Collagraphs

4th graders have worked with many different medias this year: clay, watercolor, mod podge, graphite, wire, yarn. I missed a printmaking project! They have had so many projects this year where we spent a lot of time studying different artists and specific art movements. For one of their last projects of the school year, I wanted to give them the full freedom to choose their subject and only give them the media they must use.

A collagraph is a print from a printing plate made from recycled materials, like cardboard, that creates a collage like surface. Students watched this video to learn about this simple process and then created their own.

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5th Graders “Hired” in the Art Department on New Tim Burton Production

The last 5th grade unit that I was a part of was another that I designed and began teaching myself but was unable to finish as my time student teaching in the elementary came to a quick end and I had to move on to high school. I am a huge fan of mixed media art, printmaking, and movies so I decided to implement all of those elements into 1 unit and “hire” the 5th graders as my Art Department who would be working as character designers and developers, storyboard artists, and as printmakers.

Many people are familiar with the movie director, Tim Burton, who is famous for such films as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Fish, Frakenweenie, as well as many others. What many people are unfamiliar with is that he is also an artist and that he designs all of his characters himself and develops his storyline from there. There is a featured article in The Scholastic Art magazine on Tim Burton’s artistic philosophy and process that inspired this unit.

http://www.art.scholastic.com/issues/11_01_12/book#/10

I believe that his artistic philosophy is extremely important to teach young artists and I posted some of his quotes around the room for students to see.

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And the quote that inspired the our lesson……

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We began our unit looking at, analyzing, and interpreting character drawings done by Tim Burton but I kept the fact that all of the drawings were done by Tim Burton a secret in the beginning. Some character drawings I showed the students included…

We discussed the common themes in how all of the characters were drawn/painted, the style that the artist used and we learned the terms disproportionate, elongated, fanciful, gestural, expressive, and surreal. I also asked the students to come up with a quick back story for each character just by looking at them and what they came up with was absolutely hysterical and very creative! I asked if they knew who the artist was that created all of these characters and the most common response I received was Pablo Picasso, so I showed them a few more characters done by the artist that they might recognize ūüôā

I then congratulated them on being “hired” as the art department on an up and coming Tim Burton film and there job was to design and develop a character and create a storyboard to “present to Time Burton”. In order to make our art room seem more like the art department on a movie set I gave each day we worked a title.

Day 1 of Production – CHARACTER DESIGN

On the first day their task was to design and draw an interesting character using Tim Burton’s style of drawing as inspiration.

Day 2 of Production – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

We finished designing and drawing our characters and then transferred those character drawings onto linoleum blocks and began carving out our blocks in preparation for printmaking. We discussed simplifying and negative space. Everyone had a great experience carving out linoleum blocks for the first time, just like professional printmakers. They will be using their character prints and cutting and pasting them into their storyboards rather than drawing out the character every single time in each frame.

Day 3 & 4 of Production – CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND STORYBOARDING

I showed the students a short video of how a professional storyboard corresponds to the actual movie and we discussed narration and storytelling through visuals. We were going to be doing a slightly shorter storyboard and I asked the students to sum up their character’s story in only 4 frames. They were given a variety of supplies and asked to draw out each of the 4 major scenes but not forgetting to leave room in each scene for their character print. The imaginations and creative ideas I witnessed working with the students was absolutely amazing.


Sadly I wasn’t able to be there when the students did the printmaking and finished their storyboards as my student teaching obligations took me to West High School but I can’t wait to see all of the finished products in upcoming blog posts!

Jim Dine Inspired Hearts

Part of being a student teacher is to slowly take over all of the responsibilities of the cooperating classroom teacher including planning lessons, teaching all of the classes in their schedule, and in this case, the blog!

The first lesson that I taught at Huegel Elementary was inspired by the artwork of American Pop Artist, Jim Dine.

One of the challenges that many art teachers face is not having their own room in which to teach. Instead, they may have their own storage space and will travel from classroom to classroom teaching “art from a cart” or, in the case at Huegel, they may share a room with other academic disciplines and teachers. The main challenge that exists in the shared room at Huegel is that there is no sink in the room. I am extremely fortunate that I am able to experience this type of teaching situation while still student teaching as it allows me the help and guidance of a cooperating teacher, while planning and teaching the lessons in a non-traditional art room. Along with many art teachers who teach off a cart and/or in a shared art room, I was determined to not let that hinder the student’s art experience!

With a few adaptations, such as buckets of water for cleaning and clothesline for drying prints, the students were able to create amazing artworks that incorporated printmaking and mixed media.

As a class, we started off having a discussion about the artwork of Pop Artist Jim Dine, specifically his artwork depicting hearts. We discussed the symbolism, color, pattern, expression, and abstraction in his artwork.

After being inspired by Jim Dine’s “Heartwork”, the students began making their own heart shaped block using styrofoam plates and pencils. Instead of ink, we used black and white tempera paint to make a variety of different heart prints on a variety of colored construction paper. The following week the students cut out their heart prints and included them into their own Jim Dine inspired artwork which included oil pastel and watercolor resist painting.

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The results were absolutely stunning!

K/1 Thumbprints

I had strep throat and scarlet fever, at the same time.¬† Ick.¬† It’s no fun being sick and missing four days of school is a lot of school to miss.¬† It is hard to plan lessons that will be educational and lessons that a non-art substitute teacher won’t have a problem presenting.¬† Art for Small Hands does a great job writing out lesson plans so it is easy for anyone to present the lesson.¬† I really love how she has questions for getting the students to talk about their art and responses to questions they may have as they create their work.

Julie Voight is the blogger for Art with Small Hands.  I love her principles for any adult teaching art to children:

1) Instruct but do not do. Discuss a child’s work. Demonstrate techniques. Share ideas. But do not touch the work itself.
2) Never start with a pre-cut shape. Never trace. Start from scratch. A child’s circle will be more interesting than your own.
3) Quality materials and an organized, inviting workspace are an essential backdrop for creative chaos. Invest in good supplies and take time to set up.
4) Look. Look at the greats; no child is too young for art history. Look at the world; learning to make art is learning to see and find pleasure in details.

This particular lesson is in inspired by Ed Emberley‘s book Great Thumbprint Drawing.

Students began by printing their thumbs on their paper.  This is a wonderful introduction to basic printmaking.

Then they were able to create characters and stories making each thumbprint different.

I love the art making process with children.¬† My favorite part is hearing the story that goes along with each beautiful piece but I’ll have to imagine the stories along with you this time.


Can you come up with your own story to go along with each of these beautiful creations?