Saturday, December 4, 2010

Drawing Lesson for Kids in Shading

We had a fabulous lesson in shading last week. We spent the first half of the class performing exercises to better familiarize ourselves with the many shades of gray. For example, we practiced using a single soft pencil to fill in, or shade, multiple simple squares; first we began with a white square, and slowly progressed to our darkest gray square. After pencils, we moved on to the much more fun Chinese drawing inks.

Next, we practiced cross hatching (a technique used to create shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines) with pencil, and later moved on to cross hatching with pens. Its so exciting to watch the light bulb go on in a child's head when they realize just how powerful an easy to learn technique like cross hatching can be.

For the second half of the class, I set up a simple still life consisting of boxes and cylinders wrapped in plain paper. The idea is to minimize visual distractions so the children really focus on observing the light and dark areas of the still life. It was a wonderful day, so we had lots of beautiful natural light casting some great shadows. My young students really looked closely at exactly where shadows were falling, and seemed quite challenged -- the kids had to erase more than a few times.

A lovely drawing by one of my 10 year olds.

Another fine example of shading by one of my 7 year olds.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Children's Gift Ideas for the Holidays

We have a couple of birthdays coming up on the weekend and with Christmas around the corner its time to start thinking about gifts. I love to put together gift bags of my favorite art supplies, they're always a hit with the kids and their parents. For this weekends birthday parties I'm putting together painting supply gift bags.

Here are some ideas beyond crayons and markers:

Canvas Painting Kit:
A small stretched canvas, a few bottles of fun colored poster paints or tubes of acrylic paints. Keep the colors fun (pink, purple, orange, teal, bright green, orange or yellow) and a bottle/tube of black or white. A selection of brushes in different sizes.

Drawing Kit:
A sketch book of heavy weight paper, Caran d'Ache water soluble crayons, a couple of water soluble graphite pencils, and good quality drawing pencils. I like a selection of soft wood less pencils 2b, 4b and 8b, and of course, a good quality pencil sharpener. And finally, don't forget to include a set of chalk pastels and an eraser.

Collage Kit:
A sketch book with some nice heavy paper, glue stick, glitter glue, craft scissors that cut in a fancy patterns (zig zag, wavy, etc), a large ziploc bag full of random things to collage with(pieces of wrapping paper, bits of ribbon, fabric bits, feathers, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, you get the idea) and a couple of rolls of fun colored masking tape.

In Seattle, I love to stock up at The Artist and Craftsman, check out their web-site. They have absolutely everything and they always have a few sizes of stretched canvases for ridiculously cheap.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mixed Media Paintings of Garden Views

This week we were painting views of the garden as seen through the studio windows. The kids used oil pastels to draw with and then water colors and inks to finish their projects. I love that the 3 paintings are completely different although the kids were drawing from the same views.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blind Contour Line Drawing

Blind contour line drawings are great warm up exercises, and one of my favorite ways to get kids to slow down and observe their subjects and not their drawings. During last weeks class the kids were drawing each other, it was, however, very tempting for the students to keep checking their drawings and make corrections. This week I'll bring in mirrors to do self portraits using a large paper grocery bag trick. The kids will put their sketch books inside large grocery bags and draw.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learning to Draw

Learning to draw is like learning and mastering anything else. We sign up for a class, hire a personal trainer or teacher and then we have to practice. We need to set aside the time several times a week to draw, do some warm exercises, and then focus on observing our subject and drawing what we see. A comfortable place to sit, pencil, paper  some nice music in the background and that's it.

I came across this last night while I was researching some fun projects for an upcoming class.

Drawing is one of the most important activities you and your students can do. Drawing not only provides the basis for other creative activities - like painting, sculpture and printmaking - but it also provides a direct link with reading, writing and especially mathematics. The connection between drawing and geometric shapes and measurements simply cannot be denied. And do you know what else? Drawing is the single most accessible form of art available. All you need (to begin with), is a pencil and a sheet of paper.
~Andrea & Jan

Now go draw!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Check Out Our January Classes

I've just posted my January classes, be sure to check them out.  Class sizes are limited to 6-8 kids depending on the class, so sign up early. An Introduction to Drawing and Painting : Part I for kids ages 7-12 has 4 different sessions to choose from. There are lots of fun things planned for early dismissal days and professional day including a  Make your own Valentine's class.  All materials are included, just bring your imagination!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Classes

Welcome to Studio Kids. Now that my kids are both in school I'm looking forward to sharing my studio with your kids. Its an inspiring space with lots of natural light and large windows that look into the garden. Classes for home schoolers and after schoolers, private classes and workshops. First class starts this Thursday.
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