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Animal Shadows Free Lesson

Animal Shadows Free Lesson

COURSE
Foundations (year A)
76 Weekly lessons/2 school years
LENGTH 
1 hour & 45 minutes
or two 52-minute lessons
AGES
Grades 3-5
& Grades 6-12
DATE
Week of Oct 31 – Nov 4
2016

L E S S O N P L A N

Students learn about the basic position of shadows and how to see them better, using familiar round shapes as an example. Then they’ll apply this information to a pencil drawing of an animal from photos with clear shadows. They’ll cover the drawing with watercolors for an easy mixed media effect.

T E A C H T O O L S Everything you need to get your classroom ready is in the TEACHTOOLS section, below the LESSONPLAN. This button jumps right to it. Learn the objectives and focus of each lesson, and print a prep-page PDF, including checklists and an “at a glance” outline of the lesson.

Tap any underlined words for a pop-up definition or mini-lesson. On some tablets, you may need to tap/pause/tap again to dismiss these.

That’s all you need to know. Use your tablet or smartphone, and just start teaching!

Lesson at a Glance
1. WARMUP – 10 Minutes – Students choose reference and sketch
2. SPEED DRAW – 7 min – 2 quick practice drawings for big shapes
3. GUIDELINES – 10 min – Redraw animal on watercolor paper
4. SHADOW SECRET – 10 min – Slideshow=
5. SHADOW SKETCHING – 15 min – Draw animal with hatch shading
B R E A K – If dividing into two lessons.
6. SET UP – 10 min – Set up for watercolor
7. PAINT – 40 min – Paint the animal and the shadows
8. CLEAN UP – 2 min –

S T E P 1. Warmup

Students choose reference and do a short warmup with sketches

10 Minutes Tap the timer buttons to open a countdown in a new tab.

M A T E R I A L S

  • 14″ x 17″ sketch pad
  • 4B pencil
  • White and kneaded erasers
  • Cheasel reference stand & clip

1. Choose reference (PDF below)

As students enter, they should choose a photo of an animal to draw for today’s lesson. Let them know they will use this same photo for the entire lesson, and to choose carefully. They won’t be able to change their mind later, because of the time needed to practice drawing the image before painting

P R I N T
Animal Shadow Reference – 3 pages

Tap the image to open the pdf in a new tab or window. Cut images apart and have enough extras so each student gets to choose from several.

2. Warmup sketches

Take the first 10 minutes to sketch the animal as students want. Walk around and encourage them to look at their reference photos more often, and to try and draw the big overall shapes before working on details.

3. Introduce the lesson

“We’re going to be working on our shadows today, but also doing these amazing animals from reference photos I have for you. After we practice a bit, I’ll show you a slideshow on shadows, that will help you draw and paint your animal. We’ll be using watercolor today.”
Teacher, (read verbatim or paraphrase)
Teacher

4. Review: 3 Steps to Accuracy

Ask who knows the 3 steps to accuracy. Emphasize that this is one of the most important things you can ever learn as an artist.

  1. Frame, or box
  2. Big Shapes – 3 to 4 simplest shapes
  3. Details – all the fun

5. Show Artwork

A R T I S T
Marina Dieul

Tap the circle graphic to open the Artist’s Website for examples.

“Today we are looking at a contemporary artist, Marina Dieul, who creates fanciful portraits of animals in oil. Known for her work with animal paintings and shadows, she has found a strong audience for her work.

Marina Dieul (De’oohl), was born in France and currently lives in Canada. She has won awards and is shown in galleries around the world. Her work includes many animal paintings, which also employ the technique of trompe l’oeil, a french term which means, “fool the eye”. Trompe l’oeil paintings have photographically realistic images that mimic actual objects. For instance, her round frames are not actually frames at all, but paintings of frames on a flat, round board. The animals often seem to be coming out of the middle of her work, as if they were hiding in the wall behind them.

Seldom do you see such engaging and original animal paintings, and these all use light and shadows to maximum effect. You can see how the light is almost always in the upper left, casting OFF shadows to the right, and downward, and creating ON shadows on the bottom and the right of the animals.”

Teacher, (read verbatim or paraphrase)
Teacher
 T I P : Connecting an iPad or computer to a TV display is a great way to display the artist’s web pages.
Advanced LessonStudents in their 3rd or 4th year

Choose one of the animals from the references that has not been used before (for that student). Then draw the animal as large as possbile in sketch book using charcoal, at least 3 times, and up to 5. There are 3 choices for medium to create the finished work. If working in watercolor, instead of using the pencil to create the shadows and painting over them, advanced students should create all of the shadows using only the watercolor.

