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Inside Out Cities

Water based markers, and black marker art. 

· Education,art,workshops,Lesson Plans

Inside out cities.... This is a project that I love, and it leans itself to so many amazing learning engagements. Adapt it, extend it, have fun with what your kids could create.

Grade level - as with all of my units, you can introduce them at any age from kindergarten to adult... you can expect different outcomes at each age, and can add complexity whenever you introduce a ‘learning engagement’

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Discussion points - I try to have these discussions with students (in various ways) before or during most art making.... at all ages.

“When choosing colours for the sky... is there something you want to communicate? Is there a feeling? A mood? A Cultural or specific way for experiencing the world that colour will help you to communicate?”

“How does your belief and experience of colour differ to the students around you? Can you put visual clues within your art to help the audience understand your perspective more?”

“Are you being intentional in your use of patterns, lines and shapes within your buildings? What do your lines communicate? Your use of jagged sharp lines or smooth flowing lines will help communicate mood and emotion as well as cultural understandings. Consider this before you design”

“If you were looking at the world from a different perspective... how would it look different?”

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Concepts (Some thoughts about what is being learned and what can be assessed)

Art as expression - how have the students used colour and line to express their thinking?

Art for confidence - how have the students engaged with the art... what did they do that is new learning for them. How did they reflect on the challenges? What did they celebrate?

Art for Creativity - how have the students made choices that are different to the examples given? What 'original ideas that have value' did they bring into their art work?

Art Making

- foundational thinking around 1 point perspective

- using water based markers

- blending colours (were they able to explain why they chose the colour graduations that they used?)

- fine line work

Materials needed...

  • Thick watercolour A4 paper or card
  • HB pencils
  • Brush Markers (water based) 
  • Water brushes (filled with water)
  • Black pens (if possible both fine tip and thick tip... depending on the age and skill level of students)
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My Usual Disclaimer... I am NOT an advocate of cookie cutter art projects. In my opinion they do not belong in an effective arts programme. For me there is no argument or discussion on this subject. I'm pointing this out because if you use my plans, I hope that you accept the heart of what I try to teach my students, and don't water these plans down with templates and 'copy me' instruction.

Lesson progression (35-75 minutes depending on the level of detail you require)

1) Draw a circle on the A4 card. (use a lid or container to trace)

2) Lightly sketch buildings around the edge of the circle, moving inward... and tapering as they reach the middle. Use a variety of building shapes. Use your imagination here; this can be purely fantasy, space, a known city, or just shape based. Please do not use a template... encourage students to design their own cities. Some may end up completely doing their own thing... dinosaurs :) You should be fine with that.

Model the first part of the lesson by demonstrating steps one and two (have each student discuss why the buildings are the shape they are... if they can grasp the concept of foreshortening, have them lay on the ground and look at the room for this angle. If too young, don't expect perspective.

3) Use water based brush pens to colour in the Sky only. I try and create a gradient of colours, darkest in the middle, through to lightest on the outside. Demonstrate your routines for brush markers (only use on an angle, don't push down on the tip, press lightly). I usually use the colour progression... dark purple, blue, light-blue, light-purple, pink, orange, yellow. I give the students all the colours though, and do not give them an example on display... I want them to create their own progression.

4) Use the water brushes to blend the colours together (a regular soft brush with water works too). Start with the light colours and move in. a circular motion works well.

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5) Dry with tissue or a hairdryer

6) Draw around the edges of the buildings with black marker. follow the edge of the colour rather than the initial drawn lines. add details, patterns, lines and features as necessary.

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- Mountains,
- Creatures, animals, people,

- Change the shape of the drawing

- Do full colour (these work really well as planets)

- Use the medium, but change the lesson design.

Please share your outcomes with me. Hope you enjoyed :)