The first stage of this project involved the students in some art appreciation games and activities that developed their awareness of line.
Why line? Lines are all around creating borders, paths, outlines, and obstacles. Observe the fine lines a spider uses to spin her web, or the tall bending lines created by blades of grass, or even the jagged outline of a rugged mountain range.
I asked the students to take a line for a walk on an 8”x11” piece of paper (similar to taking a dog for a walk). The line needed to be continuous, and needed to include as many types of line as possible, i.e., wiggly, swirl, angular, straight, jagged, loopy, wavy…etc. The students had no idea what they were about to do with this line.
We then looked at a variety of portraits, masks, and caricatures. We found and described lines that created mood and expression in these works. We also played some portrait art appreciation games, involving students in reading and understanding portraits.
I then asked them to squint at their “line for a walk” drawing and look for two features, eyes and nose, nose and mouth, hair and eyes…etc. They needed to look at the drawing from all angles. Once they found the foundation for their portraits, they glued their line drawing down on an 18”x24” piece of paper, keeping in mind the placement that they wanted for their portrait.
They then used their line drawing, expanded it, incorporated it and added to it to create their portraits.
Color was added with colored pencil and marker to complete the drawing. We went back and looked at some fauve portraits, so the students felt free to choose any colors, colors that fit the mood and expression of their figure,