Draw guidelines on canvas or watercolor paper and paint the animal in preferred medium, paying special attention to the shadows. An alternate version would be a very detailed, very realistic pencil drawing. Use your discretion for allowing students to choose the pencil, since some will fly through this, not paying enough attention to pencil technique. The shading technique is very important, and should be done in hatch shading with as little obvious pencil strokes as possible.

Tap to open the CREATIONS Instructions PDF. Print and cut down the middle for two instruction sheets. Provide to your advanced students so they can know the steps to follow for their advanced version of this lesson.

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 2. Speed Draw

A couple of quick practice drawings help students look at the big shapes instead of details.

7 Minutes

M A T E R I A L S

  • 14″ x 17″ sketch pad
  • Ebony pencil
  • White and kneaded erasers
  • Cheasel reference stand & clip

1. Divide page in sketch pad

After the first 10 minutes of sketching, have them divide a page in their Sketch Pad – 14″ x 17″ with a line across the middle (side to side if in shower orientation) so they have 2 rectangles to draw in. They should use their Ebony pencils (8 or 10 B soft graphite) turned to the side of the lead, to speed-draw the animal in each section. They’ll have about 2 minutes for each speed drawing.

2. Explain Speed Drawing

  • Not supposed to look good
  • Learning about subject
  • Fast but not hasty
  • Big simple shapes – size and proportion to others

“Now we’re going to do 2 speed drawings, because they help us learn more about our subject really fast. First, divide a clean sheet of sketch paper into 2 with a line across the middle, side-to-side, with your pad in a shower orientation. Then when I say begin, draw your animal using the side of your pencil lead instead of the tip. That means you won’t be drawing thin lines.

Oops! I have not said to begin yet.

Speed drawings take a little bit of concentration, and should not look very good when you’re finished. That’s right, these won’t look good. We are learning about the animal, not depicting it. This is not art. It’s like playing scales on the piano.

You should draw fast, but not hasty, concentrating on getting the overall big shapes, and big shadow shapes, as accurate as possible. You’ve already practiced the details, so now you will not draw any of the details – Just the big shapes. You’ll only have a couple of minutes, so you cannot even think about drawing details. Think about the simple big shapes only, and you’ll learn a lot about your animal in a very short time.”

Teacher, (read verbatim or paraphrase)
Teacher

3. Time the drawings

2 Minutes

Take 2 minutes for each of the two drawings. Encourage students to enjoy the freedom that these are not artwork, but just practice. They should look for things they’ve learned and might need to change next time, and then they can throw this paper away if they want.

Tap the button to open a countdown timer in a new window.

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 3.
Guide Lines

Students draw light “whisper” lines with NO shading yet, on their watercolor paper.

10 Minutes

M A T E R I A L S

  • Watercolor paper – 11″ x 15″ or so
  • Reference photo on stand
  • 2B pencil
  • Kneaded eraser

1. Pull out a sheet of watercolor paper

2. Imagine size of animal on paper

Everyone should look at their blank watercolor paper and imagine the size their animal should be on it. Turn the paper the same way that their reference is framed, ie: if the reference is in a bathtub position (horizontal), then so should the watercolor paper. The paper is large, so don’t draw a small animal. Neither should they squeeze a giant animal into it. Just fill the page nicely, like the photo reference.

3. Whisper Lines

If you barely touch the paper, your lines are quiet like a whisper. These very light lines are needed for guideline drawing so that you can erase them completely. They are hard for most students to learn to make, but if you don’t worry about it, yet encourage them to keep practicing, their lines will become lighter and lighter. With young grades up to 5th, we sometimes refer to guide lines as “tickle lines”. We’ll have everyone take their pencil and lightly tickle their hand with it. Then try the same tickling technique on the paper.

4. Use the 3 steps to accuracy

  1. Frame first – proportional
  2. Big Shapes – simple
  3. Details

5. Encourage drawing very lightly & no shading

Walk around and encourage your people to draw lightly at first, so they can erase and modify. Watch out for shading so you can prevent them from jumping ahead. Remember that guide lines are not even the artwork, they just help you know where to make the artwork.

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 4.
Shadow Secret

Display a slideshow that unlocks a secret for how to draw shadows more accurately.

10 Minutes

1. Explain the 2 types of shadows

  1. ON Shadows
  2. OFF Shadows

“Shading that is on an object are called Form shadows, but I like to call them ON shadows. These are the dark sides of an object. Usually with a soft edge where the light area meets the dark area, but sometimes the edge is very distinct.

