I've been teaching an after-school art class and am loving working with young kids again. One of the first lessons we did was inspired by one of my very favorite artists, Brian Wildsmith and specifically his book, BIRDS. I am in awe of his use of color and texture and could look at his images for hours. I'm including some reference links at the end of this post if you are interested in finding out more about him.
This lesson was with 7 - 10 year olds and took about an hour and a half. We looked at the book BIRDS and discussed the general shape of each bird by outlining it with our fingers and talked about the many layers of color and how different marks were used to create texture.
The kids decided what kind of bird they wanted to make and drew the basic body shape on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Try to make sure the channels inside the cardboard are running vertically. If they wanted, they could also add three dimensional elements such as wings and eyes from separate pieces of cardboard. Since the cardboard is thick some of them needed help cutting them out.
Besides looking beautiful, oil pastels blend well to achieve those multiple layers of color that we were going for. Texture marks were added at the end.
They had several options for eyes: cardboard, color directly on their bird body, or white paper with black marker.
Feathers were poked into the channels of the corrugated cardboard and glued onto the body.
The feet were made from one chenille stem. Cut the chenille stem into six equal parts. Bundle three pieces and twist together half of it, leaving the untwisted pieces to be the toes/claws. Separate the three pieces - two toes in front, one in the back - and bend horizontally so the foot will stand up. Poke the twisted end of the foot piece into a channel of the corrugated cardboard on the bottom of the bird. You can use a pencil or such to make the holes a bit bigger if needed. Squeeze some glue in the hole too. (You can alternately tape or glue the feet to the back of the bird.)
While the feet are drying, the kids made the base for their bird to stand on. The swan stands on a dock while others are on branches in the sun and grass.
To finish, glue the birds feet onto the cardboard base and let them dry.
If you do this lesson I'd love to hear about your experience and see the results!
I love the marbled look of these heart-shaped crayons and they'd make a great addition to a Valentine card or package several together in cellophane bags. Find out how to make them at 100 Layer Cake-let.
Have you heard of International Dot Day? It all began with the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. It's a story about a little girl who didn't believe she was an artist and an art teacher who inspired her by telling her to "make a mark and see where it takes you".
After reading this book to his class, teacher Terry Shay decided to make his own mark and established International Dot Day on September 15th - a day to celebrate your own creativity and share it with the world. There are tons of ideas and inspiration around the web but I have gathered some of my favorite ideas here. Click over to International Dot Day for more information and a free teacher's guide with even more ideas and a printable certificate to hand out to students.