Lesson #2: Planning the Family Portrait

Part of the unit: Drawing a Family Portrait |


How can we plan interesting family portraits?
Students will be able to:
Brainstorm ideas for a family portrait
Identify the dominant shapes in a composition
Indicate the difference in scale between adult and children figures
Prepare a sketch
Students will understand that:
Sharing ideas helps generate solutions
Drawings are composed of shapes
Figures vary in scale
Sketches help artists plan works of art
9"x12" white drawing paper, ebony pencils, erasers
Photographs from magazines or personal albums of families engaged in activities such as celebrations or outings.
Begin the lesson with a brief review of prior learning by asking students to describe how they used color and lines to express feelings.  Add new words such as emotion, blend, combine, and layer to a vocabulary list. Engage students by describing a fun family activity in which you were involved.  For example, share a personal experience about a picnic, playing a game, day at the beach, a birthday party or preparing for a holiday celebration.  Invite them to share a similar experience:
  • What is your favorite family activity?
  • Where does this activity take place?
  • Which members of your family are with you?
Demonstrate how a sketch can serve as a plan for a drawing.  Elicit that a sketch is a preliminary drawing without details.  Gather students around a table and begin a large sketch of the family activity that you described.  As you develop the sketch, indicate:
  • The context of the activity and the basic shapes that you develop -- a horizon line at the beach, a wall in the kitchen.
  • The composition uses the entire surface of the paper.  There is a background and foreground. 
  • The basic shapes that comprise the human form.
  • The scale of the figures in relationship to each other and to the background.  Note that the children are smaller than the adults.
Invite students to create their own family portrait sketches.  Distribute paper, ebony pencils, and erasers.
Recruit a volunteer to share his/her sketch with the class.
  • What do you want us to know about your family activity?
  • What else could be added to give us more information?
  • What colors could you use to convey a feeling about the activity, the place, time of day or time of year?
Think about how you could change your sketch to give us more information about your favorite activity with your family.