Cast shadows can then be referred to as OFF shadows. This is the dark area underneath or near an object – it is made by the object, but not on it. It is also shaped like a silhouette of the object but may be stretched and/or squashed. This shadow must touch the object where the object touches the surface it is sitting or standing on.”

Teacher, (read verbatim or paraphrase)
Teacher

2. Display slideshow below – read captions carefully

Make sure you have your class’s attention for this slideshow. Project or display on a large screen, or have students gather around for a book-reading style demonstration, and use a computer or iPad to display. Read each captions carefully.

 S L I D E S H O W

Shadows Explained • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom
The moon is not really a banana

The moon is not really a banana shape, like this silly cartoon

MoonPhases

The real moon is a ball, and the shape of the lighted side depends on where we look at it from.

When light hits an object, it covers half of the object in light. The other half is in shadow. You can see the bottom half of the ball has an ON shadow, and there is also a circle-shape OFF shadow on the ground.

RedBallNoreflect

Here is a red ball, but we’ve changed our viewpoint so that most of the half that’s in shadow is on the side we don’t see. This is one of the most common viewpoints.

RedBallNoreflectHalfLine

Instead of coming from the top, the light is over to the left. Look what happens if we draw a line across the ball that is perpendicular to the light direction. You can see that the top and the left edges of the ball are light, and the right and bottom are dark. Half is always in shadow. The shape of the shadow comes from our viewpoint and the shape of the object, in this case a crescent shadow around the ball.

RedBallNoreflectSquare

So here’s the amazing secret to ON shadows: every object has 4 sides no matter how complex. The top, the bottom, the right, and the left. The rule is that 2 sides will have edges in light, and 2 sides will have edges in shadows.

animalshadowWaterBuff

At first, shadows look very complex on something that’s not a simple ball. Shadows are often very hard to figure out.

animalshadowdiagram

Once you understand that shadows are always on 2 sides, and not more than that, you can find which sides. In this case, it is the right, and the bottom sides. Every single part of the object will always have the shadows on these two sides. This is the secret that helps you see the shadows better, and draw them where they really are.

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 5. Shadow Sketching

Students now sketch in the shadows, and draw more finished lines using their reference photo.

15 Minutes

M A T E R I A L S

  • Watercolor paper with drawing
  • Reference photo on stand
  • 2B and 4B pencil
  • Kneaded eraser

1. Sketch over the guidelines, adding shadows

2. Encourage good pencil technique

Returning to the watercolor paper with the guidelines, students should sketch in the entire animal, including all of the ON and OFF shadows. Have them build up the darker areas that they can see on their reference. Ask everyone to use hatch shading, and if anyone doesn’t know exactly how, do a quick demo for them. (See the Shading DEMO video in Teachtools below for how to do it, but try to make the demo very short today).

3. Watercolor is see-through

Explain that when the watercolor goes over the pencil drawings, the pencil shading will show through because the watercolor is translucent. This technique allows the drawn shadows to become part of the final painting and makes painting much easier.

 T I P : Remember that the focus is on shadow shapes and position, not as much on pencil shading technique.
 B R E A K : This is the end of part one, if you’re dividing into two lessons.
T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 6. Watercolor Setup

Everyone gets their area ready to paint.

10 Minutes

M A T E R I A L S

  • Watercolor paper with drawing
  • Reference on stand
  • Water tubs (2 of them)
  • Brushes – smaller, pointy
  • Palette or plate
  • Acrylic paints (no white), or watercolor paints
  • Smocks
  • Paper towels

1. Set up a neat and orderly work area

2. Watercolor set up reminders

  • 2 tubs of water are needed. One is the paint, which needs to be kept clean. The other is for washing brushes.
  • White is not used for watercolor painting. Do not allow white to be mixed in, because the water is the white, allowing the paper to show through more as it’s added to a color.
  • Have a test strip of watercolor paper, or an area on the artwork paper that is outside the boundary. Testing a color is very important, since the deeper puddle of water looks darker on the palette when mixing.

watercolorsetupfoundations

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 7. Watercolor Painting

Expressive artwork time, painting in watercolors.

40 Minutes

1. Review fall leaves watercolor drop-in technique

Remind students how we did the fall leaves a couple of weeks ago. In that lesson, we used clear water, but in today’s lesson we’ll do the same puddles, but with colored water.

2. Slideshow & 2 Watercolor tricks

Display the slideshow and review these 2 fantastic watercolor tricks:

  1. Don’t let your brush touch the paper much at all (don’t let the bristles bend)
  2. Leave wet watercolor alone! Leave. It. Alone.

 S L I D E S H O W

Watercolor Brush Technique • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom

WatercolorBrush_illust1

WatercolorBrush_illust2

WatercolorBrushillust

 T I P : Watercolor doesn’t look very good when wet. Leave it alone and it will magically improve as it dries.

