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Metallic Scratch Art

Students recently completed a scratch-art project on silver or gold metallic scratch board. In this example, the student used a reference animal graphic and chose to fill in the sections on the design using intricate patterns and designs. The lesson emphasizes the use of texture shading and using value and contrast to make details easily discerned. We also try to eliminate resorting to simply outlining in the designs. The scratch material used to be an actual metal foil with a black coating and has now been replaced with a metallic film, possibly mylar, in place of the foil. I miss some of the characteristics of the foil media but I suppose the plastic has it merits.

Beste Liner Brushes

I recently purchased some Beste Finest Golden Taklon Hair liner brushes from Jerry’s Artarama for use on our comic panel paintings in tempera paint. I chose these brushes primarily because of the price and I was particular in wanting a long haired liner brush for those students who wished to try outlining their paintings in black paint rather than marker. I selected sizes 4 and 6 and purchased about 15 of each. (more…)

Mechanical Drawing Heart Designs

This week, students began creating Kaleidoscope Heart Designs. I like to have them do some variety of this type of art each year. Our first step is to create a blank heart template on 18×18″ white paper. Each student creates theirs from a demonstration I lead using a compass and ruler. One of the primary challenges is getting students to draw very lightly on what is essentially an under-drawing that should disappear behind the finished art in marker and colored pencil. (more…)

Painting in the Classroom

I have had good results using tempera paint for middle school art. Being water soluble means that I never have to be concerned about paint spills or brushes and materials not being cleaned completely. Tempera paint can sit for a year and still be dissolved easily in water. I recommend avoiding the cheapest tempera and go with the higher-end products. It is still student grade paint but you get what you pay for as far as brighter colors and better coverage.  I purchase mine in pump-top gallon jugs. I use tempera in an opaque painting application. I prefer watercolor paint when I switch to those projects but I’ve found that liquid tempera also works well for watercolor techniques. My projects make use of primary colors, plus white and black. (more…)

Scratch Art Tiki Face Designs

We recently completed a scratch-art project using Tiki inspired symmetrical faces as subject matter. For this project, I chose to use the largest student-grade scratch material I could find. I believe the sheets were 11×13″. We discussed and practiced symmetrical transfer to create our own Tiki faces. I also made available a set of pre-printed Tiki Style faces to choose from for those who didn’t feel confident about creating their own. After transferring the designs to scratch paper with chalk, I provided examples of wood texture and demonstrated some techniques to make the designs resemble three-dimensional carved wood.

Tiki Head Scratch Art Wood Texture v01


Spooooky Perspective

My classes are working this week on their Spooky/Autumn Perspective Drawings. I took the opportunity to prepare this lesson as a product for my TPT store. While my students work on theirs, it will remain at an introductory discount.

I’ve enjoyed doing this project for years and I always do it a bit differently. This time, we are completing a “Dual-Scene” in which the students will create a pair of drawings depicting the same scene or location but interpreted differently. Common solutions would be, a before-and-after scene, day-vs-night, spooky-vs-nonspooky, etc. We discuss a bit the idea of economy in art. Leaving a bit to the imagination of the viewer can help make the designs more interesting or mysterious. Students are able to choose a Halloween related theme or broad Autumn theme.  (more…)

Completed Cooperative Posters

Each grade level had time to complete a coop design. (6,7,8)  For the tiger and leopard, students could choose their colors and materials but they were instructed to color the appropriate portions dark or light according to the example on their tile worksheet. There are always a few who fail to follow through on this. They either reverse the values or choose colors that have almost no value difference. This makes the image less clear so those always need replaced. On the Mona Lisa poster, students were instructed to use violet, black, orange, and yellow only. Areas indicated as black were to be violet or black marker while areas containing hatching were to be colored with yellow or orange marker or colored pencil. White areas were not colored. (more…)

Cooperative Poster Projects

I sometimes end the year with a cooperative poster project. It is a flexible activity that fits well with the odd schedules, interruptions, and make-up work that are unavoidable at the end of the year. Students who are done with their primary work move on to the coop poster while the others catch up. Some students have time to do several tiles while others only have time for very few. My first choice is to provide a drawing grid in which the students are required to draw the tiles before coloring them. I supply a cart with various materials that the students are familiar with to use on the tiles.

