FREE Download — Art Charts

I wanted an overview of art elements and principles for my classroom, but didn’t really have an entire bulletin board to dedicate to it. I decided to make a concise list, with each word illustrating it’s meaning as best I could. I think this will be the best way to show students of all ages what each item means, no matter what their reading abilities are.

To download my free pdf file, click HERE. PLEASE NOTE: This file now lives at a new site, not Scribd, which has new strings to downloading. Thank you readers for letting me know about this!
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Self Portrait Line Drawing Plus Watercolor

 Here’s a variation of yesterday’s post, with a simpler approach to the double lines and softer colors to let the drawing stand out.
1. I drew very light grid lines to help center my face on the watercolor paper. I started with sketching the head and neck.
2. The facial features were added very lightly with a pencil.
3. I used a fine point black Sharpie to fairly quickly trace all the lines, not once but twice. I made an effort draw over the same line, but because I did it with some speed they were a little bit off, which is the goal. Not sloppy, but not precise either. Giving a limited amount of time for tracing should keep things moving along. When complete, all is painted in a realistic manner with watercolor paint.
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Self Portrait Line Drawing Plus Oil Pastels

I’m experimenting with different self-portrait projects that I hope will encourage a loose kind of drawing, as opposed to tight and fussy ones. Some kids seem to naturally do this, and others I feel just need more encouragement. 
1. A letter size paper is divided into quarters with a pencil, and an oval head is drawn. Using standard facial proportions, students draw the eyes in the middle, the nose half way down, and the mouth in the center of the remaining space. The ears, hair and other details are added as well.
2. Starting at one edge with a black permanent marker, students trace over the entire drawing in a continuous line with the rule that they must NEVER lift their marker, and that they need to trace over each line TWO TIMES. If they need to jump to individual shapes, like the mouth or nose, they are asked to do so in the center of the face. Precision tracing is not the goal, in fact “close enough” is just fine. A cursive signature is added in a corner.
3. When complete, the face and background are colored in with oil pastels, preferably with a variety of bright colors.
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Cut and Tear Cityscape Collage

This comes from "The Usborne Book of Art Skills" which has a ton of great art ideas.
1. Begin with a description of neutral colors, which are the only ones used in this collage. Give the studentsa  9" x 12" sheet of white paper and several of neutral construction paper (black, brown, tan, gray, etc.) I demonstrated how to tear straight lines on the construction paper by holding down a ruler and pulling the paper up to control the tear. The students are to make about 4 or 5 various size rectangles “buildings”. They arrange and glue as many as they can on the white paper. Space should be left at the bottom for cars and streets.
2. The students may either cut or draw (with neutral colors again, white, black, brown, etc.) windows and doors for their buildings.
 
3. Lastly, details such as small cars (for scale) may be added. I discouraged drawing signs and people so they would focus on the architecture. Encourage them just to focus on details in their buildings.

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Mixed Media Patterns

I found this project on the Artsonia website years ago. If someone wants to take credit for creating it - please let me know. It's one of my favorite!
WEEK 1. Give the students a 6" x 9" piece of printing foam and a wooden stylus. They are to draw two horizontal lines to divide the foam into three 6" x 3" sections. Illustrate on a board some examples of patterns that can be made with lines: stars, circles, squares, etc. The students are to draw with a stylus a different pattern in each section. Encourage them to make some shapes go off the edge of the foam.
2. Students work with 9" x 12" black construction paper, white ink and brayers. Demonstrate how to make a print by rolling the foam with white ink, and then pressing it to the center of the black paper. There should be an even black border all around the print. The students may need to practice with several prints.
WEEK 2. Each student use their best (most evenly covered) print, and a black oil pastel. They continue their horizontal lines onto the border of the black paper. In the new sections they have now made on the border, they continue drawing the printed shapes, pressing firmly with the pastel. After all the printing shapes have been drawn in black in the border, they use a variety of oil pastels to color in and around the border.
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Soup Can Paper Mache Owl

During my recent visit to Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti, I was overwhelmed by the quality of paper mache art that the children had made. My favorite purchase was this owl (above right) that I’m told is painted with voodoo patterns. While I love the detail of it, I decided to see if I could make my own version, one that didn’t require the level of painting skill that the original artist obviously had.
1. The mache artists in Haiti seemed to always use heavy brown paper, so I tried using a grocery bag on a soup can and was happy with the results. Small torn pieces, about 2" square, soaked generously in mache were overlapped all around the can. One generous layer that dried overnight created a great foundation for gluing and painting the owl.
2. I found that a pizza box worked well for the wings, feet, etc. The shapes were easy to cut with scissors, and the beak could split open on one end to connect firmly to the face. I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue for all, and held them in place to set up when needed.
3. After the glue was dry, I painted the entire owl in brown acrylic paint.
4. I brushed a little red brown paint over all, just to create some highlights.
5. At this point, you could paint any kind of details on the owl with white paint. I had a DecoColor White paint pen which allowed me to make nice thin lines. A dab of black paint finished the eyes. When dry, the entire owl was covered with glossy Mod Podge. Now I’m wondering if I could make a set of these in different sizes...
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Doodle Lettering

There are some really cool new paper-like products out these days. I found YUPO at DickBlick.com, which looks like vellum but feels like plastic. It's great to paint on or trace with markers.
1. Give the students a letter-size paper to make a practice drawing on. They should start by drawing large stick letters for their name, and then trace around those lines to make block letters. The inside stick letters may then be erased. Show the students how to draw one continuous line around the block letters, following the shapes somewhat as they go. "Bubbles" are drawn around the outside, some large and some small, and some may overlap each other. Lastly, the students are to draw swirls and curves inside each "bubble".
2. Once the pencil drawing is complete, the students place a matching size piece of Yupo on top and trace all the lines with a black Sharpie. Once traced, the shapes may be colored in with lots of other Sharpie markers.

