Magazine article Arts & Activities

Turkey Masquerade

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Turkey Masquerade

Article excerpt

When I was a first-year university art student, an art professor gave us an assignment, asking for multiple solutions to a design problem. "Now, take the first idea you come up with," he instructed, "and throw it away."

Seventeen years later, as an artist and a teacher, I still think about that advice. While I would not put it quite that way when working with elementary students, I still feel it's important to teach that our first idea is not always our best.

Therefore, when working with my fifth grade art class, I teach them to make thumbnail sketches in their sketchbooks of different alternatives to the assignment given. Following a teacher/student conference, the student then chooses the best of those ideas.

I introduce this concept in a project called "Turkeys in Disguise."

GETTING STARTED I got the idea for this project in a book called Month By Month Arts And Crafts (Scholastic Professional Books, 1991). Author James Perrin suggests drawing cartoon turkeys and clothing them in human attire, as a humorous approach to Thanksgiving.

Following a demonstration in drawing a simple turkey, students are instructed to first make a drawing that like a turkey--then make it not look like a turkey!

I offer a handout listing suggestions for various disguises. We then brainstorm about possible identities for the birds to assume. Often, the latest hit movie, Saturday morning cartoon or musical celebrity inspire the students' choices. They must create three different sketches. …

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