Gettin’ Real with Fourth Grade

Our focus in fourth grade art has shifted to drawing realistically from observation.  To get our brains warmed up to this difficult skill, we are going to go through a series of activities:

1.  Pre-drawing of a fellow classmate  (Students are asked to draw as realistically as possible.)  After students complete this drawing, I go through common “crimes” that young artists create (football eyes, L shaped noses, oval heads, etc.)  I’ve found that fourth and fifth grade is a good time to expose these “crimes” because students are able to see the flaw in drawing those ways.

2.  Pre-drawing of hand

3.  Blind contour drawing of fellow classmate  (no looking, don’t lift up pencil)  Students are asked to focus on looking closely and paying attention to details.

4.  Blind contour drawing of hand

5.  Upside down drawing from photograph  (I like to use the horse image from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.)  This exercise forces students to look closely at shapes, sizes, line angles and more.  Since the drawing is upside down, and not a typical side view of a horse, students can’t revert to their preconceived notions of what they are “supposed” to draw.)

6. Drawing of chair by looking at negative space (Again, I like to use materials from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.)  This activity encourages students to look at the space around and within the object rather than the object itself.  Paying attention to the negative space is a very helpful skill in observational drawing.

Try some of these on your own!  With practice, you’ll find you get much better at drawing from life!

Soon, students will do a final drawing bringing all of these skills together.

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