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Bad Hair Day Art Assignment About World

A change in curriculum structure:

You may have read about the way we structured our Art Survey course last year in my post about the Identity Sketchbook Cover.  After looking at the pros and cons of this intense structure (1 Element of Art each week),  I wanted to develop a less intense path.  While I felt like my students really got to know the Elements really well last year, I just felt that it was a lot of work for both me and my students (which isn't a bad thing, necessarily).  I also really wanted some more major pieces of art along the way (especially for the All-City Art Show, which we need to have artwork for by January).  So, instead, we structured the curriculum to focus on a few Elements at a time, with the same idea of using the sketchbook for notes and exercises, and then applying those together into a piece of artwork.  
Our first Elements of Art were Line and Shape.  Specifics that we focused on were:  organic, geometric, line weight, and the differences between line and shape (of course).  I found some really great projects on the interwebs, and then I modified them for our goals and expectations.  

So here is the morph:  I love the scratchboard lesson I posted a while ago (one stolen from a plan on the incredible art site- that lesson seems to no longer be there) using cut out images of people/heroes/etc, and then morphing the body and background into art nouveau or art deco styles.  

Then, as I was searching for some sub lesson ideas one day, I came across this "Bad Hair Day" idea...  where you take your own drawn portrait and give yourself a new bad or crazy hairdo.  

I also ran into ZENTANGLES!  These are pretty awesome and along the same line (no pun intended).

Then... they had a baby... and WA-LA!

The best of both worlds... PLUS a fun little reading to help teach our students the annotation expectations... BINGO BANGO!  I'm a genius!  (A thief, but also a genius!)  

 Line and Shape:  Bad Hair Day 

Again, Matt and I ended up in slightly different directions by the end of this piece, which was really exciting, actually!  

Before working on this project, I gave the students a short little article about Bad Hair Days and how it affects us (even celebrities!).  We went through the annotation expectations (our school wide initiative in regards to literacy) and then there were a few questions that the students had to answer on their own (and then share!).  What was fun about this, besides getting to know my students a little better, was that it was a great way to segue into the project.  "So, why do you think we are reading about Bad Hair Days?"  

The Project:

1.  Find a good quality image of your hero or someone you look up to.  (This project was done on 12" x 18" paper, so really the kids stuck to portraits and not so much full body.)
2.  In sketchbook, students created 3 thumbnail sketches of the composition and type of hair style.  In my case, the students could create EITHER a geometric hair style OR an organic hair style.  Discussion on Compositional Techniques.  Students had to have the thumbnails approved by me and I signed my initials by the one design they liked the best and were going to move forward with.  Then I gave them a sheet of paper (or allowed them to take one from the table).

3.  Precisely cut out the person using scissors with EXCELLENT CRAFTSMANSHIP (showed the students how to use scissors... sounds weird, but it's something you just have to do), EXCLUDING the person's hair.  This can be tricky depending on the photo- sometimes the hair is draping across shoulders or what not.  Also, 'tis the time to really talk about what craftsmanship means.  

4.  Glue the portrait to the paper using EXCELLENT craftsmanship.  

5.  Draw the outline of the hair using pencil.  

6.  Break up the INSIDE of the hairstyle into corresponding shapes using pencil.  For example, if the hairdo is geometric, then the shapes inside need to be geometric (best way to easily determine if students understand the difference between geometric and organic).

7.  Students trade in ID for a fine sharpie.  They will use a thick line weight to outline the hairdo, and a medium line weight to outline the shapes inside.

8.  Students trade in ID for an ultra fine sharpie and may then begin line designs inside the shapes- though the lines also need to be corresponding with geometric or organic.  They can use different line weights if they want, but should use the ultra fine sharpie OR a pen works great, too!  

9.  The background should be broken into the OPPOSITE shapes (if hair is geometric, the background should be organic).  Using medium line weight, outline in sharpie.  (The only outline that is a thick line weight is the outline of the hair.  

10.  The background shapes should be filled in with corresponding lines types using a light line weight in ultra fine sharpie or pen.  

If students had more time or wanted to embellish when finished, I suggested to them to use colors either in the background OR the hair.  Often, it was easy to suggest unifying the hair to the portrait by using a color that was in the portrait.  For example, if the portrait had a red shirt on, then maybe using red or warm colors in the hair will tie the piece together and draw emphasis to the portrait.

I also had the students write a short essay (based on prompts) about why they chose their particular hero and how a bad hair day would affect their hero.  

