A directed drawing activity allows art students to gain immediate insight from their drawing lessons. Teaching students about specific principles such as depth, proportion, value or color and then guiding them in creating a work of art that implements those principles, allows students to understand how to draw compositions correctly. Use a directed drawing activity in your next art lesson to assist students in honing their visual skills and fine motor control.
Contour Drawing Activity
Outline or contour drawing is a simple activity where both beginning and advanced artists can gain valuable experience. Place a simple still life in the center of the classroom. The still life should contain basic geometric forms, such as a ball, box or cone for beginners and more complex, organic shapes such as a plant, water bottle or a household item. Give students drawing paper, pencils and a kneadable eraser. Instruct students to look at the item they see and draw the outline only. This activity assists students make visual connections with what they are drawing.
Color and Value
Teach students how use color to make a drawing come to life. Hand each student drawing paper and a collection of colored pencils. Use the pencils to discuss the differences between tints, shades and tones. A tint is a hue with white mixed in, a shade is a hue with black mixed in and a tone results when both white and black blend into the original hue. In this drawing activity layer different colors with both white, black and other hues to discuss the lightness or boldness of each color. Ask students to blend warm or cooler colors together to create a new hue. Discuss the effects of blending.
Drawing in proportion makes a flat, two-dimensional drawing look three-dimensional and real. Use the simple still life to show students how to draw in proportion. Give each student a drawing pencil, sheet of paper and a ruler. Ask them to draw a horizontal line across the paper to use as base reference point to place the sketch. Demonstrate using a pencil how to measure the size of each object in the still life, holding the pencil at an arm's length away from your body. Your fingers will act as a measurement, noting the length and width of an object on the length of the pencil. Students should then record the measurements they took with their pencil by marking the distance on the drawing paper.
Known for its random, scumble-like lines and loose nature, gesture drawing hones drawing skills, forcing students to record the actions of a composition quickly. Take your students on a walk in the park, each with a notebook and pencil. With a timer, allow students to draw an object they see for five or less minutes. When the timer is up, move on to another area to draw a new sketch. Encourage students to use their pencil freely, letting lines from the pencil indicate movement.
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