Drawing Act150/Human Made Object/Wk8 Remote Learning

“The teacher showed us how to see proportions, relationships, light and shadow, negative space, and space between space – something I never noticed before! In one week, I went from not knowing how to draw to sketching a detailed portrait. It literally changed the way I see things” Daniel H. Pink

This post features the work of my fifth and sixth grade art students who have been exploring drawing through lessons primarily derived from the Drawing Instruction manuals of 1872 by Walter Smith, which he developed to guide educators after the establishment of the Drawing Act of 1870. May 13, 2020, marks the 150th anniversary of the Drawing Act of Massachusetts.

Lizzy S

This is the third of three posts about our work with Drawing Instruction as defined by Walter Smith. I recommend the reader (that’s you!) begin by reading Drawing Act 150: Let’s Celebrate followed by Drawing Act 150/Light on White/Wk 7 Remote Learning before reading this post. This post, Drawing Act 150/Human Made Object//Wk 8 Remote Learning, showcases the culmination of the exploration of contour, light, and shading for my students. Their artworks from this post and our online gallery at Artsonia will be emailed as digital artworks to be included in the statewide celebration. Everyone from across the state is invited to participate in this event:

NEW 2020 05 Drawing Act Flyer summer edition

The assignment for this final phase of the project, Human Made Object, called for students to choose a human made, manufactured object from around the house to draw. These are the instructions they read in Google Classroom:

✍️Once you’ve watched the video, choose a human made, manufactured object from around the house. Set it on a white surface and illuminate it with a flashlight or lamp.

✍️Sketch the edges/outlines of the object. Add a grayscale at the top or bottom or on another sheet of paper if you forgot to leave room.

✍️Add shading to your drawing making sure you find areas in the human made object that correspond to every section of your gray scale.

✍️Blend with a tissue or soft paper if you choose.

✍️Erase any extraneous marks. Use your eraser to bring back the bright white areas.

✍️Take a photo of the page to include only the sketch, no background, no grayscale. Crop these out if they are included.

✍️Type your first name and last initial using the Mark-Up option in the regular iPad photo editing tools. See how-to links in earlier assignments.

Still of lesson video

Had we been at school rather than in our homes with remote learning, students would have had charcoal pencils, kneaded erasers, blending stomps, as well  as Yours Truly looking over their shoulders offering suggestions and demonstrating technique as needed, AND providing reminders about how to photograph artwork, I expect the final drawings would have blown our socks off. However, given that was not the situation and my students were working with #2 pencils and tissues for blending on paper on hand, these young artists knocked it out of the park! (But then again, they always do!) See for yourself (click on a drawing to view as a slide show):

I’ve documented our process with this project for myself as well as art educators across Massachusetts who would like to celebrate the Drawing Act 150th anniversary by submitting student drawings. These were my plans based on the resources I gathered. Feel free to use as much of this as you’d like and to tweak it to make it your own great fit for your demographic of students.

I had planned to have a drawing table set up at our spring art show where visitors could create a drawing to submit to the celebration. Because of school closure due to Covid-19, that didn’t happen. I look forward to doing this again in the fall, maybe even in physical school, and will reach out at that time for submissions from the community. I’m really glad to have had this trial run, even as remote learning. It has given me a good sense of how my students will respond (eagerly) when I facilitate this again. I am looking forward to celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts Drawing Act of 1870 with a lot of artwork and a whole lot of people in the future!


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