*Please note:  I didn't have time to crop and size all images properly.  Forgive me?  I think you get the idea...

Matt's students had the option of creating a background with the contrasting line designs, OR cutting out their portrait and hair and pasting it onto a contrasting background all together.  I love the variation between ours and just gives us more ideas or options for future modification (time, skill levels, etc).  Here are some examples of what his students did...


Project 2: Self-Portrait Abstractions


I can investigate real/surreal, and learn about distinctive qualities of both styles. 
I can create a self-portrait abstraction in a surrealist style using personal dreams to inspire a narrative painting. 
I can give my painting an original title. 

Art Vocabulary: 

Please write the following art vocabulary in your sketchbook for a grade!!!

Abstract - Abstract art has no recognizable subject. Some abstract artists had theories on the emotions that were caused by certain colors and shapes.  Other abstract artists painted with emotion and randomness hoping to capture their emotion and subconscious thoughts on the canvas.  

Example of Abstract Art: 

Composition  II in Red, Blue, and Yellow by Piet Mondrian

Abstract Expressionism - Abstract Expressionism is an artistic movement made up of American artists in the 1940's and 1950's, also known as the New York School, or more narrowly, action painting.   Abstract Expressionism is usually characterized by large abstract painted canvases, although the movement also included sculpture and other media (drawing, photography, etc.).

Example of Abstract Expressionism: 

Action painters were led by Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, who worked spontaneous improvisatory manner often using large brushes to make sweeping gestural marks. 

Autumn Rhythm, No. 30 by Jackson Pollock

Woman IIby Willem de Kooning

Surrealism - Surrealism in art explores the subconscious areas of the mind.  The artwork often makes little sense as it was usually trying to depict a dream or random thoughts.  

Example of Surrealism Art: 

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Perhaps the most famous of all the great Surrealist paintings, the Persistence of Memory is know for the melting watches as well als the clarity of the art.  The painting gives you sense that you are dreaming and time is irrelevant.  

Realism -  Realism in art is the attempt to depict the world exactly as it appears.  

Example of Realism in Art: 

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Milet
This painting is a great example of realism.  It shows three peasant women gleaning a field for some scraps of wheat.  They are bent over in hard work in the hope of finding a tiny bit of food.  This painting was not well received by the French upper class when it was first exhibited in 1857 as it shoed the harsh reality of poverty. 

 Art History Connections: 
Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe

**Please review the power point presentation, "What Dreams May Come" **

Sketchbook and/or scratch paper
Responses to promps used for Silhouette Project
Canvas Panel
Acrylic Paint

Think and then answers these questions in your sketchbook! 
**Write the question and response in your sketchbook for a grade!!!!**

How can my portrait reflect emotion? 

How can my portrait reflect who I am? 

What message do I want my artwork to communicate? 

What kind of feelings am I trying to invoke from my viewer?



1.  Review the responses you answered for the silhouette project along with the think questions we went over. If you forgot what prompts we went over I have re-typed them for you below: 

List 5 goals in your life.
List 5 important facts about your life.
List 5 words that describe you.
List 3 of your greatest fears.
List 5 things that bring you joy. 
List 5 of your most favorite things. 
List at least 3-5 Hobbies you have outside of school.
How can my portrait reflect emotion?
How can my portrait reflect who I am? 
What message do I want my artwork to communicate? 
What kind of feelings am I trying to invoke from my viewer? 

2. Bring a photograph of yourself to next class so that you can really see your facial features. 

3.  Use your photograph and the responses to the above prompts to create a surrealist portrait of yourself on a scratch sheet of paper. 

4. When your design is done, you much decide on a color scheme. 

5. When the entire class is done with their sketches, you must watch the power point presentation of Acrylic Painting: A Beginners Guide. Make sure to take notes for a participation grade!!!!!

6.  Draw your design on an 11x14 inch canvas panel. Make sure to write your name, date, and period on the back of your canvas using a permanant marker. 

7. Paint your design carefully. Remember I take up to 20 points off for terrible craftsmanship (how neat and clean your work is). At clean up time, leave your canvas on the red drying racks toward the back of the classroom. One slot per student. 

8.  When you complete your project, write an original title on the back using a permanent marker.  

9. Finally, ask your teacher for a grading rubric and grade your own work.  Turn in your grading rubric and project in for a grade.  

Student Work Examples:  Self-Portrait Abstractions