I needed a project that I didn't need to worry about drying time and also would engage this very young group of girls for 45 minutes.
I decided to let them have some fun with the pastels.
After going back and forth about what to introduce for reference, I decided to present a pelican. Who doesn't like pelicans? They are a quirky creature with some amusing features to discover and draw.
Come to find out, the artist were not that familiar with pelicans and the picture I had pulled for them to observe and look at just showed the bird in a relaxed state.
Funny shape. Long beak. Quirky enough to bring forth some giggles but when I mentioned their beaks were like a basket, all giggles stopped.
What?! A basket?
And so I pulled my file of pelican reference one more time and brought out this picture.
The girls eyes were about as big as the pelicans mouth and they were all promptly fans of the lovable pelican.
And so we set off to draw our own pelicans. I asked them to find the different shapes of the bird.
What shape was the head?
The beak? Was it long or short? Fat or skinny?
What does the neck look like?
And then when they had recorded all the different shapes on their papers, I told them to connect them all together and finish their birds.
Once they were happy with their drawings, which they did on just a piece of copy paper, I handed them a piece of chalk to rub all over the back of the drawing.
After another onslaught of questions as to why they were rubbing chalk all over their papers, I taped them drawing side up on a piece of black pastel paper and asked them to trace over their drawings.
Questions answered as they lifted up their copy paper and saw a tracing in white chalk of their drawing on the black paper.
However more questions began when I handed each of them a black oil pastel and asked them to go over all the white lines with the black. Again with the whys while they began to think their art teacher was as quirky as the pelican, but I do this so their original drawings they worked so hard to complete are not lost once they begin adding the chalk pastel to the picture.
Because they like to color with the chalks and not only the room looks like a rainbow of color at the end, so do the kids and the oil pastel holds up strong against the layers and layers of chalk being applied.
It also makes for a pretty cool effect on the works too.
But as with all things with this age group when you allow them to explore and discover on their own, something magical happened to their final drawings. They were pelicans no more, but a colorful array of imaginary birds that only the 3 and 4 year old set can create.
We had birds with tufted crowns of feathers on their heads. A feature that when I had a second look at the original pelican reference is actually there, maybe not as exaggerated, but there is definitely a tuft of feathers on top of their heads. How excited was I to realize how well this child had really observed the pelican while creating her drawing. I also love the mix of pastels she put into the background. In her exploration of process, she created something really breathtaking.
And of course no bird with this age group would be complete without some very long eyelashes. A trait you will see throughout all the finished artworks.
Pelicans became pink because what 4 year old in their right mind doesn't like coloring with pink? Except I didn't have a pink pastel in the box so she created this pink by layering red and white over each other several times until she was happy. And yes, there's that sun young children are so famous for too. This drawing just oozes happiness on a sunny day, don't you think? And I love the composition, the beak going off the page just reinforces the bird popping up in the foreground of the paper.
This eye. I love the way she created the eye. And it was very thought out too and important for her that it not be lost in the coloring of the picture. I am also so impressed with the way she added the light blue to the white in the bird. No eyelashes but there's that famous sun...this time smiling at us too.
And finally, this sweet red bird. You can see where she explored mixing the red and yellow in the sun to create the orange and she loved putting color on the paper and then blending it with a paper towel. (A sad and failed attempt on my part to try to keep their hands somewhat clean)
And can I just point out how darling their signatures are at this age? They have learned the letters but maybe not so much when it comes to just how much space they will need to get all the letters in place. But who cares? As long as all the letters are present...or almost present...it counts!
We have Simone, Stella, Maggie, and Elizabeth. Can you figure out who's who?
I love the way these drawings came out, they are ALMOST as precious as the little girls who created them. Almost.