For assembling the tiles into the final artwork, I prefer to create a large grid framework on kraft paper. This particular grid is four foot wide and five foot tall. The tiles are six inches. I hang the paper in the hall outside my classroom where there just happens to be six inch tiles on the wall…so it makes creating the grid in chalk just a little easier. I use double-stick tape behind the corners of the tiles to stick them down. I typically tape the top corners only in case I need to change one out. When complete, I have a student add tape to the lower corners. If I begin assembling some of the tiles in the classroom as they complete them, the students get more involved. I tell them that I will choose the best tiles for the image since I am having multiple of the tiles drawn and colored by several classes. Tiles that are too faint, for example, will eventually be replaced by more suitable ones. If they want to see their tile appear in the image, they have to put in the effort.

If there is still time left when a grid is completed, we simply begin a new one…possibly with a different image. If less time is available, we complete a coloring grid. This variety is pre-printed with the outlines and the students are only required to color the tiles.


I label some paper trays by letter for students to turn in completed tiles.




Doodle Designs

This week, students began working on their Doodle Designs. This is where they fill in the page with freehand doodles and patterns. They are provided numerous examples to help with ideas for a variety of hand-drawn patterns. I’ve done several varieties of this project over the years. This year, I provided each students with a large sheet of multicolor spectrum paper as a backdrop for their doodle designs. The paper is glossy (think wrapping paper) so I also provided Sharpie brand permanent markers. Additionally, the color blend paper is surprisingly easy to see through. This makes it possibly to use tracing techniques with no light box and may possibly allow for a “stained-glass” effect if the completed art is displayed in a window.

I have updated my Doodle Designs project on TPT with all new resources and placed the item on sale for the next few days. (more…)

Milestone Free Download on TPT

My 7-Day free download has expired. Thanks to all who shared or downloaded.

You’ll be drawn to this #FlashFreebie! Thanks, Outside the Lines Lesson Designs.

Posted by on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Op-Art Designs

My students began working on op-art designs this week. The designs are actually pre-printed copies. The activity is centered around applying color to the images. It’s a good opportunity to introduce a new technique or medium. This group is using watercolor pencils. As the designs are printed on regular copy paper, special considerations must be made. Students are instructed to use minimal water and to avoid “scrubbing around on the surface too much. I also advise them to paint alternating shapes while leaving dry spaces between the painted areas. This allows the paper to maintain is structure, avoid excessive wrinkling, and cut down on drying time. I have a drying rack but seldom need to use it on this project. It also prevents colors from bleeding into one another and gives the students more control. The following day, when the painted areas are thoroughly dry, the intermediate areas may be painted. I created a page with a grid of rectangles for practice with the new medium before starting their final art.

We are using Crayola watercolor pencils in sets of twelve. I place them in a zip-bag with a small sharpener. I have some spill resistant cups for the water. The brushes are Dynasty Ruby Student brushes. They were purchased in a classroom assortment from Sax (School Specialty). Students tend to choose the smaller sizes for this project. (Angle 1/4, Flat 6, Round 10)

This is a good project for allowing students to catch up on past projects. I have those students who need to finish previous work instead of moving on to the op-art designs. When they are ready, the op-art project is easy to abbreviate. I generally begin with large 11×17″ prints. Students with less time can do a 8.5×11” instead. Also, to save time, I may allow some students to black out selected portions of the design with a permanent marker before painting. Permanent marker must be used to avoid the color bleeding into the wet media. Finally, Students with very little time could be allowed to color the op-art with  marker of regular colored pencil if necessary.