Friday, March 7, 2014

First Friday Art Class for March 2014 - Value Tangles

We've done a couple classes in the past focussing on Zentangle patterns and designs. This time we did some new designs but added value to them to give our drawings depth and interest.

I began by having the girls do a simple value scale. For kids this age, I suggest a 5 section scale. I tell them that square 1 is our absolute lightest value so we leave it blank. Then we do square 5. This will be our darkest value. Then we do square 3 which will be a value right in the middle of our lightest light and our darkest dark. Then do square 2 which is a value right between 1 and 3 and square 4 which is a value right between 3 and 5. I think breaking the value scale up this way is the best approach--especially for young artists.

We did another value scale just like the first one and then once it was filled in the girls experimented with their new tool--a blending tortillon. I had them use the tortillon in circular motions and back and forth to get a feel for what they can do with it. We talked about the benefits of this over using your fingers to smudge--it's cleaner and can get into smaller areas. I personally use both a tortillon and my fingers in my work.
We then talked about shading our Zentangles. We aren't going for total photo realism with the light source always in the right place. Our focus is to create depth and try to show which parts are behind and which parts are in front. So basically if something is behind something else, we shade it. We kept it simple.

We then went to work on the rest of our worksheet. (I will put a link to each separate Zentangle below).
We followed our usual pattern where I drew on the white board and they drew along with  me on their individual papers. We had fun combining ink with graphite and exploring all the things you can do with these particular designs.

I don't always show the girls the end results before we begin, but I felt that it was important for them to have a sample to look at for today's drawings because of their complex nature. So before class I completed my own worksheet and had it there on the table for them to look at.
Here are the links to each fun tangle and this is the order we drew them--sort of ranging from simplest to the  most complex:

Globes - a great introduction to shading a round object and drop shadows
Gems - this is definitely one you need to stand back from and then suddenly your drawing really does look like a shiny gem (or a jelly bean as the girls pointed out)
Thumprintz - the shading really makes this design
Stacked Tubes - very simple but with great results, we added handles to a few of our stacks making it look like a giant stack of tea cups. (I personally LOVE this design--great for mindless doodling!!)
ATORM - the is a fun pattern and the full page of it is just gorgeous
W2 - this creates the complex basket weave pattern, once you add the shading this design really pops! (*see note below for a tip for doing this one)
Folds - this is the one the girls seemed to want to do lots more of right as class was ending. I noticed them experimenting with different shapes and ideas.
Puffles - like the Cruffles we did several months ago but with a twist

*W2 can be confusing. I find this to be VERY helpful. Some of the girls did too. Others just used my sample as a way to "get" it and then they went from there. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get it, the look is sooooo cool!!
You want each little square to look like a pinwheel NOT an argyle. Notice in the picture that the top looks like a basket weave and each tiny square has lines coming off like a pinwheel. Where the bottom drawing just looks like squares in a geometric pattern.

The reason I chose each of these particular Zentangles is that they each lend themselves very well to adding value by using our graphite pencils and blending tortillon.

The girls got so excited that they kept having me hold their papers up and away from them so they could really appreciate the depth they were creating. It was so fun to hear them all ewww and ahhhh over each others drawings!!

Pretty impressive, don't you agree?

I had hoped to have time for the girls to do more of these designs on their own on a blank paper, but the worksheet took our whole class time. Which was totally fine--that just meant we spent the whole time drawing together which was really fun! I challenged the girls to practice at home and see how they could adapt and change these designs to make them their own.

See you next month where I'm pretty sure the spring will bring us a fashion inspired class!

1 comment:

Natalie Simons said...

That is so impressive. I love the worksheet. So neat how it changes with shading!

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