We posted last week about this fabulous mechanical creatures inspired project that we did in one of our School’s Out camps.
We couldn’t get these mechanical creatures out of our system, so we taught a slightly condensed modified version in our hour long 5-9 yr old classes and then again in our Veteran’s Day camp later in the week (which was a little younger group).
This is literally the most amazing project because the discussion and prompts (see previous blog post) get their imaginations going and it is unbelievable what jumps straight out of their little heads and onto their paper! Some moms asked us who drew the mechanical creatures. Not even, “Did he draw this himself?”, but WHO drew them (as if it wasn’t in their realm of thinking that their child could have done it). Which by the way – we never touch their artwork and rarely even let them erase or start over. Not to mention I promise you there is no way any of us could have dreamt these up!!
That’s one thing we love so much about children’s art.
We often get asked if we teach “drawing” (as in “will they learn how to draw what they see?”) – well, yes and no. Eventually in our older classes we focus more on observational drawing (drawing what you see is relatively easy, believe it or not – it’s not so easy to draw from your imagination). So, much of what we do at this young age involves finding different ways of tapping into what is in their imaginations and helping them get it down on paper.
You will notice if you inspect these mechanical creature drawings carefully, their drawings are so whimsical and reflect so much of the world around them, things that have influenced them, things they love and have studied (this first one could be straight from the pages of Where the Wild Things Are – and a little 4 yr old drew a perfect little red mechanical narwhal!!). One of my earliest memories is sitting in my bed and reading over and over and over again that book, Corduroy (the teddy bear that lost his button). I was obsessed with not just the sad little story of how he had to sit alone on a shelf, not to mention the lost button – but I also remember studying the department store where he lived, his every feature, the color & texture of his overalls, his little eyes… But I digress ~ we’ll save children’s picture books for another day…
For our fellow art teachers, this is one of those projects that requires a LOT of prompting to keep adding more and more details. Expect them to proudly announce they’re done after the first gear is drawn, so be ready with a lot of questions like, “Well I see you have a wing – how is that attached? Does it move? Does it have a hinge?”
So fun! This first batch of photos was from our class (we drew on watercolor paper, some we had time to mount on black poster board), and the next batch were from our camp, where we went back to drawing on vellum. We LOVE the vellum, but it’s way too delicate to send home “as is” – so we mounted those on tooling foil, which was cool but impossible to photograph, not to mention we ran out of time! The finished illustrations are very simple + subtle – I’m not sure parents could fully appreciate how much time these took or how much they enjoyed inventing these mechanical creatures! We love every single one of them!
And last but not least, we had these two four year old friends in our Veteran’s Day camp. So young, but look closely & you can see they totally “got it”!! One of them designed her mechanical creatures about the size of a quarter! 🙂