This lesson plan was presented at the 2003 WVAEA Fall Conference at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV.
A finished portrait
This is an easy lesson that is good for any age group from 6th Grade up. It is especially good for students who often say "I can't draw!" because there really is no way to mess this up!
Preparation (before the project):
If you are using a digital camera, you need to take an individual photograph of each student a day or two before the lesson and allow time to download them to your computer. I like to go ahead and put the photos on separate disks so that I can hand them to the students as they enter the room and they can sit at any computer. For a smaller class, you might want to go ahead and put the images directly onto the computers before class starts to save time.
If you are using pictures from the Internet, you may spend a class period in the computer lab letting kids find a photo of their favorite artist, actor, musician, etc… Of course I don't need to tell you to BE CAREFUL, because even the best filters sometimes allow images through that can be inappropriate for school-age children to see.
Day One (in the computer lab): Discuss Value and contrast with your students. Explain to them that for this project to work best, there must be a lot of contrast in the images. Everything that shows up black in the picture will be inked on the transparency, and everything that shows up white will be clear (and will allow paint to show through!)
Pull your images up in a photo editing program. There are a lot of programs; each one is different, but most will allow you to turn your color photo into a black and white photo and then adjust the contrast. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page for directions on how to do this with Adobe Photoshop and Power Point.) Allow students to adjust the contrast until it looks good to them. Important: Do not SAVE your photo until you are sure it's the way you want it. Remember, if there is any text in the picture, you ought to print it in reverse so it will show correctly in your final project.
Print out final images and then copy onto Transparency Film. MAKE SURE YOUR TRANSPARENCY FILM IS FOR USE IN A COPIER! The wrong film will melt and gunk up the inside of the copier and you'll make lots of enemies that way!
Day Two (in the art classroom): Demonstrate to students that they are to paint on the dull side of the transparency film. (The side with ink on it looks dull in the black areas, not shiny all over like the other side.) Before painting, students may scratch out areas that they don’t want black, or they can scratch designs (in reverse) so paint will show through. Don't go too crazy with scratching at this point -- it is easy to scratch off details that should probably be left alone.
Paint right over the dull, black ink and allow to dry. Small details like eyes, jewelery, lips, etc… should probably be painted first with a tiny brush because they are easy to paint over by accident. Once paint is dry, you can scratch designs in the paint and then paint another color over the scratches for a two-toned effect.
Once artwork is completely dry, you can paint on the glossy side (the "front") with a small brush or paint pen for even more pizazz!
I like to glue film to art paper, paint-side down when projects are done because the paint will eventually flake off if handled too much. A couple layers of clearcoat spray could protect the paint, as well. I leave about a 1" border around the image just for this purpose, because glue will pull the paint right off the film.
I had so much fun at the WVAEA conference! Thanks so much to everyone who signed up for my class. It was a blast, and you all gave me lots of ideas for improving this project. See you next year!
Directions for editing your images:
In Adobe Photoshop:
CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY PAGE!
Email if you have any
questions, comments, or want to share what your students did with this project.
I would love it if you would let me know how it worked for you!
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