Chalk Forms (E&P Part 2)

After the 7th graders are introduced to the Elements of Art and Principles of design, we apply their understanding further by creating a project using chalk pastels.  Reviewing the Elements and Principles is not necessary for the unit but it creates a great foundation of information allowing them to understand, apply, and create (Who doesn’t love Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy?).


Students will need black construction paper (the fade resistant always looks better – any size but I always go big), chalk pastels (bright colors), and white crayons – I use an old Japanese brand that’s been in my supply cupboard since, as the label states “1976”…but any white crayon or even oil pastel will work.

First, students create a horizon line with the white crayon.  In order to do that we have to recollect our knowledge of horizons and from that, decide what it means – this is usually quick and students know to draw a line across their page that separates the bottom from the top.  I instruct them to draw it about a third from the bottom.  Immediately, students want rulers.  Because it is never bad to practice, I require that they don’t use rulers.  You can draw a circle a hundred times with a stencil, but that doesn’t mean you know how to draw a circle – this simple requirement just pushes them to become more familiar with drawing straight lines, etc.
*Elements present: Line, Space

Second, students draw two forms that “sit” on the bottom section – whatever forms they want, one on the right and one on the left.  Have them draw these over the horizon line.  Make sure that the bottom of each form is underneath the horizon line to portray accuracy.
*Elements present: Line, Space, Form, Shape
*Principles present: Balance

Third, students need to erase the horizon line going through their form and depending on the form, erase any lines that make it seem “see through”.  For example, on the cylinder, you’ll see that I erased the top of the bottom oval to make it solid.  At this point, it is important to introduce a light source and talk about how the position of the light source effects step four.
*Elements present: Line, Space, Form
*Principles present: Balance

Fourth, students need to add value to their forms by thinking of their light source.  Continue using the white crayon – this creates a great texture on their drawings as well as a strong contrast between the white and black. My light source is clearly in the middle of the two shapes and this causes them to almost mirror each other as far as value goes.  because they have practice hatching, cross-hatching, and shading – students can pick which one they enjoy more (typically shading/blending).  I also talk about how different surfaces require different attention – i.e. it’s best to shade flat surfaces with straight direction and curved with rounded direction – exceptions apply, of course – seeing that a cylinder looks more geometric with straight sides.  It’s a great conversation to have because it reiterates that “there are 100 ways to do something”.
*Elements present: Line, Space, Form, Shape, Value, Texture
*Principles present: Balance, Contrast

Fifth, students are introduced to shadows.  I use my track lighting to flip the classroom into shadow central and we discuss why shadows end up in certain places.  We gather that shadows show up because light is blocked.  For instance, if someone is standing facing the sun, their shadow will develop behind them because light is blocked.  In comparison, a shadow shows up in front if us is the sun is behind us.  This applies to light sources.  Have students apply their discussion knowledge to their drawing by adding shadows.
*Elements present: Line, Space, Form, Shape, Value, Texture
*Principles present: Balance, Contrast

Sixth, and finally – students begin working on their background.  This is where we pull in the remaining six components. Students only concentrate on their background at this point.  To emphasis the forms, students will use pattern, rhythm, and color on their background.  We review patterns (something repeating), and discuss rhythm (patterns that vary) and how colors compliment each other depending on what you put together – and that it’s probably best to stay away from black or white because it would not help keep the forms emphasized.  An example would be what you see in the imagine, the colors orange and green are repeated while the line size varies.  By creating a pattern with rhythm, students also note the movement created because our eyes want to continue through the entire pattern.  By including 13/14 elements and principles – students have decided that we can add the 14th piece in there, unity because when using colors that work together in a scheme and having all the elements and principles present, it’s truly part of our drawings.
*Elements present: Line, Space, Form, Shape, Value, Texture, Color
*Principles present: Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Pattern, Rhythm, Movement, Unity

2-7-2013 8-06-12 AM

This student uses the colors and circles repetitively to create a pattern while adding variety to it by their placement and sizes (creating rhythm).

As you can see, the project is similar for each kids but during step six, students really have a chance to take their own interpretations of the information and create individual patterns and rhythms – sometimes completely surprising us and the rest of the class.  At the end of the unit, I introduce critiques (it’s the first unit) and we include practices such as self-assessment, peer-grading, written reflection, and class discussion.  you can see my summary of how I use a rubric here. At the beginning of every unit, students had goal set as well.  This makes grading easy and helps students keep themselves accountable.


3 responses to “Chalk Forms (E&P Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Elements and Principles Review (Part 1) | Art Class With LMJ·

  2. Pingback: Music Lesson in Art Class? | Art Class With LMJ·

  3. Pingback: 4th Grade Thiebaud Cupcakes Complete! | Art Class With LMJ·

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