3. Early finishers can add splatters or extra layers

They may also add layers of watercolor shadow at the end if they have time and want to enhance their shadows. The paper must be dry before they add another layer. Early finishers can add splatters.

4. Do not pick up wet paintings!

Do not move wet paintings without a board to slide them onto so they can remain level. Even then, a very big puddle can escape and make runs all over a painting.

Move around the room, asking permission to help and encouraging your students.

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

S T E P 8. Clean up

Have everyone help clean up their work area and the room.

2 Minutes

M A T E R I A L S

  • Paper towels

1. Clean up checklist:

 Super wash brushes

• Empty water containers

• Put art supplies away (sop up runny paint before disposing of palette paper)

• Wipe tables & clean up trash

• Remove smocks

• Collect &/or distribute artwork – NAMES

• Check for personal items on tables and floors

2. Take photos of artwork!

3. Make sure you see the kids connect with parents and tell them about the class if you can!

T E A C H T O O L S  Top of Page

G A L L E R Y

Student Work • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom

buck3

dove1

rhino1

giraffe1

elephant2

duck1

dove2

buck1

bird1

elephant1

duck2

bird3

giraffe-2

T E A C H T O O L S

Everything you need to make your lesson work

  1. Practice and improvement using shading
  2. Understanding how shadows are formed and used in artwork
  3. Accomplishment in drawing an animal with shading
  4. Fulfillment by choosing the animal they want to draw & paint

Be on the lookout for

Trouble with shadows in general & Scribbling shadows haphazardly – There are several reasons you’ll see shading that doesn’t fit the shadow area and is very rough or haphazard. If a student isn’t comfortable or doesn’t like doing shadows (usually the same thing), or if he or she simply doesn’t know much about shadows yet, you’ll see patchy scribbling that has little to do with a shadow. It may not touch the edges and has no distinct placement. The shadow will not define the form at all, being more of a distraction instead of helpful. The student may be very aware of this and feel embarrassed. They may act disrespectful though, instead of embarrassed.

The problem is that your artist may not be able to see the shadow like you do. The brain processes shadows in a completely different way than other visual information. It is not visually clear. Our brain tells us about colors and shapes as distinct elements, but with shadows, the brain doesn’t actually process the shadow. Instead, we use shadows to interpret the 3-dimensional form, ignoring the rest of the information about light and dark areas. For many people, shadows are almost invisible if they’re not well defined.

For even more about this weird brain phenomenon, read Dennas’ blog post about the infamous Dress that divided the internet on whether is was white or blue.

Our brain’s interpretation of shadows makes them difficult. So, try to not be negative at all when you see these problems and students acting out, because while it may seem like laziness or disrespect, it’s most likely not. The shame of not being able to perform well, can be covered up by pretending that shadows are not important, or by affecting a lazy attitude. It’s a coping mechanism. It can take time to learn to see where shadows are, and our lesson today is a great start for that training. Be positive and offer help:

Here’s something you can try. Ask students one-on-one if you can show them a cool technique, and then draw part of their animal, adding a small shadow using soft hatch shading – emphasizing careful coverage and going to the edge of the object. A good way to explain shadow coverage is that even though shadows are soft where they meet the light in the center of objects, it helps to think of them as a color towards the outside edge of an object. Color goes all the way to the edge and so do shadows. Note: variations within shadows are not important at this point with a struggling student – because it will confuse them. Save it for another time.

• On Shadows – An ArtSquish term for Form shadows. Shading that is ON the dark sides of an object. Usually with a soft edge where the light side meets the dark side.

• Off Shadows – An ArtSquish term for cast shadows. The shadow underneath or near an object – it is made by the object but not ON it. It is also shaped like a silhouette of the object but may be stretched and/or squashed. This shadow must touch the object where the object touches the surface it is sitting or standing on.

• Reflected Light – (for older students) Light that bounces off of a surface and shines back onto an object, brightening the edge of the ON shadow, but not as bright as the light side of the object. Reflected light is very important for showing roundness. If there was no light shining on the shadow side of an object, then it would be pitch black. Even the moon’s dark side can often be seen due to the earth’s reflected light shining back into the shadow.

Marina Dieul

Today we are looking at a contemporary artist in France, Marina Dieul, who creates fanciful portraits of animals in oil. Here is her website page with her Animal gallery. And her Facebook page with similar photos of her work.

