At the beginning of the school year I had a flattering request from a homeschool friend to teach art to her young daughter. I taught art for 9-10 years in our homeschool group, and enjoyed it very much. This year our homeschool situation has moved away from the formal co-op, and I only have two in school, so I felt that I could manage a small class of interested girls. It would also give W. a chance to be with some friends she would not see regularly otherwise. I am so proud of myself that I actually got it planned and executed! I am good at the teaching, not so good at the actual setting up of dates and places. We are meeting twice a month and had our first class on Friday with six girls! It was great fun. We began with a Fall theme and a lesson from www.artprojectsforkids. The results were really good. (The first one is W's.)
We used larger sheets of paper (12 x 18 sheets of finger painting paper-use the less shiny side), black Sharpies, straight edges, pencils and oil pastels. Since rulers were too short, I cut pizza box backs into 2" wide straight edges so the girls could use them to section off their papers. We started together with me telling the girls to use their straight edge and a pencil to make a line from top to bottom about 1/3 in from one side of their vertical paper. I told them to avoid putting the line right at the exact center of the page.
Then they were to turn their straight edge horizontally and divide the narrow vertical space about 1/3 from the top or bottom. (One girl did hers twice which was fine.) Then we used the straight edge to horizontally mark off a space about 1/3 from the top or bottom of the wider vertical column. I demonstrated on my own page. Then I handed out a few reference sheets (search "fall clip art") of fall themed pictures and told them to choose one "Fall" figure for each frame and draw it in pencil without too much small detail. They were to think of coloring page illustrations and make them in a similar style. If they wanted to reference something else, we looked it up on the internet.
Because everyone works at a different pace, each week I plan to have a second, simple, related project that the girls can do if they finish the main project early. This week their second option was a graphic tree. It seems to be hard for kids to draw tapering branches, so this was a good chance to practice. Most kids love to draw trees once they are shown how to make them look realistic. This project with its filled-in background spaces makes a satisfyingly dramatic statement. (also found at www.artprojectsforkids.org.)
We used the same 12 x 18" finger painting paper. The shiny finished side worked better with markers. First, (see tutorial below) we drew a trunk line starting a little above half way from the bottom of the paper, then drew 5 "finger" branches from the trunk out to the top edges. The trunk line should be widened by drawing a line on each side of the original line, and then the "finger" lines are widened with special attention given to making them wider near the trunk and tapering to narrow at the edge of the paper. A few twigs can be randomly added to each "finger" branch, then widened to taper away again. Fill each large space with a different color (we used washable markers) for a simple and dramatic finished piece.
Two girls finished their tree picture, and others took paper home to try it there. I think Art Girls is going to be fun! Here is tree drawing tutorial. I drew it with a marker for clarity, but students should use pencil and then adjust the shapes until they are happy with the shape, then outline and color in with black marker. Finish your picture by coloring in the large spaces with different blocks of colors.