Children arrive in year 7 with a whole range of drawing experience and ability, some are better drawers than me, others you wonder if they ever held a pencil before! Dealing with such a broad spectrum of ability can be challenging, but as teachers we need to both provide manageable activities for those less experienced artists, but also push the students who are more able. I like to begin a year 7 scheme of work in a very traditional way which both enables me to gauge the students abilities and also enables the students themselves to discover their own capabilities, sometimes they are surprised at what they can do.
One simple activity begins the term, a shoe drawing. First I give a demonstration of how to draw an effective shoe, I thing this makes it fair for all the children, they know what is expected of them ad they will have an idea of how the shoe should look. As I demonstrate by drawing my own shoe with the class gathered round I give the following advice:
1. Look at the shoe, look carefully at the shape and the details notice the angle that you are looking at it from, notice what you can see, think about what you can't see. Try to keep your head in the same place. The more you look the shoe the better our brain will understand it's form.
2. Draw a very light outline of the shoe on your page, fill as much of the page as you can with your shoe drawing. It is very important that you draw lightly with your pencil so that you can easily rub out any mistakes you make. You will make mistakes, even the greatest artists in the world make mistakes, you are not expected to get it right first time, adjust the lines with a rubber until you are happy that you have achieved the correct shape. Keep looking at the shoe, spend more time looking at the shoe than looking at the page.
3. Add the details that you can see on the shoe, the laces, eyelets, tread, stitching etc, look really carefully for the details, draw them accurately, don't make them up or guess, if there are five little holes then draw five little holes, take the time to draw it correctly.
4. Add shading, look for where the light is shining on the shoe, leave these areas light, look for the areas of the shoe that are in shadow, press harder with your pencil to shade these areas in dark. Try to shade neatly and evenly making sure you stay within the lines.
Remember that some children will have had no coaching whatsoever in how to draw so this will be an entirely new experience for them and some may be afraid of failure, encourage the students to try their best and not to worry about how everyone else is doing their shoe, just focus on their own drawing.
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Suggested homework task,
National Curriculum criteria,
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