Wow, what an all around fabulous job the second and third-grade campers did at Camp Collins. We couldn't be more proud of their positive attitudes, their willingness to help out in any way, their fun-loving nature, their cooperation, their adventurous spirit, their good manners and their courage. They persevered with joy, showed hardiness in being away from home and trying new things. They will no doubt be stronger from this experience. Moreover, the memories they created and the laughter they shared with one another will last them a lifetime. Their awesomeness was beyond words.
One of the most satisfying drawing skills to build on is animals. Kids from the earliest ages of depicting representational objects tend to show images of animals around them--dogs, cats, birds, horses and farm animals, to name a few. One of my favorite things to do is to see how the young artists can represent animals in their age-appropriate styles--there is nothing more beautiful and raw in nature than children's renderings of real objects--theirs is a style that is difficult to replicate as an adult. Additionally, drawing animals provides an endless supply of inspiration depending on which part of the animal kingdom one turns to for ideas. For the second graders, we have done a couple of animal drawing exercises, one that gave them the option of drawing any kind of animal, and one where each student will be focusing on their high desert animal of choice, which they are researching for their storyline.
As with any representational drawing (drawing of a "thing"), the most important skill to hone is the ability to observe. This is something that comes more naturally to some than others. But observing details and noting say, the size and placement of an animal's ears, can be the difference between your monkey looking like a monkey, or looking more like a bear. Also, the basic shape of animal bodies is key in learning to draw them. Some are easier to observe than others--of course, the shape of a fish is going to be much more simple than the shapes that make up a horse. But the same rules do apply--start of sketching the simple shapes until you get the whole body of the animal, before moving onto adding small details such as eyes, fur texture, and claws. This process is a bit challenging for the second graders, but I have really been impressed with their growth, just in practicing. And, like any skill to master, drawing takes LOTS of practice! I absolutely loved their first animal renderings in which we did simple shapes with oil pastel, smeared out our lines, and used watercolor in fun, complementary (opposite) colors to paint them. Our next project is a bit of a secret, but shall be revealed at the end of Storyline. It involves much of the same technique, but with a few extra touches that will give each piece a unique style, while using more realistic colors and details to stay true to their animal and the high desert habitat. These pieces will accompany another creative part to Storyline, but...I am not spilling the beans on any of it!
-Ms. Meadow, PK-12 Art Teacher