Art and Design
How can you help your child improve in Art and Design?
Much of the assessment, in most Key Stage 3 projects, will be based on students’ drawing skills. Observing and recording what they see, in various ways, will be a large part of all year 7, 8 and 9 projects.
1) This might sound obvious but students need to make sure that they LISTEN CAREFULLY and DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE ASKED TO DO. They should copy down homework accurately and ASK THEIR TEACHER if they are not sure what to do.
2) They should work to the size specified and FILL THE SPACE. It is usually better to make a drawing too big -so that it goes off the edges -rather than too small. Drawing small means there is little room for detail or to model the forms with tone and colour. Drawing big means they can use lots of detail and strong tone.
3) Homework will always be relevant to class work– they need to remember what has been taught and USE THIS KNOWLEDGE at home. Often they would have been shown examples of what is expected.
4) Sketchbooks should be worked through one page at a time, with no crossing out or blank pages – their BOOK SHOULD LOOK FULL, with all work having a title, date and either C/W (class work) or H/W (homework).
5) When drawing from OBSERVATION they should select the subject matter carefully. They need to think about the angle at which they observe the object and where the object is placed. Opting for side lighting gives a good sense of the form to the object, through highlights and shadows.
6) Students should ensure they DRAW WHAT THEY SEE – NOT WHAT THEY THINK THEY SEE! The idea of an object (in the imagination) is usually very different to what it actually looks like. To help with this they could try tracing round the object, following the edges and various shapes, with their finger in the air – this shape is what should then be drawn on the paper.
7) When STARTING/PLANNING OUT A DRAWING, students need to draw VERY LIGHTLY and SKETCHILY, with an HB pencil – at this stage using little more pressure than the weight of the pencil – so the size, shape and position of the drawing can easily be altered if necessary. (If they press too hard it will be impossible to erase the “engraved ditch” of a line.)
8) In tonal drawings students need to remember to use a SOFT PENCIL (soft pencils are the B pencils – ranging from B to 9B.) The larger the number, the softer the pencil – usually a 2B, 3B or 4B is sufficiently soft for KS3 students. With a soft pencil they can get a good tonal range – the soft pencil gives a good BLACK. They should be able to count all 5 tones in their tonal drawings - WHITE (paper), LIGHT GREY, MID GREY, DARK GREY AND BLACK. Students should not complete a tone drawing with just an HB pencil.
9) When ADDING TONE (shades) they should look to see where the darkest tones need to be – they could try squinting through half-closed eyes to work this out. The darkest parts should be BLACK, and the lightest parts should be WHITE (paper) – these will often correspond to the shapes of shadows and highlights. They should also remember to include the range of three greys, to make the 5 tones.
10) They need to look at the shapes of HIGHLIGHTS and SHADOWS, as well as the main shapes forming the object. Also they should include part of the surface it is resting on and some background tone.
11) Students should SHADE PARALLEL to the outline of the object, aiming to finish a drawing with no lines visible – ALL LINES SHOULD BECOME EDGES.
12) When asked to RESEARCH FROM THE INTERNET students should make sure that their research is accurate - if they Google “Picasso” a lot of the results are of work by other cubist artists, cartoon versions of cubist work, work by artists who were influenced by Picasso, or, sometimes, work by an artist whose name appeared alongside the name of Picasso!
13) When working in COLOUR, unless specifically told otherwise, students should use coloured pencils – NEVER FELT PENS. Coloured pencils can be blended, to show subtle variations of tone and colour, and the strength gradually built up by layering one colour over another – students should usually try to not use one flat colour to fill an area.Students need to give their work the TIME, CARE AND EFFORT needed to do it PROPERLY and FINISH IT! They should try not to leave it until the night before it is due as something else might come up and this might mean they do not have the time needed to produce