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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Horse Unit Study (part 5) - Drawing Horses

For Art, we were broke away from our usual and galloped off on horses! Let me explain...

We were in the mood to draw horses since we have been reading so much about them. But horses aren't exactly the easiest animal to draw. So I pulled out some of my art books to see what I could put together. I read from How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm. This book is published in the 1960s but yet the clarity of its instructions far surpasses that of more recent how-to books on the same subject.

What started out as a simple copying of horses unfolded into many successive sessions on animal drawing!

We started working from the beginning of the book where we learned about the shapes found in a generalized animal. We then learn how to put those basic shapes together when we look at an animal.

Here are some outlines we copied from the book. Notice the shoulder muscles, hip muscles and rib cage. These outlines are supposed to help in later shading and rendering of other surface details.

Shading of a generalized animal body was the emphasis for the next few sessions. It really gives the drawing depth and perspective.

Here's an attempt at applying the above concepts. I let my boys try outlining the animals from looking at photographs of animals. I wanted to see if they understood the concept. This is what they produced. Here is my boy's drawing of the basic outline of a donkey. He looked at a photograph in our Apologia Zoology 3 book.

The later part of Hamm's book focuses on different animal types and the usual challenges of drawing these animals. We jumped ahead to the section on Horses. (Couldn't wait!) We copied some of the horse drawings in that section.

Then each of us selected a picture of a horse from one of our other books to copy. Here are my boy's outlines. This was B's sketch from James Herriot's Treasury for Children.

This is D's mustang sketched from Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry.

Drawing and colouring are two separate skills. In the past, I noticed that my boys will be very discouraged when their colouring "ruined" their nicely drawn pictures. This time, I decided to make photocopies of their drawing for them to colour on. This is so that credit can be given to the drawing as well as the colouring; and each having something to show for. We used oil pastels. I joined in the fun too using my boys' drawings.

Drawing animals is indeed very challenging. A mistake in proportion can make a deer look like a dog, or a horse like a cow! For a long time, I myself have shied away from drawing animals. I am now glad I overcome my own phobia and gave it a try because I am pleasantly surprised at my boys' enthusiasm. I guess children just have a natural affinity for animals. I now wished I had done this little off tangent project sooner when we still had our zoo membership!

1 comment:

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