Lesson #3: Placing Figures in a Context

Part of the unit: Drawing a Family Portrait |


How can we create drawings that tell a story?
Students will be able to:
Create a narrative work of art
Employ sketches as a guide for creating formal drawings
Utilize a variety of oil pastel techniques
Manipulate line, color, and shpae to express emotion
Students will understand that:
A narrative work of art tells a story that answers--who, what, where, when.
Sketches help artists think about and execute a work of art.
Art materials can be manipulated to achieve different effects.
The elements of art can be used to express emotion.
Oil pastels (sets of 12), various colored construction paper cut to 12" x 16", pencils
Reproductions of narrative works by Horace Pippin (The Domino Players) or Faith Ringgold (Tar Beach)
Direct students to the reproductions and ask:
  • What story does this picture tell?
  • What story will your drawing tell?
Refer to student sketches from the previous lesson:
  • How might the sketches we did during the last lesson help us ceate our final drawings?
  • Why might our final drawings look different from our sketches?
Using the teacher sketch, demonstrate how to use it as reference for creating a final drawing on the construction paper.   
Invite students to select a piece of construction paper for their final drawing.  Before choosing a color, remind them to consider when and where the activity they are depicting is taking place---day/park, night/party---as the color will most likely serve as the dominant background.  Before students begin, remind them to:
  • Use the whole paper for their composition.
  • Use color and line to express feeling.
  • Employ the techniques for blending and layering oil pastels they learned in the first lesson.
Invite student volunteers to display and discuss their works-in-progress.  They might include the following in their narrative:
  • Event
  • Participants
  • Place
  • Time of day/year
  • Feeling
What important details need to be added to complete the drawing?