Magazine article Arts & Activities

Throw Away Those Erasers! Building Dragons with Basic Shapes

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Throw Away Those Erasers! Building Dragons with Basic Shapes

Article excerpt

Do you share in your students' frustration when they struggle to achieve perfection in their drawing? They erase, erase and erase! So much of their class time is spent trying to get their drawing "just right," they don't have enough time left in the class period to add the finishing touches, such as color. Well, throw away those erasers!

Our art program stresses the concept of beginning with basic shapes. We emphasize the use of basic shapes to block in the main areas of their project. We have done many art projects that involve paint and brushes, but no pencil.

A favorite project using this method is a fire-breathing dragon. These dragons were done by second-graders on a 12" x 18" sheet of drawing paper. To add interest to the background, the students used the flat side of purple crayons to quickly add bright color over the entire surface of the paper.

As a preliminary step to painting, we briefly discussed the fact that dragons are imaginary creatures. Since we have never seen a real dragon, we have to use our imagination to paint a picture of one. We talked about what we thought a dragon would look like: fire-breathing; spikes down the back; reptile eyes; rough, scaly skin; and more. The students were then ready to begin painting their imaginary dragons.

Green tempera and round, 3/4-inch stiff paintbrushes were used in a dabbing motion to give the dragons a scaly appearance. The heads were done first by dabbing a round or oval shape. The mouth was added using long, skinny rectangle shapes. The students painted a circle or upside-down U shape for the nose. …

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