Sunday, November 28, 2010

Action Figures

4th graders will be spending the next 2 class sessions creating action figures (with focus on proportion) and a background that demonstrates an understanding of the color wheel and color systems.

We start with kids measuring their own heads and figuring out how many heads tall they are (a little math never hurt anybody!). They'll use paper pieces (cut to 7 1/2 heads to the body) to position a figure doing something active.  I like to use Keith Haring's "Six Dancing People" and Bernard Stanley Hoyes, "In the Spirit" to illustrate how artists use movement in the human body. We often brainstorm some activities that people do that involve body movement. Sometimes kids pose for each other to get the joints and angles the way they want them.  Then I have them loosely make a contour drawing around the pieces.  I have to caution them NOT to trace or we end up with strange block figures!!
Next, students paint their figure using tints of acrylics.  If kids finish early they can use the body pieces to make other poses and try some gesture drawings.

On another day, when the paint is dry, children draw a ground line and cut off the bottom portion of their painting (cutting around the legs).

They glue their painting on a piece of construction paper that is the complement color of their figure.  After drawing a few lines to divide the upper part of their drawing they use crayons, oil pastels or markers to make line designs in each section.  I ask that one segment be colored solid in the same color as their bottom construction paper and that each section demonstrate some color system that they can explain (ie. primary colors, complementary colors, warm colors, etc).  I usually use Matisse's "Woman in a Purple Robe" when I talk about background patterns and colors.

Also, when I did this lesson as a regular classroom teacher, we also wrote cinquains (link: to illustrate the action of the figure and attached them to the final mounting.  I don't think I'll have time for that this year, though. 
I'll post some finished results when I get them.

1 comment:

  1. I posted a while ago about drawing people using a similara process to yours. When I demo, I'd draw a pose on the board and have the kids try to make their bodies in the shape on the board, and vice-versa. I especially encouraged them to notice tils of the hips, etc. We'll use this again when a do a 3-D people in action project (hopefully) later this year with older kids. Here's my post where I mentioned the process: