Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Student Inspired Artwork

A few weeks ago I interviewed artist Danny Brito about being a professional artist. I shared his interview with my 3rd and 4th grade students, showed them samples of his work, and challenged them to create a self-portrait using Danny's style as their inspiration. While some of my students found this very challenging, I was very happy with many of the finished products.

I think it is important for my students to learn how to draw a self-portrait and at least try to make it look like them instead of just drawing a stick figure with a smiley-face. Students have to illustrate all sorts of things with their own drawings in elementary school and if they have never had a chance to learn the details of how to compose a face so that it looks somewhat realistic, the will never be able to conceptually grasp the difference between an illustration, a cartoon, a realistic drawing and a photograph....and I hate it when kids say that they can't draw! I know that by adulthood, many people give up...but kids have so much potential to develop that skill.....just practice!!! I try to teach my students to create self-portraits every year, and I was super excited to have some new inspiration this year with the polaroid portraits by Danny Brito!!

I encouraged my little artists to keep the white border around the portrait like a polaroid picture (I had to show them a sample polaroid photo and a camera and explain how this sort of photography works...some of them had never seen such a thing before!) But I also suggested that they add a pet or a thought bubble so that the drawing would look more like them, even if the portrait part wasn't an exact match...I was hoping to relieve some of the pressure because I realize that not all of my students are confident in their drawing abilities...especially when it comes to drawing people.

At this age, sometimes craftsmanship isn't exactly what it should I try not to focus so much on every speck of coloring inside the lines and instead, embrace the personality behind the entire composition. For some of my students, that style of coloring will always represent them. It is hard to think of it that way because craftsmanship is super important...but so is personal style...I learned a lot about my students from this project. Hope you enjoy!

And like any project that I have really high hopes for...I had my students create some practice drawings while looking in a mirror to get warmed up to the idea of drawing their own face. These preliminary sketches are some of my favorite things from this experience...I almost hated to make them add color--sometimes that ruins it!

I would just like to thank Danny for his inspiration and his interview! If you haven't seen his work, you should really go check it out. I can't wait to order my custom Polaroid Portrait!!


Maria Ontiveros said...

Those are awesome - I love the framing and the personality that shines through each one.

Lindsay Harrison said...

What a cool idea! The girl with the wavy brown hair and the owl looks familiar! These are so fun!