Tag Archive: Glossy Card

Mandela Gets a New Shirt


  • Recycled A3 glossy card, black wax, tempera paint (red, yellow, blue), printing implements & oil pastel.
  • 2 Hours / 2 lessons
  • Pictures of Mandela in various typical Mandiba shirts.

Today I told the grade 3’s we were going to pretend that Woolworths had commissioned each of them to design a new men’s shirt.  They would sell it at R375.  But there were only three parameters or conditions: It had to be in the style of Nelson Mandel’s shirts.  It had to be symmetrical and it had to be made out of print.

I discussed the look of Mandela’s shirt (with the help of the trusty old internet) – the patterns and typical colours.  We talked about Mandela’s ability to look smart for the people while his shirt is untucked and without wearing a tie.  However, he does button his shirts right to the top which gives his collar a very smart look and he does have cuffs on his sleeves. another smart factor which needs to be part of their design.  They could add a pocket on one side if they could keep the patterns symmetrical over the pocket.

We discussed the meaning of symmetry quickly.  Just to refresh as they did have prior knowledge.

They watched me draw a shirt (which covered the surface area of the page) and begin printing the shirt demonstrating the symmetrical printing.  I then explained that the area above the shirt will be finger painted with colour experimentation (mixing the given primary colours).  They were to be like scientists and see how many different colours they can get out of the three colours.

Lesson 1: Drawing the shirt in black wax and printing with found and bought objects thereafter finger painting the background.

Lesson 2: Using oil pastel to fill in the back ground of the prints and to neaten up any mistakes.  

*Next and last lesson below 🙂

In lesson 2 I demonstrated blending related colour blending with the oil pastels.

I talked about the shadow which forms when your arms rest against your body and the shadow which forms inside the neck hole of the shirt. 

Link to the youtube picture roll I made…

Its so interesting the way shading and blending comes so naturally to some children and not to others.


Peacocks in Scraperboard

I am so proud of this little munchkin – my star!!! The way in which he applied himself to this project, his focus and enjoyment of the task was breath-taking.  His one piece of art made my week.  When I felt down about my successes in the art room and as a teacher I had this child’s enthusiasm to anchor myself again. 

When starting this lesson I must admit the learners have to work incredibly hard to create the scraper boards for themselves.  This also results in a variation of the final look of the board from one child to another.

I use thin card, slightly glossy on side and grey on the other – much like pizza box board.  Some teachers use it to create the frames for the learns art exhibits.

They start on the white side of the board by rubbing/colouring hard with various wax crayons until there are no open card areas.  I have them choose any oil pastel colour to do the next solid layer of colour.  Though I find that white perturbs them least. 

For the final touch I make a concoction of mediums for them to paint over these two layers.  This dries and becomes the “skin” which they scratch through  with tooth picks and pins to get to the colour beneath.

The concoction: 

Using a bowl, I pour in a good deal of  black acrylic flow, about a third of that black ink, a splash of sunlight liquid and a splash of water.  Mix it thoroughly and paint over.  This fabulous mixture does not dry too quickly in the jar or bowl so its great when the next class arrives as I don’t have to make a new batch of paint.

And somewhere along the line I discovered that black paint is not the end all and be all.  I have experimented with blue acrylic flow and the same colour ink and plan some day to try with white paint.  Though I have a suspicion that whatever colour is used could bleed through to the white.  This could destroy or enhance the picture depending how precise you are wanting the lines to be.

Happy scratching!

Finding a View in Still Lives

Today the grade 6’s started a still life project using their self-made view finders (VF’s).  View finders have been a well used tool in lives of many artists.  It frames the subject, helps to identify the section of view which the artist would like to paint and strengthens focus as it blocks out the rest of the world while looked through.  A very simple device and yet so effective.  I find that the shape of the hole cut in the VF should relate to the shape of the surface worked on.  This helps immensely with identifying the position and size of objects in the work as they relate to the edges of the view finder.

We used a glossy white card as the white board markers simply wipe off without leaving gouges in the surface and the ink next week will slide and blend so nicely over the surface hopefully leaving a beautiful “inky” feel about the whole work. 

I plan to teach them about shadows between objects and the shadows cast on the ground so that the work pops off the surface and looks more three-dimensional.

I am really excited about next week! Today worked well but next week will have its own challenges.

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