Monday, January 12, 2009

Teaching the Teachers...

So, I find myself in a classroom with a bunch of adults looking back at me, and feel, well, a little self-conscious. I'm kinda used to looking at little faces, with kids asking kid-like questions, like "how old are you?", "what's your favourite colour?" and "what's your dog's name?" Instead, the questions were more mature, requiring more sophisticated answers from the instructor.

This was my first time planning a session for grown-ups -- a PD** session, to be specific . Since we only had half-a-day, I wanted to cram as many transferable techniques as possible into our short time frame. I decided I have them work with the grid method (they each had a nice picture of a tree, see red tree over there), which they'd transfer with graphite to a sheet of watercolour paper.

You know the grid method, I'm sure -- you draw a grid overtop of your original image -- in our case, the little red tree -- , and then a corresponding grid on a clean sheet. The corresponding grid can be either larger, smaller or the exact same size, depending on what you want -- do you want to enlarge your image? Smallen it (yes, that's a word)? OR, instead of drawing straight lines, make them all wobbly and uneven-- the end result can be pretty neat. You just want to make sure that each grid has the same number of squares. Then, start drawing, square by square, and watch your drawing come to life.

Once the tree was all drawn in pencil, we outlined the tree in ink -- I'd have preferred India Ink with a dip pen, but Sharpies did the trick. Then, after erasing all the graphite lines and smears, and letting the black ink dry, we moved into the watercolours. Lots of talk about the colour wheel, colour saturation, that sort of thing, et voila!, some fantastic looking pieces were the end result.

The teachers could then take what they'd learned that day and try it with their kids -- the grid method could be linked to the math curriculum, the other stuff to, well, the fine arts curriculum.
** Professional Development

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