Layering and Shading Exercise

I used to introduce 3rd and 4th graders to shading and tinting techniques with circles and spheres, but found this week that straight lines worked much better. The students could just concentrate on adding color to lines, instead of dealing with tricky curves.
1. I had the students start with a sheet of black paper, a ruler and pencil. Instead of planning their entire drawing first with a lot of pencil lines, I insisted that they draw, color and shade each “pipe” first, before going on to the next. So, as shown in my diagram, they were to first draw two parallel lines on their paper, either horizontally or vertically – no diagonals allowed. When complete, they colored in this “pipe” a single main color, whichever they prefer.
2. When the “pipe” was filled with color, the students were to use a white pastel and add it on top of one side, and black pastel on the other. It was important that they go back and mix the main pastel color on top so that everything blended together and the colors didn’t look too striped. Soft gradations of color were the goal.
3. This step was repeated at least three times so that the students ended up with a picture that had one “pipe” in front, one in the middle, and one in the background. This project is packed with learning objectives (tinting and shading and layering) but brought some very amazing results from a group of talented kids I was fortunate enough to work with.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Four
2.1 Use shading (value) to transform a two-dimensional shape into what appears to be a three-dimensional form (e.g., circle to sphere).

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