Classical Conversations – Fine Arts: Drawing

We are getting ready to begin another year of Classical Conversations.  I will be tutoring one of the classes again, and in preparation I have been pulling together ideas for the first 6 weeks of Fine Arts, which happens to be drawing.  I thought I’d post all of the different ideas I have come across in case they are helpful to other tutors and/or parents.  Even if you are not a part of CC, there are some great ideas for art lessons.  My kids love doing extra art projects at home, so I’m sure we will be using these resources beyond the classroom this year!

Drawing with Children 

Drawing – Week 1: OiLS

Book to Read:
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

For Practice:
~Have children fold a piece of art paper in half and then into thirds.  Unfold paper and using the fold lines of the 6 boxes, create an OiLS chart.  In box square have them label it with “Basic Elements: OiLS” and in the other squares have them draw examples of each element (circles, filled in dots, straight lines, angles and curves).
~Have children practice drawing the 5 elements of shape using these Donna Young worksheets.
~Use Draw-Write-Now Books or Ed Emberly’s Drawing Book of Animals to have the children draw some simple animals.  Show the children how to add different elements by using OiLS.

~Use this tutorial to draw owls.  Have the children use the different elements of OiLS to add detail to their owl(s).  If time permits, allow children to add color.
~As mentioned previously, allow children to use Draw-Write-Now books or Ed Emberly’s Drawing Book of Animals to draw a simple animal.  Be sure to have them add detail using the different elements of OiLS that they learned about.  They can also add color to these drawings if desired.
~Use this picture of a giraffe as a guide for the children to draw and then have them fill in the long neck of the giraffe with different elements of OiLS that they learned.
~Use these pictures as a guide for using OiLS to draw trees, leaves, flowers, and clouds.  

Draw-Write-Now 8

Drawing – Week 2: Mirror Image

Book to Read:
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

For Practice:
~Fold a sheet of paper in half.  Cut out shapes on the fold and try to guess what the mirror image is going to look like and then open it!
~Have the students come up to the whiteboard one at a time to finish the mirror image of something you draw.  Add another element to the picture for each student instead of starting new each time.
~Have the students practice drawing mirror images using these Donna Youn worksheets.

~Trace leaves to make these Andy Warhol inspired leaves.
~Use leaves to complete this Line Art Leaves project.
~Use leaves to complete this Contour Fall Leaves project.

Draw and Write Through History 1

Drawing – Week 3: Upside-Down

Book to Read:
The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst

For Practice:
~Have the students write their names (only first name for younger students, first and last for older students) on a piece of paper, turn it upside down and try to rewrite their name upside down by focusing on OiLS.  Turn it back around and see how they did!

~Use drawing projects from week 1 (owls and/or other animal(s) they drew), turn it upside-down and have children try to draw from this new perspective.
~For a more challenging upside-down project, this idea using a drawing with flowers in a jar looks neat.  The children could use watercolors as suggested or just color their drawing when finished.
~For another more challenging project, use this picture with instructions.

Ed Emberly's Drawing Book of Animals

Drawing – Week 4: Abstract

Book to Read:
What’s the Big Idea?: Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art by Joyce Raimondo

~Using this picture or this tutorial, make a 3D hand (you will need thick markers to color it in).
~Have the kids practice making abstract art using this tutorial (use basic idea, but make it smaller and more simple).
~Have the children make this Delaunay Marker Drawing using circles.
~For something simple, this Kandinsky Abstract Circles project would work well.  Instead of oil pastels, just have the children used crayons and/or colored pencils.
~For a really simple project, use a simple drawing and do something like this.
~Use cardboard templates of different shapes (triangle, square, circle) to make a project like this one.
~For a more challenging project, this Abstract Flower Drawing project is great.

Draw-Write-Now 7

Drawing – Week 5: Perspective

Book to Read:
The Pencil by Allen Ahlberg

For Practice:
~Practice turning planes (squares, rectangles, and triangles) into 3-dimensional figures and show how to draw other 3D objects such as cube, pyramid, cone, sphere and cylinder.  Show how shading also adds depth and the perception of perspective.  Have the kids practice on the white board or on a piece of paper.
~Ask these questions about perspective (bring in a piece of artwork** to represent these things):
     – What do you notice about the size of objects in the foreground compared to those in the background (SIZE)
     – What do you notice about the spacing of objects in the foreground compared to those in the background (SPACING)
     – Do any objects in the foreground overlap objects in the background (OVERLAPPING)
     – Can you see a light side and a dark side in the picture?  Where is the light source?  (SHADING)
     – Do you notice any shadows in the picture (SHADOW)
     – Where do the ground and sky meet (HORIZON LINE)
     – Is there a point in this picture where distant objects seem to disappear from sight (VANISHING POINT)
**Suggestions of art pieces to bring in (Google and print something from online or use a book with a picture): The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Grant Wood [1931], View from Mount Holyoke (The Oxbow) by Thomas Cole [1836], The County Election by George Caleb Bingham [1852] or Allies Day by Childe Hassam [1917]

~Using this fun perspective tutorial show the children how to make objects look closer and farther away.
~Use these pictures and instructions as a guide to make a one point perspective project with a city or farm in the skyline.
~I love this project that teaches about horizon lines using tracing paper.
~For another one point perspective drawing, this project always works really well.
~For older students, this project would be challenging.

Draw and Write Through History 2

Drawing – Week 6: Final Project

Book to Read:
Harold and Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

For Practice:
~Take time to review everything that was learned over the past 5 weeks and review the differing elements and techniques of drawing.

Final Project:
~The goal for the final drawing project is for the child to create and own the drawing they choose.  I always provide plenty of “how to draw” books (see below for ideas) as well as criteria (again, see below) and then ask them to spend the class drawing their final project.  If they finish drawing, they can color what they draw with colored pencils and/or crayons.

~How to Draw book ideas:
Bring in some pages (or the entire book on your laptop/ipad) from What to draw and how to draw it.
Bring in Draw-Write-Now books.
Bring in Draw and Write Through History books.
Bring in Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes.
Bring in Ed Emberly’s Drawing Book of Animals.
Download and print this free Trojan Horse art project.

~Criteria for Final Project:
Use OiLS to break down what you want to draw
Include Perspective and Mirror Image
Fill the page and add background
Put in your best effort!


4 thoughts on “Classical Conversations – Fine Arts: Drawing

  1. Hi, Jane!

    OiLS represents the 5 elements of drawing that is discussed in the book “Dawing with Children” by Mona Brookes.
    O – circular shapes that are not colored in
    Line in the i – straight lines
    Dot of the i – circular shapes that are colored in
    L – angle lines
    S – curved lines

    Hope that helps!

  2. I am a new CC tutor and just found this. I have been stressing over Fine Arts. This is amazing! Thanks for all the work you did and sharing it! I did find that many of the links no longer work. You gave enough detail that I was still able to find ideas for each week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • I’m so glad that it was helpful, even though many of the links no longer work! I have moved on and am now a Challenge Director so I no longer reference these resources. 🙂 You are very welcome!

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