Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crazy Talk Portraits and Facial Proportions

Ms. Wiltse, the librarian at Coonley of course, approached me with a collaboration where 4th graders create a self portrait for a book review on Crazy Talk. 
Even though I like the portraits Ms. Wiltse showed me, and the more child-like approach to drawing a face, I also know that 4th grade is around the time that kids start craving the ability to draw more realistically. 
So I thought I would use the collaboration as an opportunity for me to teach the 4th grade students about the proportions of the human face.  I knew the faces would not look at whimsical in the end, but my hope is that the students will achieve a little bit of a likeness to themselves.

Before we even got started, I asked students to draw an oval, and add the eyes, nose and mouth where they thought they belonged on the face.  Most of the pre-assessments looked like the ones below.  I used these drawings as an introduction to common misconceptions and mistakes that occur when drawing the face. One example is the eyes being too high on the face since we forget that we have such a giant cranium for our huge brains!

Next, after taking and printing their photos, over the course of two days, students followed me step by step as we drew lines for the general proportions of the human head. 

 We then talked about where to place and how to draw the general shapes for the eyes, nose and mouth.  

 Although this was a brief encounter with realistic drawing, my hope is that students will continue to practice drawing faces, and that they may do a few things differently now that they have had this experience. 

4th grade students will be continuing these portraits with Ms. Wiltse in the library, making them look even more like them instead of a general person, and adding color using colored pencils. 
We will return to drawing realistically later in the year.

It is always validating when students practice things from the art room on their own, as exhibited in this notebook drawing by Kayla.  Way to go Kayla. 

In this project, students developed the craft of learning how to draw a realistic human face. They also focused on closely observing their own features with the intent to record them on the page.

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