Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girl Scouts: Drawing Badge

Quick troop update: K's been to 3 or 4 troop meetings now. They have decided to work on the AMUSE Journey and Archery Badge first. The high energy level has cause some problems and its been slow getting started but I think they will get there.

The last meeting had to be canceled due to illness so instead of the troop meeting K and I decided to work on her Drawing Badge. We gathered the guide binder, her medium of choice (pencil on sketch paper), a still life object (an unlit pillar candle), and found a comfy spot with pillows.
Like all badges this one has 5 steps:
1. Experiment with different materials
2. Learn how to add shading
3. Get some perspective
4. Use your imagination like a graphic artist
5. Make your masterpiece--and show it off!!

K has always had an interest in art and has just about every medium you could want in the house so I was surprised when she decided to go with basic charcoal pencils. She loves color and uses it in everything so I guess she just wanted to practice with black and white so she could focus on the drawing itself. I have a very good quality set I use for sketching so I let her pick one of those. She pulled out her drawing book, found a fresh page and then started to draw the candle we had set up on the side table.

I found it interesting that at first, she barely looked at the still life, instead trying to draw from her memory.  What resulted was an image that was more what she thought the candle should look like and less like it really did. I pointed this out to her and after a few more stubborn attempts to draw from memory she finally started to look at it with a critical eye and try to represent what she saw, not what she imagined, on the page. She tried that several times, each time capturing more detail and less solid outline. She wants to come back with other mediums but was ready to move on to shading.

I had saved a bunch of examples of shading on Pinterest, some of the techniques (like hatching, crosshatching, smudging, blending), some teaching images (like shading around a ball or face with the light at different angels) and some just really cool images that used shading to create the effects.  we looked at them and talked about how the effects were achieve, what the use of the different techniques did to the style of the artwork and then started to practice.  At first we just used one technique at a time to create a shaded spot on the page but K quickly decided to put her last candle in shadow by making the background shaded. Once I showed her how to smudge, that became her favorite method so she spent a lot of time figuring out how to move the color around and achieve a haloed effect on the edges. 

Perspective is something they've been working on in both her art class and the drawing after school program shes in so she jumped right in to showing me how they used lines to draw buildings and right angle objects along a perspective. We pulled up a few more Pinterest images of perspective and since she had that down, I challenged her to look at a different type of perspective, from a bugs-eye view. This was much more challenging and she had trouble imagining what things would look like but she gave it a good effort.

Next we took a look at the world of graphic design...logos, branding, symbolism, and style.  We borrowed an idea from the blogs to have her design a logo with her name. This was very hard for her to do, both to come up with an ideas and to try to execute. Her perfectionism got in the way of her creativity her and she became quite frustrated so we called it quits. I think she wants to come back to this and try drawing a comic instead to finish this step.

I asked her to think about how she would like to complete step five. Once she decides and completes it she'll be done with the badge but this project was so fun it sparked may more ideas of things she wants to try and create. It also helped her understand that she doesn't have to "get it right" the first time, and that that are always many ways to draw the same object. I had fun drawing right along with her, challenging my creativity in ways I haven't done in a while and also getting outside my comfort zone by sharing what I was doing with her as I was doing it. I tend to draw just for me so it was good to let her see my struggles and missteps too.

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