Art 8: Comic strip

(Group B) We were learning about comics: the definition, the difference between comics and cartoons (animation), the vocabulary of comics, the process of image simplification, use of typeface and colour, etc. For those who are interested in exploring the art of comics in more depth, I recommend reading a fascinating book, Understanding Comics: The invisible art, by Scott McCloud. The kids not only made up their own characters and stories, but they also managed to translate their ideas into a rich comic strip that was finished off with the use of intense watercolours.


Art 7: Family / Mixed techniques

(Group A) The children were invited to work with several techniques: drawing, collage and painting. First we drew puppets that represented our family members, and then we cut them out. After this we transferred them to a new piece of paper, and using rollers and colourful water-based printing inks (yellow, red, green and blue), we were left with white figures upon a colourful background. We also glued the original puppets to the family composition, which resulted in a mirroring effect or contrasting shadows because they had been painted. We used black ink to draw details of faces or clothes onto our figures and also to write their names. Some children finished off with a colourful background that united the family and brought together the final look.

Art 6: Ink wash landscapes

(Mixed groups) We were working with an ink wash technique, in which a range of ink density produces astonishing variations in tonality. For this, the kids created paintings with only water and black ink. This technique can be admired in traditional Chinese paintings for the delicate nuances in tonality of black, grey and white and variations of ink strokes: thick or thin, fast or slow, square or round, and spaces left untouched. As a final touch we also used white pen to emphasise details when the black ink painting had dried. The children enjoyed this assignment because of its playfulness and the freedom of expression it permitted.

Art 5: Cardboard fantasy animals

(Group A) We took advantage of old packaging material that had accumulated in our studio:-) It was also a good time to change the subject and become more free; our theme focused on animals arising from fantasy or dreams. First we made sketches of what our animals should look like. By recycling the cardboard boxes we were stimulated to work more physically as well as to envision 3D shapes. There were no restrictions in size or colour, so that all possibilities were open to us and we could let the magic come to life. The results are fun to look at!

Art 4: Study of flowers

(Group B) We worked together with our guest teacher Manuela Bianco, who specialises in drawing flowers using a blue pen and white pencil ( Manuela brought several kinds of fresh and dried flowers to choose from and showed us the secrets behind her drawing style. —As a warm-up, we drew just one flower with a pencil. —The second task was to draw two to three different flowers with the use of water-soluble crayons. Even young children were able to depict the smallest details and by the end of the class the group had created a collection of sensitive flower studies. Thank you Manuela!

Dance 3: Dream

Anything can happen in a dream and in our imagination! We played with colours/emotions to express what is inside or outside of us. We explored how our feet and hands connect us to the outside world. The kids got very creative and playful, using both the space and the colourful ribbon to connect with each other, and they had fun looking for ways in which movement could physically describe a colour or an emotion. They tried then to create their own short ‘solo dream’ using body language.

Art 3: Still-life with a blueprint fabric

(Group A) We focused on drawing and painting a still-life with a distinctive patterned tablecloth (a Slovak traditional blueprint fabric). The task was not easy in respect of the three objects and the tablecloth pattern, but it didn’t stop the children from delving straight into drawing. For painting we deliberately chose to use only three colours: two shades of blue and black. All children are true painters!

Dance 2: Skin / creative stories

We talked about the skin, our biggest organ. We tried to sense the air around us and to feel the temperature of different surfaces in the room. We used touch to connect with each other and to ourselves.
We finished off using creative story cubes. Kids made up their own little story in motion and shared it with each other. Lots of great ideas.

Art 2: Self-portrait

—Observe your face in the mirror, notice its main features, emotions, colours and also background.
—Paint the self-portrait as large as possible without using sketching tools, but you may outline the important parts with paint strokes.
We looked at the Fauves and the painting of Kees van Dongen, The Corn Poppy, 1919, for inspiration. We focused on painting the background simultaneously with the face—mentioning the theory of complementary colours in order to obtain the right contrast between colours.
The children worked expressively and spontaneously while also demonstrating an eagerness to learn. I am really enjoying their results.