Sunday, March 9, 2014

Copy Cats - Laurel Burch and Guided Drawing

Looking for a drawing and painting lesson? I needed a quick animal project that my 1st graders could do while they waited for their clay projects to get bisque-fired. Laurel Burch-style cats are colorful, lively, and easy for young students to draw. I created a drawing guide and my 1st graders were all hooked! We drew in white charcoal pencil on black railroad board. Next class I showed them outlining and filling a shape with paint. The real fun came when I showed them how to use the back of the paintbrush to scratch through to make abstract lines, textures, and patterns.

As an art educator I started out as a bit of a purist wanting every line that a child drew to be how they observed or imagined it should be. This was one of the first times I truly embraced a guided drawing project. Some of the nagging concerns for teaching guided, or step-by-step, drawing that come to my mind are

Will students only rely on this symbol for drawing X in the future? 

Will students know that their observations of what X looks like are still valid?

In this situation, the benefits of every student being engaged and feeling confident about their artwork outweighed the concerns. Even with the same directions there are no two cats exactly alike. After the success of this project I will definitely do more guided drawing projects in the future!

How do you incorporate imaginative and guided drawing into your curriculum?

Cats who won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Olympics
This boy drew this cat family for the entire art class!
Cats in World War II! German and American cat soldiers!