To begin the lesson I introduced students to the artist and creator of Blue Dog, George Rodrigue with this great video from CBS on YouTube.
The students were hooked. In a 3rd grader's eyes, nothing is cooler than a dog project. After a little Q & A session I read the book, Why is Blue Dog Blue? by George Rodrigue. This book really jump started some ideas! So to prepare for the painting students had to complete this sentence: "When I think of ______, I paint blue dog _______."
To begin, students followed along while I demonstrated how to draw Blue Dog. I really enjoy drawing lessons. I always try to use key Element of Art words to help guide students through the process. After the drawing lesson some students were disappointed in their drawing. They thought that since their drawing didn't look just like mine that it was no good. "On the contrary," I explained. "If everyone's drawing looked the same then our drawings would look pretty boring. What's fun and interesting about seeing the same thing?" The students began to understand and loosened up. Their personalities began to shine through as they continued to draw the background.
Next class time, we discussed how to make our Blue Dog "POP"! George Rodrigue uses a bold black outline around Blue Dog to emphasize the importance of the image. Plus is makes our dogs "POP"! We traced our drawing with black tempera cake paint. The tempera cakes allow us to have a better sharper outline. Plus, it dried very quickly and allowed us to continue to paint right away.
We then continued to paint Blue Dog with the tempera cakes. This step took two days.
Students loved this project because it was a way to express themselves which made the students take their time and do their best. Students always do their best when it is a project that peaks their interests.
This lesson was taken from Arts and Activities Magazine, April 2009 issue
What Color is your Dog? by June "Sam" Compton