Cool Shoes

Article excerpt

Each year, I look for an enjoyable way to teach warm and cool colors to my fifth-grade art classes. I decided to incorporate a shoe-drawing lesson into a project I call "Cool Shoes." The students loved the idea.

I put a note in our faculty room asking staff members to donate any unwanted shoes. I received enough to fill a large box, allowing the students the option of picking a shoe from the box or using one of their own shoes as a model.

The students placed their chosen shoe on the table in front of them. Preliminary drawings were done on 9" x 12" manila paper. I encouraged the students to attempt to draw exactly what they saw and we discussed the term "realism." The project that preceded this one was an abstract cut paper project in the style of Henri Matisse, so the students were able to compare "realistic" and "abstract" styles in art.

Once the students' drawings of the shoes were completed, we discussed composing a background. We talked about the importance of selecting objects to put in or around the shoe that were appropriate in size. Students were tempted to put large animals in, so I suggested choosing an animal or object that could actually fit into a real shoe.

There was a lot of interaction and sharing of ideas when it was time to decide on a background. Students were allowed to be as creative and original as possible, resulting in shoes placed in trees, under the sea, on the beach, in the desert, on a desk holding pencils and just about anywhere else you can imagine.

The completed drawings were transferred from the manila paper to watercolor paper using graphite/transfer paper and ball-point pens. Once on the watercolor paper, the image was then outlined with an extra-fine-point permanent black marker.

Before we began painting, I demonstrated the different techniques for using and mixing watercolor paints. …