I’m so excited for the first six weeks of Classical Conversations when we get to focus on drawing during Fine Arts. In this post I’ll be showing you the six simple projects we’ll be doing for these six weeks. I love getting to share these projects so much. If you have any questions, please comment below since others may have the same questions! These projects can be used anytime in the classroom or at home. They are simple projects anyone can do in a 30 minute time block.
Week 1: Basic Shapes
We’ll start our year with a short discussion of basic shapes (similar to how we discuss them in the Drawing Basic Shapes with American Landmarks lesson plan). Then everyone will do a very simple exercise in drawing the basic shapes. (Week 1 is hectic enough without a complicated art project!)
Each student will start with half size paper (roughly 8.5 x 5.5.) and draw a grid of six sections on it. Then each student will fill each section with some elements of shape (like dots, angles, straight lines, and curved lines) and some basic shapes (like circles, ovals, rectangles, and triangles). Then the students get to color their shapes. I like to use a Sharpie for the grid and basic shapes and some Crayola washable markers for coloring the shapes in. This way the Sharpie line doesn’t bleed when you color over it with the Crayola.
Tip: Protect your work surface by putting an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper under your 5.5 x 8.5 project paper! Then students can safely draw to the edge of the paper.
Week 2: Symmetry
On week two we’ll start with a quick five minutes of art grammar, explaining the word “symmetry” and the idea of a “line of symmetry.” You can download a free copy of my Symmetry Lesson Plan here. It includes a short script to help you explain symmetry.
Next we’ll do a warm-up symmetry exercise. (The worksheet is also included in the lesson plan.) Creating a mirror image of something is a really interesting brain-stretching exercise, so expect some frustration from students who have never done this before .
Tip: We often think of making lines “up or down and left or right.” This is how we teach handwriting, after all. With mirror drawing, tell your students to instead think “up or down and IN or OUT.” Tell them to ask themselves if their next line should go in towards the center or out away from the center.
After that warm up exercise, we’ll draw a space shuttle to complement our astronomy studies. I drew a simple space shuttle, looking at a more detailed one and simplifying it. Then I decided it was still too complicated, so I simplified it even more. Now the tutors or students will have a choice of which space shuttle drawing they want to start with. (They’re both included in the Symmetry Lesson Plan here.) The students lay half the space shuttle on their paper (see photo) and draw the missing half. Then they remove the pre-printed sheet and draw the original half. The students can then add color with colored pencils. I buy the more expensive Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils (NOT what’s in my photo here) for my community because it seems to ease frustration levels.
You can download a free copy of this Symmetry Lesson Plan here!
You could do this lesson without it of course, but it’s a convenient package, including all the info and templates you need to do this symmetry project. The Symmetry Lesson Plan is also available for $4.99 in my store.
Week 3: Upside-Down Drawing
On week 3, we get to practice upside-down drawing with a bunch of very simple animal pictures- complementing our ecology science grammar. (I may or may not have included a few military vehicles in with the animals to make my sons happy) We’ll sketch these animals in pencil upside down so we can really focus on the basic shapes instead of the animal. Once were happy with our drawings, we’ll break out the watercolor paints!
Tip: Have students first identify and draw in the basic shapes of their animal right on top of their reference picture (as shown in the top left corner photo). This will help them draw their animal in the correct proportions.
Can I just make a quick confession? I really don’t like how I painted this lizard. I seriously considered re-doing it, but then decided I’d just keep it real and leave it in.
Week 4: Abstract Art
On week 4, we’re going to do the Picaso Cubism project on page 70 of the book, Discovering Great Artists, by Kohl and Solga. I picked out this abstract project because it gives us an opportunity to expose the kids to Picaso. He’s NOT one of the Great Artists we get to study in Foundations.
We’ll do this project on construction paper with markers. The strange color combinations work great with this project! Start with a blank piece of colored construction paper (lighter colors work best). Have each student draw a simple head and shoulders on the paper. Then cut up the drawing into different sized pieces and at a variety of angles. Now glue the pieces on a different color of construction paper, but out of order and a little crazy.
Week 5: Perspective
On week 5, we’ll practice perspective drawing. Each student gets to turn their name into a three dimensional looking piece of art. For this one I just typed their names in a good font (Arial Black, outline style) and printed them out so the students could focus their time on the perspective work instead of learning how to draw block letters.
We’ll use pencils and colored pencils again here.
Place a small dot near the bottom center of the paper. Lightly draw lines from every corner of each letter to the dot. Erase any piece of a line that is on top of the letter itself. Then draw a horizontal line several inches below your letters and ‘end’ the letters there.
Tip: Be sure to start with the letter you want to appear “on top” of the other letters. In my example shown here, I started with the letter “L” directly above my vanishing point.
Week 6: Final Project
For week 6 were going to reproduce VanGogh’s The Starry Night.
VanGogh is another amazing artist that we won’t have time to cover in CC’s “Great Artists” quarter. His Starry Night piece is famous, fun to paint, and allows us to review many of the techniques we covered in weeks one through five: We’ll look for basic shapes, abstractly recreate the sky, and practice a little perspective drawing on the buildings
For week six we’ll do a quick sketch and then break out the watercolor paints again!
Tip: If you can show them a basic line drawing version of The Starry Night it will be easier for them to sketch it out!
That’s it! Six simple projects you can do at home or at your homeschool community. What do you think? Do you have any questions about them? If so, ask them in the comments section and I’ll answer each one. Other people make have the same questions you do!
Next, I’m going to post a few photos and details about how I organize art supplies for my community!
Here are the projects we did the following year: