This was a starter lesson which introduced new keywords: Abstract and Expressive. It taught students that they can create drawings which aren’t ‘life like’ and focused on improving observation.
The students had already tried continuous line drawings but only briefly, so I expanded the idea and spent around 25 minutes on this activity with the class. The drawings can be of any objects, however I chose natural forms with unusual shapes and sizes to make sure students were really looking at the object and not making it up.
Step by step:
1. Introduce the theme of the lesson “Continuous Line Drawings”. Explain the aims: Produce 2 continuous line drawings. One using a pen, and one using pencil without looking at their paper. Students have 3 minutes for each drawing.
2. Show the work of Claude Heath. I used his blind drawings and asked the students to work in pairs to write 2/3 words to describe his work. [This worked well but some students really struggled to think of 3 words. The most common used were ‘messy’ and ‘3D’]
3. Show the class my own descriptive words. I chose ‘Abstract‘, ‘Expressive‘ and ‘Playful‘. [The class discussed these for a few minutes and asked me to explain the meaning of Abstract more]
4. Show the teacher example, these should be the same as the aims outlined at the start. Re-iterate that students can’t look at the paper for their second drawing.
5. Do a ‘live’ example for the class. Ask them to gather around to watch. Spend 3 minutes drawing, without looking at the page and ask one student to keep time. Ask the class to countdown when there are only 10 seconds left. Talk through each step of the drawing, enforcing the idea that students must look very carefully at the object.
6. Ask the students to get ready to start drawing. [I used a ‘bomb’ countdown timer which exploded after 3 minutes and the class really enjoyed it! It made them excited to start their second drawing and highlighted that they only had a limited time to draw as much as possible.]
7. After both drawings are done, ask for feedback.
8. Ask students to write one of the descriptive words on each drawing using a continuous line. [I could have made this clearer, as some students wrote words like ‘Dreadful’ to describe their work… Ha!]
This is the slideshow I used with the class – what do you think? Do you have any ideas you would add to the lesson or anything you’d change? Please let me know!
Here’s some of the outcomes by the students: