored pencil still life (this one was made using the image from the video tutorial)
7th grade colored pencil still life of a blue jug, a bowl of pears and four pears on a table
7th grade colored pencil still life
7th grade colored pencil still life of a pitcher with cherries in it, and a pear to the side
7th grade colored pencil still life
7th grade colored pencil still life of three bruised pears
7th grade colored pencil still life
7th grade colored pencil still life of an eggplant
7th grade colored pencil still life; student used charcoal for the black background
7th grade colored pencil still life of five tomatoes
7th grade colored pencil still life; student used chalk pastel for the background

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