Marina Dieul (De’oohl), was born in France and currently lives in Canada. She has won many awards and is shown in galleries around the world. Her work includes many animal paintings, which also employ the technique of trompe l’oeil, a french term which means, “fool the eye”. Trompe l’oeil paintings have photographically realistic images that mimic actual objects. For instance, her round frames are not actually frames at all, but paintings of frames on a flat, round board. The animals seem to be coming out of the middle of her work, as if they were hiding in the wall behind them.

Seldom do you see such engaging and original animal paintings, and these all use light and shadows to maximum effect. You can see how the light is almost always in the upper left, casting OFF shadows to the right, and downward, and creating ON shadows on the bottom and the right of the animals.

Marina Dieul

Tap the circle graphic to open the Artist’s Website for examples of their work to display. 

Tip of the day: Make sure you read all about how the brain interprets shadows and the troubles some students have, in the Troublespots tab above.
Top of Page

F O C U S

Each bar represents how much of the lesson involves that kind of training.
Insights for the brain – Techniques for the hand – Expression for the heart

Insights
Techniques
Expression

P R E P A R A T I O N

Print your Prep-Page

Tap the circle graphic to open the ArtSquish Prep-Page PDF in a new window.  – includes the Checklist, Roomprep, and a Lesson-at-a-glance overview.

R O O M P R E P : Have at least 2 prints of each animal photograph for the students to choose from. Cut them apart but leave some white paper for clipping to stands. If you don’t know the hatch shading technique or need a refresher on how to demonstrate it, watch the video below. It’s too long for today’s lesson, which is about shadows rather than technique. You can abbreviate it, or even skip the demo entirely if you need to.

M A T E R I A L S

  • Prints of animals – cut apart with some white paper for clipping to stands
  • Cheasels and clips to hold reference photos
  • Water tubs
  • Plastic plates or watercolor palettes if you want
  • Paper towels
  • water droppers (eye droppers)

Materials each student will need:

  • Sketch pad
  • Pencil & eraser
  • Watercolor pad – 1 sheet removed
  • Water tub – 2 per student
  • brushes – small & medium pointed – supple but springy – white nylon is good.
  • Translucent acrylic paints or watercolors (no white paint)
  • Palette pad if not using plastic plate or palette.
Top of Page

R E S O U R C E S

These are also found in the lesson plan at the times they are used

 S L I D E S H O W

Shadows Explained • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom
The moon is not really a banana

The moon is not really a banana shape, like this silly cartoon

MoonPhases

The real moon is a ball, and the shape of the lighted side depends on where we look at it from.

When light hits an object, it covers half of the object in light. The other half is in shadow. You can see the bottom half of the ball has an ON shadow, and there is also a circle-shape OFF shadow on the ground.

RedBallNoreflect

Here is a red ball, but we’ve changed our viewpoint so that most of the half that’s in shadow is on the side we don’t see. This is the most common viewpoint.

RedBallNoreflectHalfLine

Instead of coming from the top, the light is over to the left. Look what happens if we draw a line across the ball that is perpendicular to the light direction. You can see that the top and the left edges of the ball are light, and the right and bottom are dark. Half is always in shadow. The shape of the shadow comes from our viewpoint and the shape of the object, in this case a crescent shadow around the ball.

RedBallNoreflectSquare

So here’s the amazing secret to shadows: every object has 4 sides no matter how complex. The top, the bottom, the right, and the left. The rule is that 2 sides will be in light, and 2 sides will have shadows.

animalshadowWaterBuff

At first, shadows look very complex on something that’s not a simple ball.

animalshadowdiagram

Once you understand that shadows are always on 2 sides, and not more than that, you can find which sides. In this case, it is the right, and the bottom sides. Every single part of the object will always have the shadows on these two sides.

 S L I D E S H O W

Watercolor Brush Technique • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom

WatercolorBrush_illust1

WatercolorBrush_illust2

WatercolorBrushillust

 V I D E O

Shading D E M O • Tap to open

Top of Page

P R E V I E W

Week 14: Next Week’s Lesson
Month 1 – 5

Every lesson provides an overview here, for the next two lessons so you know what’s coming up.

Week 15: Following Week’s Lesson
Month 8 – 12

Every lesson provides an overview here, for the next two lessons so you know what’s coming up.

I N F O R M

Use this button to view our parent blog. Share the link: http://parentart.org so your student’s parents can read about the lesson each week.

About The Author

Dennas Davis

Dennas is the founder of Firstlight Arts Academy in Nashville, and also of The Art Instructor (formerly ArtSquish). He has been designing, painting, illustrating and teaching in various combinations since he learned how to hold a crayon. He is the illustrator of 24 children's books with over 5 million in print worldwide. See his paintings at http://dennasd.com

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