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They came two by two
Arts & Activities, June, 2004 by Cheryl Crumpecker

After drawing contour-line shoes, flowers and bicycles from observation, it was time for my third-grade students to draw more complex compositions. I wanted this next picture to be a balance between observation and imagination/memory.

A collection of small stuffed animals provided the perfect solution for limiting the subject matter while still allowing for individual creativity. We combined the observation drawings of the animals with personal interpretations of Noah's ark.

Each student was given a stuffed animal to draw, a sheet of watercolor paper and a water-based (but not washable) thin black marker. The reason for using markers is that, when drawing with pencils, my young students seem to spend more time thinking about how to change a line than trying to draw it correctly the first time, and they also have a tendency to draw too small.

The students pose their animals and start drawing the outside contour shape of their animal with the head positioned near the middle of their paper and its bottom in the foreground. The inside contour lines are added only when the outside contour is completed. Their animals are then reposed and the process is repeated, resulting in two animals of the same kind.

Now the students let their imagination and personality take over. After discussing what an ark could/would look like, whether it should be floating, whether is was before or after the flood, or whether the ark was still a work in progress, the environment is begun--still using the black markers. In order to get a good size comparison, the bottom of the ark has to be high on the page.

When the ark is finished, a winding, receding path is drawn from the animals through the middle ground, up to the arks. This is the hardest part for my students and sometimes isn't possible for some of the children due to where they placed their animals and/or ark. The rest of their environment is now added, such as other pairs of animals, trees, mountains, flowers and so on.

The painting is begun on the second day. Since the emphasis of this picture is not color-mixing, I use premixed liquid watercolors distributed in plastic paint-cup strips, one for every two students. When changing colors, students merely need to dry their brushes on paper towels. Care needs to be taken not to have their brushes too full of paint, since too much liquid will completely wash away the marker lines. When moistened, the edges of the marker lines become softened and the bold colors of the watercolors becomes more subtle as a slight blending occurs.

The pictures are now finished and ready to be admired. Observation and imagination: What a great combination!


Students will ...

* compose pictures combining observation and imagination.

* distinguish between foreground, middle ground and background.

* demonstrate knowledge of perspective through size and overlapping.

* demonstrate a controlled use of watercolor.


* Small stuffed animals

* Thin black markers

* Liquid watercolors distributed in plastic paint-cup strips

* Watercolor brushes

* Paper towels

* 1 2" x 18" watercolor paper

Cheryl Crumpecker teaches K-3 art at St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, Missouri.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Bibliography for "They came two by two"
Cheryl Crumpecker "They came two by two". Arts & Activities. June 2004. FindArticles.com. 23 Sep. 2006.

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