Today's lesson was to nail down what a horizon line was in a landscape picture. To help us teach the lesson, we shared the book, Freight Train by Donald Crews.
It's a simple book with not very many words which enabled us plenty of time to talk about the illustrations. After reading the book, we took turns adding to a large-scale, collaborative drawing of a horizon with a train. Then each artist got a chance to make their own drawing on a smaller scale in their journals.
We returned to our art tables to find paint, pencils, markers, brushes and sponges:
We used 11x14 inch paper which is larger than our typical drawing and painting paper. Using a marker, our artists began by drawing a horizon.
Artist worked so intently to create their trains.
The sponges we're using are just inexpensive kitchen sponges that we had cut into simple shapes. They shape could be combined to make cars, wheels, smokestacks, and roofs.
In addition to how wonderfully functional the sponges are, squishing them in paint is just fun.
The creativity on each artists' train and background was really fun to witness!
er\\This picture book tells the story of a boys adventure through the woods with a flashlight. He discovers many animal friends using his flashlight. The illustrations are primarily black and white. Only the subjects illuminated by the beam of light are in color. The darkness surrounding his is illustrated in a lower-contrast grey.
Our artists enjoyed telling the story (since their are no words) and looking deep into the shadows to see if they could see what was happening behind the scenes, unknown to the boy and his flashlight.
In reading our story, we pointed out the uniqueness of the illustrations and the artist's use of contrast. Then, we gave our artists some charcoal to respond to the story in their journal.
We used both compressed charcoal, charcoal pencils, and white charcoal. We also had blending stumps.
Artists worked inside their journals which keeps a record of each story we read.
Blending and smudging the charcoal is the best part.
Our responses to the story show the same darkness, shadows, and low contrast as the book illustrations. Some of our artists chose to document the animals while other drew the boy.
Our journals each got a quick spray with fixative and a sticker to label the date and the story. And then we moved on to the next activity! (nothing in our 90 minute class lasts more than 15-20 minutes).
I hope we've inspired you to explore shadows-and-highlights with your preschoolers either at home or in the classroom!
More from the Preschool Art Room:
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.