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Graphic Translation

“The process of graphic translation produces drawings of instant recognition and startling visual interest. Graphic translation is as much art as it is design, and focuses on the creation of an image with the visual means of abstraction, reduction, and interpretation with point, line, plane, shade, and shadow.” – Kimberly Elam

I recently entered college to study Graphic Design and one of my first projects was to turn a shaded object into an abstract design. I chose a metallic robot and found it quite fun to translate my drawing into something that looked like an icon (on Adobe Illustrator :)) . The main purpose of the project was to focus on shape and shadow and learn the relationships between different parts of an object. Here is how it turned out:

Since it was so much fun, I decided to ask my older students to do the same with tracing paper and a sharpie only. I think it worked out quite well. I chose relatively simple objects so that they would have enough time to complete the drawings in one class.

I also gave them a Graphic Translation Handout . It explains the steps required in this project, including using lines, shapes, dots and patterns to produce the final design. 

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

Materials:
– Shading Pencils
– Sharpie Markers – Fine, Thick
– Tracing Paper

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The Mystic Owl

“A bird sitting on a tree is not afraid of the branch breaking.
Its trust is not on the branch, but on its wings.” 235241861000202.jpg

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Materials:
– Paper
– Shading Pencils
– Pencil Crayons (optional)

owlShading projects can be boring sometimes, so I try to find images where students can focus on various shading techniques without worrying too much about drawing the proportions correctly. I chose this owl because it is made up of simple body shapes and intricate details. There are not too many black areas, but a good contrast of dark and light. That way,  students can take the time to experiment with different tones and sizes of their pencil markings without making everything look too dark. 

Variations of this project can be made in the background by introducing other objects and splashes of colour. If this picture is too difficult to imitate, you can also find a more simple drawing (like the image on the top left) or use other animal examples.

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Up Up!

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather

IMAG2871Here is a fun project that combines architectural drawing, shading and watercolour! It is inspired by my friend’s art piece where she drew a gorgeous house with pen and added colourful balloons using Lindt chocolate wrappers. Of course, I did not have so many wrappers and decided to ask my students to paint in their balloons : ) To make it more fun, I chose interesting nature-themed buildings for my students to look off of. They could also draw from their imagination.

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Materials:
– Long Sheet of Paper
– Different Types of Shading Pencils
– Watercolour
– A handout of houses/buildings

 

Check out these lovely examples 🙂

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The Golden Gate Bridge

Another famous landmark that I chose for one of my painting lessons is 
the Golden Gate Bridge!

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This design is more simple than the Eiffel Tower project that I posted earlier : ) The first step is to draw and paint in the main structure. In the materials section, there is a handout that you can download which includes a simple sketch of the design. Then, you can add the background colours with multiple layers, mixing the paint so that they blend nicely together. Don’t forget to add reflections in the water and also the moon. Finally, the last step is to add the tree in the corner and also bridge cables using thin and light strokes. 

Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

Materials:
– Canvas (optional)
– Acrylic Paint
– Simple Sketch- Handout

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La Tour Eiffel – A day in Paris

Every semester, I try to incorporate a lesson that involves painting on canvas for my older students. This is one of the first painting projects that I have taught that actually went really well. I think my students enjoyed it because it involved a bit of structure and composition (something they could emulate and modify quite easily).

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Inspired by Cinnamon Cooney’s video: Beginners acrylic painting | Eiffel Tower | with stunning Sunrise Tutorial, I decided to make my own painting and I absolutely love Cooney’s depiction of the Eiffel Tower. Her tutorial shows how to add on each painted layer to include a graded backround, bright tower lights, a river, bushes and flowers. 

To make it easier for my students, I also gave them a simple sketch of the Eiffel Tower, roughly divided into 3 sections. In the materials section, you will find the handout. 

Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

Materials:
– Canvas
– Acrylic Paint
– Eiffel Tower Handout

 

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By The Seashore

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour, but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” -Sandy Gingras

IMAG2807.jpgToday, I taught my students this fantastic craft activity! They loved painting the background, rearranging seashells and making origami sea creatures 🙂 It is a project that encompasses many different skills and presents a challenge for those who like folding paper and creating 3D sculptures.

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

Materials:
– Large Cardboard Paper
– Acrylic Paint
– Square Pieces of Origami Paper
– Seashells Handout: Seashells
– Pencil Crayons or Watercolour Paint (for the seashells)
– White Glue and Glue Gun

Optional:
– Cork (for human character)
– Mini Seashells
– Glitter

I started the class by asking my students to paint the background with various shades/tones of blue and brown. We mostly used dark and light blue, turquoise, white, brown and yellow. After everyone was settled, I spent half an hour teaching how to make very simple origami creatures: Whale, Crab, Fish and Canoe

I also gave everyone a handout with different seashell designs. The students could either draw their own or colour and paint the ones on the sheet. After cutting them out, they glued on all their shells and origami pieces. Some painted on a cork to create a human figure. 

Here are some cool examples:

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All Kinds Of Everything

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Project Details

In this post, I have designed a summer-themed project that explores different watercolour techniques. Young artists can learn to create different textures while drawing insects, peacocks, plants and all kinds of everything!

Duration: 2-3 hours

Materials:
– Watercolour Paint & Paper
– Needle/Scissors (something pointy)
– Saran Wrap
– Oil Pastels
– Salt
– Ruler

Instructions:
1) Download: All Kinds of Everything Watercolour Project (A handout with drawing examples and instructions)
2) Divide your artwork into 3 sections
3) Think about what animal critters you would like to draw and use the handout as a starting point
4) Sketch your ideas onto the paper and incorporate 2-3 watercolour techniques in each section


Watercolour Techniques

There are many ways to paint with watercolour. The brush size, amount of water and quality of paint are factors that will affect the finished product of your work. To create special textures and effects, many artists use tools like salt, saran wrap and needles. 

Here are some examples of common watercolour techniques:

Flat Wash– Creating one value of colour by equally spreading a wet brush with paint.

Graded Wash– Adding different values (dark to light) by using more water to dilute the paint.

Salt: Adding salt on top of a wet surface to create a snowflake-like quality.

Wet into Wet: Wetting the paper first before painting. This creates a misty blend of colours great for objects like clouds and water.

Resist: Using oil pastel for small designs before painting on top. Beause oil resists water, your design will show-up.

Etching: Carving out patterns and outlines with a needle/scissors before painting. This will make thin lines and designs stand out.

Dry Brush: Using a very dry brush to create a scratchy-look.  This technique works great for objects like branches.

Opaque: Using lots of paint and less water to make a dark tone, taking away the transparency of watercolour.

Saran Wrap: Scrunching up a piece of saran wrap on top of a wet surface and leaving it for at least 5 min.


Inspiration

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Snowdrops and daffodils
Butterflies and bees
Sailboats and fishermen
Things of the sea.
Wishing-wells
Wedding bells
Early morning dew
All kinds of everything remind me of you…

– Derry Lindsay & Jackie Smith, “All Kinds of Everything”

This is an excerpt from a 1970s song that I absolutlely love and this project is named after it. As the summer weather is kicking in, I can’t resist staying outdoors to bathe in the sunshine and admire the flowers. So, I decided to capture these natural beauties in an artwork 🙂