We start the year with foundational drawings in most of my middle school and high school art classes. Some students love to draw and others weather through it because I promise more exciting projects are coming!
My challenge is finding subject matter for students to draw that will a)interest them and b) come from a resource they have created. As much as possible, we try to stay away from the “find a photo on the internet” kind of drawings.
For this project, I asked students to go into the Photobooth program loaded on their MacBook Pros and take a few photos of their hand holding something. What they chose to hold was up to them - it could represent an interest they have, something special to them, or something completely random that would work great in a shaded drawing. I also asked them to keep the background neutral so it was easier to concentrate on the hand and object.
I was pleased with the variety of items students brought in. Without always realizing it, they were expressing who they are just with their choice of subject matter! (Ninja self-expression!! )
At the beginning of this class, students are given a set of drawing pencils (from 6H to 6B) and we do some exercises to practice using the various leads to get used to them. During this project, they were required to use at least three different pencils while working on their shading techniques. Its fun to see how each student is developing their own drawing style and its starting to come out in their work!
This was the first time I had given this drawing assignment and I was happy with the results. Next year, we may try to add some sort of background to the piece...either from the photo they take or something they create that relates to the item they are holding.
Ahhh...the project tweaking never ends!