Friday, April 15, 2011

Grid Self Portraits

Year 6 are completing projects in class on 'All About Me.' So keeping with that, I decided to do an artist study on American artist, Chuck Close. He is a fantastic artist to study as the kids are amazed with his realism style. Many "No way- that's a photo!" comments have been made by Year 6. When I explained to the students that Chuck Close did his amazing artwork from using Maths, ie, Grids, they were quite shocked.

The idea for this artwork came from the site:

Lesson 1

To get started we needed a A4 photocopy of the kids faces. I used their school photos.

The students had to trace over all the lines and shapes in their face using a black marker. It's best if it's a thick one and preferably goes through the paper (so use newspaper underneath to save the art tables!)The kids really like doing this, and it doesn't hurt to remind them to resist the urge to add gappy teeth, moles, scars and devil horns...there is always one who will!

Other side:

Lesson 2

Before we started on our artwork, we decided that we needed a "bank" of symbols and patterns to use. The kids used a strip of scrap paper which they folded concertina style (folding back and forth) and add a symbol/pattern to one section, and pass it around the table. They keep the finished strip when it comes back to them.

Now here comes the fun part: the artmaking!

Students filled in the second blank cardboard, square by square, by looking at their original photo. Instead of trying to make it realistic however, Year 6 had to do a pattern that is similar to the lines and shapes on their photo. (This is where using the thick black marker helps, as it simplifies the photo a lot.)

We used black fineline markers and didn't use lead pencil first. (This part was a bit scary!) But it would have taken so much longer. So I explained that slow and steady would mean less mistakes.

This part of the artmaking takes the most time. We did it in roughly 3-4 lessons. When the kids got stuck, I reminded them to look at their pattern "bank".

When finished, I photocopied them, which made them look even better as the photocopier left out all the little smudges and dog-eared corners. 

The best thing about this artwork is that the kids LOVED them! My favourite part of being an art teacher, is seeing the kids so proud of their own work. Along the way, the kids got really creative with their patterns, some using only symbols, and others had stickman battles!