Category: Drawing

Arabic Geometric ‘Tiles’

Arabic Geometric ‘Tiles’

Description of the Unit – Students will explore the centuries-old geometric patterns found in Islamic architecture. Students will use mathematical techniques as instructed in Eric Bourg’s marvelous book, Islamic Geometric Patterns, to re-create a variety of the patterns they have explored through their observations.

Examples of 6th grade students' Arabic geometric "tiles" made by using mathematical steps as given in Eric Bourg's book "Islamic Geometric Patterns"
Examples of my 6th grade students’ Islamic geometric ’tiles’ elaborated from steps given in Eric Bourg’s book Islamic Geometric Patterns.
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7th Grade – Fashion Design

7th Grade – Fashion Design

Description of the Unit – Students will create their own fashion line, featuring at least three different looks that share a unifying theme, be it color, pattern, line or particular article of clothing or accessory.

Photo of a catwalk for men's fashion
Students will attempt to create a fashion line of at least three pieces unified by a theme of some kind
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7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing movement, balance and repetition with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

This unit revisits a second-grade unit which also focused on the Hourloupe to practice line and pattern; here we go further to practice the above-mentioned principles of design.

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3rd Grade – Paul Klee’s Magic Square Series

3rd Grade – Paul Klee’s Magic Square Series

Description of the Unit –

Students delve into a particular period of Paul Klee’s art, the “Magic Square” series. Students use their observations of Klee’s work to create their own cityscape in oil pastels, focusing primarily on geometric shapes and using one tone of color dotted with its complementary color.

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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
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6th Grade – Chiaroscuro Still Life Drawing and CJ Hendry

6th Grade – Chiaroscuro Still Life Drawing and CJ Hendry

Description of the Unit –

We begin by diving into the fascinating art of CJ Hendry. Hendry expresses having no formal art training and considers herself “not very creative.” Yet she’s a dedicated, innovative artist whose works are primarily hyper-realistic, large scale pencil drawings of (mostly) luxury objects that sometimes take 200 hours to complete. Working with pencil on paper her pieces are achieved through layers of what she refers to as scribbles. Watching her work (you can see some fun videos of her at work here: https://youtu.be/KB8vc9M4QWs and https://youtu.be/KixMpzhMS-o) students become awe-struck by the way her tireless pencil strokes become such lifelike, more-than-photographic representations of real-life objects. They wonder aloud how she does it, exclaiming that they would love to draw like Hendry. I tell them that this unit will give them a foundation for getting there.

two images of artist CJ Hendryy working on her drawings, one of a pair of men's Gucci shoes, another of a boxing glove
CJ Hendry working on her compelling, hyper-realistic drawings
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5th Grade – Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins

5th Grade – Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins

Description of the Unit –

Yayoi Kusama is one of my favorite contemporary artists. Her irreverence, originality, rebelliousness and whimsy have won my heart, as have her personal struggles with mental illness. An artist whose work always surprises and delights, I love to bring her life story and work to my students.

Together we explore and discuss the work of this seminal Japanese artist, whose pioneering installations have enthralled visitors to her work over the last several decades. Using her iconic polka-dotted pumpkins as inspiration, students will emphasize the elements of line, color and shape, and well as principles of pattern, repetition and movement, in their own brightly colored pumpkins.

The indomitable Yayoi Kusama at work
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3rd Grade – Wayne Thiebaud’s Desserts

3rd Grade – Wayne Thiebaud’s Desserts

Description of the Unit –

The class will observe and discuss the work of contemporary American painter Wayne Thiebaud, focusing especially on his dessert paintings. Using similar characteristics as seen on Thiebaud’s paintings, students will create their own dessert composition in oil and chalk pastels.

Activity statement –

According to the Jim Kempner Fine Art website, “Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) is an American painter best known for his still life paintings of edible treats and everyday objects in his singular illustrative style” (https://jimkempnerfineart.com/wayne-thiebaud.php ). His most popular subject matter includes cakes in colorful pastel hues, slices of pie, candies such as lollipops, cupcakes, and interestingly, the streets of San Francisco. His paintings generally include thick, bold applications of stylized color, highly defined shadows, and cartoon-like line. His approach to painting gives his desserts a tactile, textured feel. Students will consider using these same characteristics to create the composition of one sweet treat (or treats) of their own, while also considering the placement of the light source in their design, so as to properly express a form and cast shadow.

Wayne Thiebaud’s “Cake Rows” (1960’s), and “Confections” (1962)
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