Today is nose day in the art room. Nose day you say? Simple – my 8th graders are working on their Fractured Face unit in which they are drawing eyes, mouths, and noses. Learn more about that here but more importantly today, let’s stick to the nose day.
Nose day is a dreaded day for my students. After learning how to draw an eye (one of many ways to draw) using line and value, they also had the pleasure of experiencing instruction on mouths – using less line and more value. Finally, they are on their best for last day (yep) in which they use little to no line and lots and lots and LOTS of value studies.
1. Constantly repeat the tried-and-true following statements to them as they are working:
– If it wasn’t hard, I wouldn’t have you try this, again, if it wasn’t hard, I wouldn’t have you try…
– Value is much more effective than line alone, value is much more effective than line alone, value is…
– Drawing what your head wants and what your eyes see are two entirely different concepts, drawing what your…
2. Give them some left brain instruction with some right brain visuals.
– They need some instruction on this. Students can’t just look at an image and hope to make it realistic the first time around. Of course, there are those art prodigies that will forever be more talented than our own selves but giving them instruction helps them comprehend some of the basic information they are viewing (a nose has two nostrils for instance – and by golly, they are big black holes).
3. Remind them that the instructions you’ve given are not the only way to do things.
– With a bit of prompting, this can help them figure out what from the instruction works and what doesn’t. Ask them to look at their first attempt and apply what works to their second. Then ask them to see what doesn’t and either figure out how to make it work or ignore it all together. Great problem solving skills in this aspect.
4. Don’t walk through the process with them right away.
– Let them try it on their own a few times without your walk through – this allows students to make their own inferences and decisions based off of what they have so that when you do walk through it with them – some of what they did translates into either correct understanding or problem solving “fix” mode.
For each part of the face, I have a left brain instruction sheet that students have in front of them. It is detailed enough to show the steps and describe what to pay attention to but not as detailed as other instructions so that students have a chance to figure out what they’re seeing and how to translate it into a drawing. The biggest problem with realistic drawing is that what our eyes see and how our brain translates it is typically incorrect which brings light on left vs. right brain thinking. Combing the two like this creates an environment in which your students (or you) can have both sides working together.
You may download the file with these instructions here: Drawing the Nose – ArtClasswithLMJ
Stay tuned for more “how to” sheets…when I have a minute!