Op Art and Colored Pencil Tutorial - Art 1

   I love Op Art and I thought it would be the perfect lesson to teach Art 1's how to use colored pencils. We began by discussing Op Art, M.C. Escher, Victor Vasarely, and Bridget Riley. Then we discussed the project which was to use colored pencil and value to create an Optical Illusion.
- Drawing must be an optical illusion
- Color pencil value to create the illusion (at least 3 values)
- Color pencil technique
- Craftsmanship
- Completeness - illusion must fill the page, traced in black sharpie, and have colored pencil value throughout. 
   Before we discussed how to use the prism colored pencils I showed them many optical illusion. I also put together a handout of optical illusion that they could use. Many used ideas from the handouts, but others sought out other ideas. Here is a link to my pinterest page with the Op ideas I included in my handout.
9"x12" paper
prisma colored pencils
Op Art Handout
   THough not required to, many students drew a few Op designs to see which they liked best… Or which was the easiest to draw. 

   After one day of intro and planning, the next day we practiced using blending colored pencils in our sketchbooks. I was inspired by this pin to create some pictures for my powerpoint to better explain the steps of blending. Students were to choose at least 3 colors. A local color, white, and a darker color of the local. Below are the pictures that I made and used.

Color lightly with local color

Use heavier pressure with the local color for the mid tone. Leave the middle alone for the highlight.

Blend all over with white
Finally, add the shadow color. I also added that you could blend everything again with the white. (or colorless blender if you have them)

   After going over the steps via PowerPoint I also demoed on the lady bug doc camera. I always teach in an I do, We do, You do fashion. I also like to preview what's coming before I explain further. Hence, the PowerPoint explanation before the demo. Next, the students practiced with me prompting. Then, they did it on their own while I walked around to give assistance. 
   While walking around to check for understanding I asked students about their design ideas and how they would use the pencils to show value. Not all designs would be colored the same way. Students had to think where the lighter and darker values would go. 
   I could not have dreamed of a better outcome to this project. Students would get a little frustrated towards the end because their hand hurt or it was taking so long. I just kept reminding them to literally shake it off and look how well they have done so far. Because of those complaints I would not do this project larger then 9"x12". 


Gelli Plates, monoprinting, principles, and a critique

I absolutely could not wait to try my new Gelli Plates with my Art 3 students. I not only wanted them to experiment with the plates, but I wanted them to apply knowledge of the art principles. Earlier that semester I had given a pre-test on the principles of art and the results who poor… to say the least… Art 3 is a precursor to AP Studio Art and they must understand the principles and learn to identify them. 
Voila, a lesson is born. Monoprinting, principles, and a critique
Students were reintroduced to the principles of art using many visual examples. Then, in groups, they had to decide what principle(s) the image on the screen was displaying. This promoted discussion within the group and competition amongst all groups because I said winning table would be cleaned up by me :). Not only did they have a tell me what principle was used, but had to explain how it was used. Sometimes they would even point out a principle I missed and had to explain their reasoning for that. 

Next, came the demonstration of the mono printing process. First, I showed two youtube videos on mono printing which you can find on my Printmaking Pinterest page. Then, I demoed where the materials were and how to use them. What I love most about Gelli Plates is that you could use any kind of acrylic paint and other material to "block" the paint. This excited the students more then anything because the whole process is very experimental. 
gelli arts plates
paint pallets 
pallet knives
7"x7" printing papers
scrap paper
bubble wrap
found objects
I allowed them one day of "play" so they could experiment and make some random pieces. Also, because the plates of 6"x6" I cut plenty of 7"x7" papers for them to use. 

At the end of the "play" day I introduced the project. 
They were to choose 4 principles and create a print for each. They used their sketchbooks to draw out some ideas, but many of them kept experimenting and would decide on the principle after the print was made. This was fine with me because they still had to identify the principle. So either way they were applying that knowledge. 

Finally, after the projects were complete we broke into our critique groups. Students placed a post-it next to each print to identify the principle they used and how that principle is being used. Peer critiqers were to write whether the principle was successful or not, why, and what could they have done differently. 

Overall, it was a successful project. Students learned their principles, argued their ideas, and learned mono printing. Though, I do think you need that day of play because students will want to use their own ideas more then the principles. Also, some of the "play" ones can even be used in their project because they realized they were using a principle of art. 
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