I start each of my high school classes out at the beginning of the semester with drawing skills practice and shaded drawing projects. This post is about a cross between a skill practice and a project. Its one that you’ve seen before, I’m sure because the first time I saw it was in Dick Blick. Its a good one!
uses the most simple materials (PAPER!) to create a challenging shading exercise. They are given two sheets of 9x12 heavy drawing paper. One sheet is the base, the other is used to create the shapes they will then do a shaded drawing of. If done well, these look awesome! I ask them to dramatize the shadows they see so they can achieve the contrast needed for a successful drawing. The white on white paper makes them REALLY pay attention to the shadows. I love how the kids’ shading styles come out in the way they approach this. No two look the same - and in the end, that’s what we are all about in the GR Art Room!
At the same time, I give the students a tutorial on the many and varied pencil leads from 6H to 6B. They each receive a set of pencils and erasers that they get to keep. Its like Christmas in the Art room! I ask, when they do this project, that they use all of the pencils they’ve been given so they can get used to the hard leads of the “H”s and the soft dark leads of the “B”s.
It is always encouraging to see how much they learn from such a simple idea.