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Back-To-School Self Portraits

I like art projects that combine drawing and writing. This is a chance for students to write about their summer, and draw themselves for their first art class.
1. I made cardboard body templates so the students wouldn't spend too much time drawing a body. On 11" x 17" paper, they trace the template lightly with a pencil, room needs to be saved at the bottom for their names.
2. Next, they add clothes and details to the body to reflect how they look either on that day, or the first day to school. All the lines and their name are traced with a black Sharpie marker.
3. Give each student a ballpoint pen and ask them to write in the background a description of what they did that summer. This is to be done quickly, and if they make a mistake, they should just cross it out and keep going. The goal is to not worry about making things perfect.
4. Lastly, pass out liquid watercolors and have the kids paint all of their picture. Once again, if colors happen to run into each other, just let them go. I advise that they don't mix or layer colors as things get gray and brown REAL fast with watercolor, but accidents can look pretty cool sometimes.
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How to Draw a Sailing Ship

Here’s a breakdown of how to draw a ship with sails. Drawing the sails from the bottom up makes it easier to connect them at the corners to create the windblown look.
1. Draw the hull near the bottom of the paper.
2. Add the three masts as shown.
3. Add the sails to each mast working from the bottom up and from stem to stern so they overlap properly. 
4. The mast lines inside the sails are erased.
5. Water, clouds, moon, flags and hull details are added.
6. The drawing is traced with a black marker and then colored in with colored pencils.
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“Follow the Directions” Art Test

I believe this idea has been passed around before, but I have decided to make an art version of this exercise. I think the beginning of the school year is a good time to remind students that they need to follow instructions, no matter what class they are in. This “Art Test” clearly says to read everything on the page before doing anything else. If students truly follow these directions, they will see at the bottom that they do not need to do anything at all, just turn the paper over, draw on the back and wait for others to finish. A friend told me that this exercise had a big impact on her when she was young, so I’m hoping this might do the same. You can download a pdf version of the page HERE. I’d love to hear any feedback from those that try this out.
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“My Hand” Collage

I’m experimenting with different ways for students to start the school year off with an expressive project. Aside from drawing their faces, tracing their hands and making a collage / painting can make some very colorful and individualistic art. And most classroom teachers love having colorful art right away to fill their classroom walls.
1. Using just a sheet of copy paper, students trace one hand in pencil and then with a Sharpie so that you can see the lines a bit from the back.
2. Students cut close to the edge of the hand, but leave about 1/4" around the edge.
3. Moving quickly (some young ones can get distracted with this process) students cut about 6 of 7 biq squares of magazine pictures that they like, about 2" square. All are glued down to cover the back of the hand cutout. All should overlap so no white is showing.
4. Students cut out the hand from the marker side. A sheet of watercolor paper is rubbed with the side of a crayon. They hand is glued in the center, and watercolor paint is applied around the hand, and faded to nothing with the brush. Lastly, names could be added in matching crayon.
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Monotone Self Portrait Drawing

I like using grids to help students set up their drawings, and often that can be done by just folding the paper to make creases. But with heavier card stock, that doesn’t work so well. For this project I made a grid template to fix the problem, and support the drawing of symmetrical features as well.
1. Download my grid paper HERE, and print a sheet for each student. I like the cream card stock from Staples. Following the steps shown above, students first make marks as shown in Sheet 1 to indicate where the face shape should fall on the grid. Note the dark lines and where the pencil lines fit within them. They will help students draw the proper face proportions with equal spaces between the eyes, bottom of nose and chin.
2. Students draw the chin and center the curves of the cheeks.
3. They continue the curves up to meet the marks at the top of the paper.
4. Eyes are drawn, centered on the dark line. Correct proportions have the space between the eyes the same as the width of the eyes.
5. The nose is drawn with the bottom ending on a dark line.
6. The mouth is centered between the nose and chin.
7. The neck and shoulders are added.
8. Hair is added, making sure that it is a bit wider than the face.
9. All of the pencil lines are traced with a black Sharpie.
10. Using one colored pencil, the hair, lips and shirt are colored in heavily to make a dark shade.
11. The skin is shaded in lightly. 
12. Students that are interested in shading may press hard along the edges to make shadows.
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A Moment from my HOPE Art Haiti Trip

Last week, while working with orphans in the front courtyard of our hotel, a pretty amazing little moment happened. A food delivery truck arrived, accompanied by a truckload of armed UN guards who circled the grounds while the goods were unloaded. Either out of curiousity or seeking shade, I'm not sure which, the guards soon ended up nearby, watching what our kids were doing. Mimi noticed that the guns were making some of the kids a little nervous, so she told the guards that if they wanted to stay, they needed to put down their guns and join the kids. And you know what? They did! I guess a little art chutzpah can go a long way. If you want to know how they felt about it, just check out the parting shot.

To see see all my posts made on my Haiti trip, just click on the “Haiti Trip” label.
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Paperbag Travel Journal, Sample Page

This is my opening page in my homemade Haiti Travel Journal, which I am sharing just because it’s the kind of format that I am always trying to encourage my art journal students to try. The basic idea is that entries don’t have to be created in a linear format, meaning a list from the top down of all the things done in a day. Just sketching items in a random fashion and then adding words around them is so much more fun, and a lot more forgiving too if you happen to forget something. I used the cloud date heading as a standard format on each page, but the drawings just went wherever there was room for them.
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