Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Drawing Aerobics - pencil, a stopwatch, and some fun

Sometimes my students at South Shore Charter Public School can be self-conscious about drawing, and feel intimidated around their peers or when facing challenging subject.  Today I introduced them to "drawing aerobics", an exercise I came up with a few years ago to break the ice, break the surface tension, get their juices flowing.  I added a couple of suspenseful twists today, and got great results.  This exercise works with adults and child students alike.

As they arrived in class, I told them to get their sketch books and to make 4 rectangles on each of three pages, all different shapes and sizes.  As they did so, I placed 5" x 8" pieces of card stock on the tables in front of each student and then doled out a variety of objects onto the card stock; mini-still life setups.  There was a piggy bank, a jar with dice in it, binder clips, a cream pitcher, some building blocks, a ceramic chicken, jar with brushes in it, a miniature trophy, etc. 

I explained to the students that I would roll a die, which would tell how many minutes they would draw, (maximum time allotted was 3 minutes) then we drew a card from a deck.  If it was black, they could draw anyway they wanted.  If it was red, they needed to crop the drawing.  Then.. drum roll, if they pulled a face card, it would be a no eraser round!  They gasped.  

We had a ball, and they took risks, pushed themselves, and realized that 3 minutes is a long, long time when you are drawing the essence, the essentials of the object in front of you.  They cropped their images in very interesting ways, excitement!  We had a lot of laughs.  I had a large stopwatch running on my smartboard, some music in the background, and they happily rotated after every round. 

Everyone left happy, and successful, and feeling pretty accomplished... a good day. 


  1. Now that is a great day!! Wish I'd done something like that in art as a kid!

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