Magazine article Arts & Activities

Pen Textures Can Get "Hairy"

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Pen Textures Can Get "Hairy"

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I like to have my middle-school students work with pens, patterns and textures. I was getting tired of the sixth-grade texture project, so I started looking for a different approach. I like to have students draw real things, such as stuffed animals, especially teddy bears. The bears have great basic shapes and are pretty easy to draw and adapt.

While brainstorming, I ran across some old calendars that had excellent photos of teddy bears dressed up in different environments. I knew I hit the jackpot!

I placed a stack of pictures at each table and, with very little bickering, everyone got a picture from which to work. We started out discussing the basic shapes of stuffed animals and the placement of features, including muzzle, eyes, nose and mouth. We also talked about the "personality" of these toys and how they could show expressions.

Using pencil on brown Kraft paper or construction paper, students began the basic layout of their animal. The drawings needed to be lightly done so later the pen lines would cover up the pencil. Careful observation of shape and detail was needed for success. The heads, faces and bodies were fairly easy for most, but arms and legs that showed unusual angles and foreshortening were more of a challenge.

With the basic drawing complete, clothing for the animals and the environment were added. The students brainstormed about where their animal could be, and what it could be doing. It was a good group activity as they made suggestions for each other.

At this point, we reviewed texture and came to the conclusion that we needed the animals to look soft and furry. Using a piece of scratch paper, the kids practiced different pen techniques to show fur. The best way was to use short strokes of the pen starting at the outside edge, following the basic shape and working in toward the center. …

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