This is absolutely one of my favorite lessons–it usually takes only a few days, but it’s a different way of working and my kids really get into it. First, a video:
I first found Cheeming Boey through a student who had shown me some of his work. I was really fascinated by many of the things he does, but being the art teacher I am, my first thought of course turned to “How do I make this into a lesson?”
Honestly, it was not that difficult. I put together a few images from Boey’s website that showed a variety of techniques and styles that he had tried. Specifically, I was looking for hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, and other ways of adding value. We also looked at his choices with how and why he was adding writing, and when and where humor might be appropriate. We then talked composition, design, repetition and eliminating negative space–very important when you’re looking at a drawing that’s “in the round” and traverses the entire cup.
We started with writing, then moved on to sketches. The writing is simply a paragraph that has students give me their first impressions of what they’ve seen–do they like it, do they not, what they think about the working style, their overall opinion. More than anything, I just want to take the pulse of the class and see what they’re thinking before we get into the project. Later, when the project is complete, they will write again; we will be looking for their experience with the project and an answer to the question: Do you respect Cheeming Boey’s work more or less now that you’ve completed the project, and why?
Sketches are very simple–I am looking for nothing more than the idea of what they want to do for the project. There is a lot of room for student choice in this project, and I only require sketches so they don’t go in cold. They need a specific idea before they get going. I ask them to treat the sketch as a panoramic composition, imagining the long rectangle as it wraps around the cup. This technique often helps them visualize the idea of drawing to fill the entire space and makes concrete the idea of seeing things in the round. We start drawing with pencil, then go in with marker when they are feeling comfortable enough to make the jump.
My presentation took most of the day Monday (I like to talk WAY too much about art and art history, so sometimes we go a little longer than we should), but my excitement and the novelty of the project really got students keyed in. They came up with great sketches and have really been on top of the project. They’re working, they’re excited, and they’re engaged. As a teacher, you can’t ask for much more.
P.S.–A few pictures will make their way up here once we’re done.
P.P.S.–Those pictures I mentioned? They’re here.