Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Australian x-ray and dot style animals

All artwork done by 6th grade students with no previous art classes! class of 35 students for this group
(if you "Pin" please, please link back to this post or at least my website....)

The next part of our Australia unit was a x-ray style animal mixed media project. We once again looked at examples of x-ray style rock art and modern day Aboriginal style art that incorporates x-ray style. Last year I learned about the wonderful work of Australian children's author and illustrator Bronwyn Bancroft (you can visit her website here). I try to get several of her books to show the kids how she uses Aboriginal symbols, dot painting and x-ray style to make modern day art. We particularly love her animal ABC book because of all the new animals we learn about.

Next students practice drawing 8 different Australian animals using some worksheets I got from a class years ago. The kids can also look at images from Bancroft's book and try to draw additional animals.

I have tried so many versions of this lesson over the last 8 years from scratch art to paint to oil pastel. With this years combo I am 90% happy and I think next year I will have finally settled on the official lesson.

The kids then choose the animal they want to draw for their final work of art and receive a square 12 inch by 12 inch sheet of light brown construction paper. They use a ruler to make a boarder and then in pencil draw a pattern in the boarder, their animal in the middle and two symbols that would correlate with that animal. So for the platypus above the student added the symbol for river and sun and the emu below has sun and the symbol for emu tracks.
Student's went over all pencil lines with black crayon or sharpie then colored their animal and symbols using colored pencils and paying attention to correct use of material to get vibrant color.

Next came the dotting. I asked the students to find 3/4 colors they used in their animal and symbols and dot around the animal using radiating lines of those colors. Practicing our doting in the previous lesson really helped with the quality of dots in this lesson.

Then came the boarder. I had the kids use black glue to outline the boarder and then set it to dry overnight. 

Then, and this is the part that I still don't love, I had the kids use chalk pastel in two or three colors to color in the boarders. While I think the colors turned out nice and the kids enjoyed using the chalk...even after spraying the colors smudged and started to get messy.  I still suspect that this is an side effect of the super junky chalk pastels I have.
Yet as I have mentioned before, chalk pastel is my least used media in my classroom so I don't want to waste any of my tinny budget buying nice sets. Next year I think I will simply have the kids use oil pastel instead of chalk.
This student convinced me to let her add two baby dingoes instead of two symbols
and this young man choose to draw a Numbat (yes that is a real animal) along with another type of small rodent who's name I don't remember.
 I'm quiet happy with the evolution of this lesson and the quality of artwork this year's student's produced.

Next up: this years Australia unit "wild card" lesson.

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