Saturday, March 17, 2018

Winter Fox with Moonlit Sky

Winter Foxes, ages 6-7

My little class (6-7 year olds) worked hard to develop this multi-step winter landscape with fox, forest and moon. So many skills and techniques were exercised and so much learning happened in this project! And the best part about it? The little artists were enthusiastic about each and every step involved.
Painting tints and shade for sky
Finger painting the ground

Tint and Shade Sky

Creating tints and shades with blue. Using tempera paint, we started with a white moon in the center of our paper, and added a barely there addition of blue to our paint brush by double loading a fully loaded white brush in a teeny bit of blue. We created a second ring around our white moon in a slightly blue (but still mostly white) color. We kept doing this, adding more blue each time to our loaded white brush. Once we reached our full blue capacity, we added a teeny bit of black to our blue to create a shade. We set these to dry.
Foxes in pencil
Students were given brown drawing paper and drew their foxes following my drawing demonstration on the white board. Students also had visuals to reference at their desk (photographs and drawing of foxes), and were asked to observer all lines, shapes and details before and during drawing.
As we drew, we broke the fox down into basic shapes (triangle snout, semi-circle top of head, etc. ) and refined our lines and shapes as we went along, always being careful where one line ends, begins or connects to another. These guys are getting good at doing this independently but making sure they draw BIG enough is still an issue. I like to check for size before continuing, and often ask them to enlarge their head, snout, etc.

Once drawn, we began coloring. We went for a stylized fox, so we used expressive and somewhat unrealistic renderings of fur. This gives our fox a textured, fuzzy, furry look, which is what we want, but with a fun and unexpected twist.
We began with white colored pencil (chest, beard, tail tip and inner ear) and added shadows in blue. Students were asked NOT to color using typical back and forth strokes, but rather to color using only short hatching and cross hatching in a wide range of warm and neutral colors. Students were encouraged to use as many colors as possible, but to try to use darker and lighter colors where they see shifts in value on their fox photographs (this builds observation skills, and requires them to look for changes in value). Eyes are important so these were emphasized with darker pencils. Once complete, we broke out the soft chalk pastels. To prevent overdoing the chalk (which is easy) we rubbed chalk on our scratch paper, then smudged our fingers in the color, and lightly applied this color to our fox. We used many different warm colored chalk for variety. We cut out our foxes.

Trees and Branches
We used thin round brushes to created the pine tree using black and green, starting at the top and working our way down in a triangle shape, dabbing brush strokes in layers all the way down. We then added snow on our branches by dabbing white over top some of our brushes. We were mindful of working randomly, using varied sizes, so as not to create an unnatural pattern of snow dabs.
Snowy branches
Branches were made using double-loaded brown and black paint and pulling our brush upwards and toward the center (stopping short of the moon) and tapering off to thin and pointy ends. This was not easy for the little guys, but giving them a small detail brush for this step helped.

Snow on branches was painted on any branch surface that is horizontal. The kids noted themselves that snow can only sit atop branches that stick out horizontally, or else it would fall or slide down. Well done!

Finishing Touches
Once foxes were pasted on our background, we drew in some distance pine trees behind our fox in greens and blues.
We added a finger smudge of blue and green chalk under our fox for a shadow.
Lastly, we lightly outlined the edge of our fox with charcoal stick, then smudged, to create a bit more depth behind the fox.

Beautiful! So much depth and richness. The kids were super proud.

Elena 6

Aditri, 7

Mei Mei, 7

Rune, 6

Yiming, 6

Daniel, 7