Article 5 of 10
by Debi West
It seems as if everyone is always on the GO these days, so I decided to use this concept as one of my advanced student’s prompts. It was literally that simple, too. I asked my students to consider modes of transportation, make a list, do some research, do some sketching and a wonderful lesson came to fruition!
They started off by creating a long list of the most obvious ways in which people get around. Cars, busses, bikes, boats, airplanes, skateboards, etc… Then I had them dive a bit deeper and create a page of sketches showing exactly how these machines work. From the gears to the engineering and design concepts, this had my students thinking like designers and forced them to consider the functions of their mode of transportation.
It was interesting to see how many of them changed their initial ideas when they were required to dig a bit deeper. A large part of the success of my student’s final works lies in how much research they put forth.
As students continued to create their sketches and hone in on one specific mode of transportation, I brought in a bit of art history. I had them consider master artists who used transportation as their source of subject matter.
For example, Claude Monet has an incredible series of trains and train stations, while Winslow Homer loved painting boats and sailing scenes. I have found that with some research on my part, I can give my students a plethora of information via art history and they can use that as inspiration.
For this lesson I do require that my students go with a more realistic take on the subject matter, but I don’t limit their use of media or surface material as this is an advanced course and students are working on their breadth or concentration portions of their portfolios.
I find that my advanced students are ready to challenge and push themselves so often times it’s truly as simple as giving them a prompt and seeing how far they can go with it! I think you’ll be surprised at the results you’ll get with this concept.
Next Up: “What’s Cookin’.”
click here for resources related to this article
A&A Contributing Editor Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT, was an art educator and department chair at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia. She is now involved with her two businesses, WESTpectations Educational Consulting and Crystal Collage Children’s Art Studio in Suwanee.