AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition

Students use crayon techniques to create a drawing of an imaginary bird at their window that clearly shows outside and inside. 

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 6

Subject

Language Arts
Science
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

background contrast depth detail emphasis focal point foreground space

Materials

Crayola Crayons - 24 Count Crayola Sketchbooks - 1 per student Drawing Paper - 30.5 cm x 4 cm (12" x 18") Pencils

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Steps

AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition - Step One

Step One

  1. Examine the pictures of birds.
  2. Brainstorm a list of their common characteristics. 

*Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bird_Diversity_2013.png#/media/File:Bird_Diversity_2013.png

 

AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose one of the pictures of paintings that appeals to you for some reason.
    Krohg
    Maes
    Sunnerberg
    Badger

    Irolli
  2. List the things that you find interesting about it.
  3. Explain how you know what is inside and what is outside in this picture.
  4. How has the artist made you want to know more?

*Image: By Christian Krohg - Flickr: Karl Nordström, Bosc d'Anjou, 2012-07-29 14:55:25, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25536999

AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Make some thumbnail sketches of your ideas. 
  2. Use the thumbnail sketches as a guide, but don't be afraid to change things as your drawing progresses.
AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Begin by drawing your composition.
  2. Use the thumbnail sketches as a guide, but don't be afraid to change things as your drawing progresses.
  3. Remember to use a variety of crayon techniques as you complete the drawing.
AT MY WINDOW – Space, Colour, Composition - Step Five

Step Five

  1. View your drawing with fresh eyes.
    - How can you tell what is inside and what is outside?
    - How do areas of contrast move your eye through the picture plane?
    - What crayon techniques did you use? 
    - What do you like best about your picture?
    - What story does your picture tell?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use a variety of crayon techniques;
  • create a picture of an imaginary bird at their window; 
  • create a composition that clearly shows outside and inside;
  • use contrast to create emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

Extensions

Have students:

  • create a rod puppet of their bird using the I Have a Story to Tell lesson plan available on this website;
  • work with a small group to write a story using the puppets;
  • include a part where the birds fly by windows;
  • practice their puppet play;
  • present their play to the class.

Prepare

  1. This lesson can be used to introduce or accompany a science unit on birds. 
  2. Prior to this lesson have students use the Exploring Crayons lesson plan available on this website to practice a variety of techniques in their sketchbooks.
  3. Download images of Birds from the Internet, or find images in books or magazines of a variety of birds.
  4. Gather images of artist's paintings featuring a view from a window. For example,
    Krohg
    Maes
    Sunnerberg
    Badger

    Irolli

Introduction

  1. View and discuss a variety of bird pictures to find some common characteristics.
  2. List common characteristics of birds on a chart paper, e.g.,
    - feathers
    - wings
    - beaks with no teeth
    - lay eggs
    - scaly legs
    - hollow bones so they can fly
    - excellent vision
  3. View and discuss the Krohg image focussing on how the composition creates the illusion of depth and inside/outside space, e.g.,
    - placement of the figure in the foreground looking out into the scene
    - details of the window frame and railing
    - use of reflection on the window
    - details of the garden with receding lines and shapes
    - muted colours high on the picture plane 
    - high horizon line
  4. Introduce the challenge

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a drawing of an imaginary bird that has come to your window.
  2. Use crayon techniques such as blending and gradation.
  3. Include contrast to create emphasis.
  4. Create a composition that clearly shows outside and inside.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - explored ideas by looking at art
    - made and used planning sketches
    - composed a picture that clearly shows inside and outside
    - created a unique picture of an imaginary bird at my window
    - used a variety of crayon techniques
    - included contrast to create emphasis
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the drawings are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    - Look closely at the drawings.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    - placement of a figure if there is one
    - details that show inside different than outside
    - use of bright and muted colour 
    - use of contrast to draw attention to different parts of the composition
    technique – use of different crayon techniques to create the sense of space

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the pictures, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Window_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Window_self-assessment.pdf)