From Lines to Patterns

Because I have students aged from kindergarten to middle school, the kids had two options based on their skill level. The first is to create (or “demolish”) a simple landscape demonstrating their knowledge of foreground, middle ground (or just “ground”?), and background. Older students added pattern and lines from the previous lesson Types of Lines, which sadly doesn’t include “conga line”.

Portraying Depth

Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background

We’re going to be using line to create a playful landscape. Understanding foreground, middle ground, and background helps artists convey a landscape’s depth.

  • Foreground is comprised of the elements that are closest to the viewer.
  • Background is the visual plane that is furthest away.
  • Middle ground is the stuff in-between.

In general, if something appears close, is larger in the frame, and you can see lots of detail, it most likely is foreground. (An exception to this is when we painted Godzilla – she was very large in the frame even when further away.) Things in the background have little detail, appear very small, and are often a bit blurry. I put together some examples so the kids and I could practice together.

Mental Canvas

To further practice our depth perspective we created a class drawing in Mental Canvas. The kids couldn’t get enough of drawing with this fun and innovative program: Mental Canvas Collab.

The Project

My example started with flowers, but I allowed the students to draw anything they wished. I’m basically the genie in Aladdin, but sadly the Will Smith genie, not the awesome Robin Williams genie. My only directive is that they needed to draw their foreground first, big enough to fall off the page. This way I could gently correct the students (read: smack their hands with a ruler) that didn’t quite understand. Once, the foreground was in, the middle ground and background naturally fell into place.

Then we painted with watercolors.

For Older Students

Adding Zentangle Patterns

Building from our previous lesson, the students were encouraged to use lines patterns to decorate their design.

Younger Students

Advanced Students

We need a bit more time for all of the students to complete their work, but we have a couple.

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