Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Draw a Lemon

OK, I would definitely suggest that each of you grownups do these activities as well,
because I can only guess how many of you have used the,”That’s wonderful, but I can’t even draw a stick figure” line, when commenting on someone else’s artwork. But please, not alongside your children.  They will inevitably compare, and may be dissatisfied with their own work. 

And when you are working with more than one child, it would be of value to seat them a little way from each other for the same reason.  Though if available space doesn’t allow, simply cut up a cardboard box (or a couple of manila folders glued together for added weight?) and make “blinds” for each.  And if you want an explanation, note simply that, this is not punishment.  Instead, each one is looking at the object to be drawn, from a different point of view, and you would like them to draw what they see, not what their brother or sister is seeing. 

Here you would do well, not use the term “copy” in a negative sense, as in, “…because I don’t want you copying your brother.”  There are so many things in learning, down the line, that you will want them to copy precisely!  And you can make that distinction where appropriate.

If you’re wanting to begin an art or nature journal immediately, I would recommend a few specific items:
1.     A spiral bound, 90lb. drawing pad (bound portrait or landscape orientation)
2.     A kneaded rubber and/or white plastic eraser (Staedtler Mars or Faber-Castell for instance)
3.     Individual pencil sharpeners, with a repository for shavings
4.     3 or so pencils with different “blackness” values (although a good old #2 will get you started in a pinch)

Don’t despair, we’ll move on to color soon enough, but for now, let’s begin with depicting familiar shapes and objects.  And just for a quick exercise in seeing things as simple shapes, or combinations of shapes – pick up the cardboard tube that comes inside either a paper towel, or toilet paper roll.  Now hold it with one palm flat against each end, under a light source.  Look at it straight on. What shape do you see?  Many of you instantly said, “A cylinder!”  Well, yes, but…we’ll get back to that.  First, what simple shape do you see?  Hint: a rectangle.  But you knew that! Now…why did you say a cylinder?  Better yet, why did you see a cylinder!? 
Because with the gradation of light from bright to dark, your eyes told your brain, the object was curved, and the object is familiar!

So, ready for your first attempt (accomplished artists notwithstanding)?  Pretend that it is your job to describe certain items to someone who has never seen such a thing.  For our purposes, this person does recognize simple shapes by name, but is not allowed to touch the object you are describing.  Your description alone must enable them to visualize it and draw it in 2 dimensions.  We’ll begin with a lemon.  Will you describe it as a circle, or go straight for the oval ?  Depends on your particular lemon, yes?  But, what next?

What if we added a triangle (equilateral of course) to each end ?  WOW !

If you have him color it yellow, and quickly pepper it with tiny dots to represent the pits in the skin, he could probably take it to the grocery store and buy the dozen or so you need to make him his first lemonade !

For a bit of finesse, erase the straight line across each end and add an arc with a slight break in it.  EXCELLENT JOB !!!

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