How do you take the concept of abstract / subjective art and teach elementary students how to create it? You want them to draw something “recognizable,” but not really, and trying to get them to understand the concept of “Abstract” can be difficult.
Enter the “Picasso Dogs” project. This project is one of my absolute favorites to do with my “ArtRage-ous Ipad Art!” kids at the TCCA. I found the original instructions in this book, “Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists,” by Carla Sonheim. It’s a wonderful reference for drawing projects that are very convertable to digital media. (This book was one of the best purchases I’ve made as I’ve started my art education career.)
This project takes the concept of abstraction and makes it accessible for elementary to middle school aged students. (Although I do have a high school junior who’s been taking classes with me for 3 years now, and I’ve been able to adapt all the lower level projects to more challenging ones for her, so don’t let that stop you from being inspired!) It deconstructs the process of making abstract art into step-by-step instructions (ie, “Draw a small eye. Turn your paper. Draw an eye several times larger. Turn your paper,” etc.)
The results can vary WIDELY — here’s two examples of the Picasso Dogs lab I created with the classes in the fall semester of 2011.
And here’s what the class came up with: