Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leo's Helio's

One of the numerous innovations we can give credit to Leonardo da Vinci for is some of the first concept designs for helicopters. Drawing helicopters is far easier than you might think, and my first grade class pulled it off pretty nicely.
This was a guided drawing lesson, (Monart style) so as I drew a line on the white board, the students would draw a line as well. Even though you might think this would create kind of uniformity in the drawing results, it really doesn't. The way each student interprets and reproduces the lines are totally unique. The  only caveat is making the kids aware that there is no right or wrong way to interpret and to get them through to the end of the drawing. Kids can be very critical of their process if they don't think it looks "right". This is probably the reason we lose so many people to the idea that they are "not artists" because they can't "draw right." We started in pencil, which can be a tricky thing to do. A lot of art teachers don't give pencils because the temptation to erase can be so overwhelming that it just brings the process to a big screaming halt. My pencils are well loved though and most no longer have erasers. I will give a child a big eraser if they really think they need it, but I try to hold them off if possible.
After the helicopter was drawn we added in background details, This is a great project to introduce the concept of the horizon line, as well as foreground and middle ground and background. Once the kids are satisified with their pencil lines I gave them either a brown marker or brown watercolor pencil to trace their lines. After this step was done, I had the kids use a wet q-tip to trace over those lines which cause the brown to bleed a bit, resulting in the appearance of an old sepia ink wash, just like in da Vinci's journals. If you have them you could use watercolor crayons too. I just bought some for myself personally. I am told they are more vibrant than their pencil counterpart. I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but they may be on my order list of classroom supplies for next year. Anyone out there have anything to say about them? Or water soluble oil pastels?


Shannon Maynard said...

These are very nice and I am sure each is very interesting and has its own character even when completed together!!

Ginger said...

OH how I wish you could teach my girls art! I haven't visited in a while and am sorry I haven't. Your blog is filled with such good stuff. You have some lucky art students.

As an engineer with a arsty fartsy side, I LOVE LdV. I am intrigued by this lesson of how you tell the kids to draw line by line/step by step. Wonder if I could find something similar on youtube?