We taught this observational drawing scheme during the first term with Y7 students. The aim of the art project was to develop Year 7 students’ drawing skills at the start of the year and give them an introduction to the steps taken when creating realistic observational drawings.
Looking first at the hyperrealist artist Marcello Barenghi, students created artist research pages in their sketchbooks and watched YouTube videos of him working. These were great to play as students were entering the classroom / working.
You can download a Marcello Barenghi artist research handout here for free!
Next we showed students how to create realistic observational drawings. Students started the by looking at the outline of their packages, carefully drawing in the shape and pressing on lightly. Next they checked their proportions before moving on to adding details and finally they added tones.
Through a series of lessons, students evaluated their work, made improvements and looked at a range of pencil drawing techniques such as blending tones smoothly, adding fine details and working with highlights.
My art students had fun on this project and really worked hard over a series of lessons, trying to capture details in their observational drawings and control their pencils. They were aiming to draw the outlines accurately, add as many details as possible, use 5 tones on their drawings and blend them smoothly.
Towards the end of the project it was important to push students to complete their drawings by adding a full range of tones – lots of students thought that simply adding a bit of shading meant it was ‘done’… Using different activities at the start and the end of the lesson helped with this. I also showed students how to create creases and crinkles to help make their drawings look 3D.
I think the final results are excellent and clearly show how much effort the students put in! Keeping up the motivation for one drawing over a series of lessons was tricky, so fun starters and plenaries helped.
I have created a presentation with over 50 art starter and plenary activities – enjoy!