Abstract, Animated, and Realistic

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Learning the differences between realistic, abstract, and animated can be taught to even the youngest of students using clay slabs and a common food such as an apple, banana, or corn.

I find it's a great opportunity to carry classroom topics over into the artroom. The kindergarten had studied apples and visited our local apple orchard in September. Naturally, they were excited, so I used that enthusiasm to explore clay and the terms realistic, abstract and animated.

Abstract: Having to do with art that avoids the representation of realities and all ordinary conventional designs. Realistic: Like the real thing. Representing life in art as it really is. Animated: Giving life to; making alive.

Each student rolled out slabs of clay no thicker than 1/4". We used white clay that fires at cone 6. From these slabs, they cut out three apple shapes. We used a paper apple template to trace around. The students made their first apples true to life--or realistic. Some drew lines for the stems and then added leaves with leftover clay. …