Sunday, 9 February 2014

Observational drawing with children

Since it's summer I thought I'd make the most of the good weather and plan some outside classes. We started the year with an observational drawing class, a lovely relaxed class which allowed the children to drift around our garden and draw what they could see.

Although drawing from observation is much more difficult than drawing from the imagination it's important to give it a go. Drawing what we see is one way to investigate something we are curious about. We make our drawings now so that we have the pictures later to help us remember what we saw. We talked about the different types of observational drawings, still life's, landscapes and figurative.  We also talked about how it's important to be observant as an artist to see small details such as how the light changes at different times of day, how things look different up close or far away, how things are made up of different shades of colour and how things can look very different depending on where you are sitting.

I introduced Beatrix Potter as our artist of the week. Showing them some of my copies of her books from when I was a child. Beatrix loved drawing from a very early age and wandered around the countryside with a homemade sketchbook drawing things she could see. 

We also talked about "art on the go" as many observational sketches are done with minimal materials. I handed out my "Sunnyside Art House" sketchbooks (to be taken home and used at home after this lesson) and pencils. I also used this class to introduce a few new art materials to the children. We used water brush pens, water soluble pastels, watercolour pencils, inktense sticks, water soluble graphite sticks & pencils and charcoal (all things I use when I'm drawing on the go).

some of the materials used in this class
 I brought out some bean bags (to sit on)....

Our white picture frames from our black board wall (to create a frame for what to draw)....

Some magnifying glasses (to look at things up close).....

Some plastic insects, dinosaurs, animals (to encourage them to set up their own scenes to draw)....

A mirror if they wanted to try a self portrait.....

We also used the fruit left over from afternoon tea and the flowers on the table.

It was a lovely class, really relaxed, very little clean up and I'm really impressed at how hard they all worked, given there was such a temptation to just play!  

Here are a couple of the pictures I managed to capture (most went home in the sketch books).

Chicken (we have free range chickens)
Apple (from the fruit bowl)

Guinea pig (we have guinea pigs in a cage)

Liam going up the rock climbing wall (we have a rock climbing wall and slide)

Pond (we have a small pond in the corner that is attracting lots of bees at the moment)

Bugs and plants (a set up scene)
Lizard in the grass (a set up scene)


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