I find that using pre-existing lesson plans can be a great starting point, especially when learning a new media or about a new subject matter. A short while back, I was perusing Dick Blick’s lesson plan section and found one that appealed to me. It featured a form of artwork that was new to me, you can see it here, Oaxacan Texture Critter lesson plan.
As an art educator, broadening my students’ horizons, as well as my own is an important aspect of what I do. This time around, we learned about a new folk art from Mexico, the Oaxacan wood carvings. This online gallery has some beautiful examples of these animal carvings that are covered in whimsical, two-dimensional designs to create visual texture. Some of the designs are meant to mimic the animal’s body coverings, and yet others are just meant for design.
First, as a class we talked about actual texture that we feel with our sense of touch. Then, we discussed visual texture that we see with our eyes. Students looked at photos of Oaxacan wood carvings. Students compared and contrasted the different types of textures with a partner and discussed their findings with the class.
Next, the 1st and 2nd graders created a simple outline of an animal of his/her choice. They then began to fill in the animal with at least ten different types of texture, using color pencil. Students found that due to the large size of the final paper, often more than ten designs were needed.
Students were given the option to create a background of their choice – using simple designs or creating scenery behind their animal. Students were also given the option to add markers into the background if they wished.
The results are varied and fun. The students enjoyed creating creatures without the sense it had to be photo realistic and yet had enough choices to make on their own to make each assignment unique. Each drawing is as different as the student who made it. Below is a sampling from one first grade class.