It was only a matter of time.
You see, I’d given the Prophet her first sketchbook- and we spent a hour working on hatching and cross-hatching yesterday. Today, the sketching menu included an introductory exploration of value scales…. but Little B. and the Gnome staged a rebellion and insisted on getting their “own” sketchbooks.
“This isn’t like a coloring book, girls. If you want a sketchbook, then you have to sit and sketch for extended periods of time….
“I kn-oo-ww…” sang Little B., “I wi-i-i-lllll…”
“Me too, Mommy,” affirmed the Gnome, while trying to break a colored pencil in half with her teeth.
I suppressed a sigh. “Okay, I will make some extra sketchbooks and invite you two to the sketching circle with the Eldest and the Prophet BUT…..” I paused for emphasis, preparing myself for the coming sternness, “If either of you begins that abominable whining sound, you will have to leave the circle right away.”
Glances and giggles passed between Gnome and Little B. I wondered if this unexpected addition would diminish my ability to help the Eldest and Prophet develop an understanding of form and value. But there was no time to keep wondering- the gauntlet had been laid down. Art for all it would be.
After drafting cursory sketchbooks, I took out our seminal text- The Interactive Art Activity Book– a gift from Grandma Vicki and invited the kids to dip into it with me.
Each page was filled with tiny folds, corners, and booklets anticipating the touch of tiny hands. As we turned through the book, the excitement built up like the urge to use a restroom after drinking a large movie theatre soda.
My excitement grew with theirs.
The time had come for our spontaneous experiment.
paper (preferably inside a sketchbook)
a black ink pen
We discussed that a color has different shades, or “values”. I realized I would need a little riddle or trick to keep them interested in a discussion of color values. So I picked up a red pencil….
Everyone agreed that there was one color in one pencil- it seemed intuitive.
I can always count on Prophet for the black-and-white of any matter, including color theory. So I began to draw a value scale for the red colored pencil in my sketchbook- one in which I hatched and cross-hatched six values for red. The kids loved the trick.
ME: Now it’s your turn to do a little magic….
The Eldest created three value scales, using a tissue paper to smooth the edges between the transitions.
Gnome’s super value scales.
For the younger ones, I created a small value scale using revealing three values at the top of their paper. Then I drew in three boxes for three different colored pencils and asked them to color the “lightest” shade, the “medium” shade, and the “darkest” shade. We focused on applying varying degrees of pressure to get the colors.
To emphasize the value in the colors, I asked them to draw a line with soft pressure, a line with medium pressure, and a line with hard pressure to the right of each value scale BEFORE they started to reveal the values. All three little ones blew my mind in their interest and dedication to getting those value scales into their sketchbooks. Little B, who tends to color lightly and hurriedly, was especially remarkable for the time and patience she put into her value scales.
They have earned the privilege of their art classes. And I’m not ashamed to admit the honor is all mine.