Comic Book Pages



For our fourth class, we took what we learned about creating comic book characters from last week and developed our very own original comic book pages.  We looked at how comic book pages are organized with panels, word bubbles, action words, and scenes.  We then sketched out our pages with pencils, inked them with fine black pens, and colored them with color pencils and markers.  Our comic books pages are amazing, surprising, and hilarious!

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Comic Characters


On our third day of class, we talked about all the different kinds of comic books and how to draw cartoon characters.  We brainstormed story ideas and practiced sketching original comic characters using pencils.  Then we inked them with fine black pens.


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Watercolor and Wire


For our second class we looked at the artwork of Paul Klee who stated, “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”  To create an abstract background for our drawings I showed the class a few watercolor painting techniques including wet on wet, gradient, dry brush, and using salt.  While we let our paintings dry, we experimented with aluminum wire.  We twisted, bent, curled, and wrapped our wire around itself.  After creating our three-dimensional sculptures, we drew our wire using lines onto our backgrounds in the style of Paul Klee.

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Abstract Portraits

For our first class, we looked at the artwork of Jean Dubuffet, French painter and sculptor.


He said, “What I expect from any work of art is that it surprises me.”  Our challenge was to create self-portraits that surprise!  I showed everyone how to draw a self-portrait with correct proportions, and then how to use line, shape, color, and pattern to abstract those proportions into a unique and expressive artwork.


Welcome to Art Foundations!

Mr. Kyle

Hello, my name is Kyle Nowak and this is my second time teaching the Art Foundations class. I love learning about art, making art, and teaching art. I am currently an Art Specialist at Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax. I believe that being an artist means learning from art history and visual culture, practicing techniques, exploring new media, and expressing yourself through your artwork. I know we’ll all have a great time in class this season!

Finishing Picasso and Faith Ringgold Story Quilting

At the end of November the students finished up their Picasso soft sculptures. This required the front and back pieces to be sewn together (I brought in my machine) and then adding embellishments to their work. At the start of the process, the students seemed to be wary of how they were going to turn out, but in the end they were pleased with the results.

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The final project was based on the work of Faith Ringgold. While she has explored several media, she is best known for her story quilting. The idea behind this project was to have the students use this method to visually express their personal artist statement. We looked at Tar Beach as our example of Ringgold’s style.

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She uses many types of fabric and illustrative imagery to tell the stories in her quilts, and I wanted the students to use this model when thinking about their artist statement. After looking at Ringgold’s work, we talked about artist statements and their importance. Here are some of the questions we used to get us thinking: How have you grown as a result of exploring certain themes in your work? Which artists influence your work or which references inspire your work?

The students were then given 8″x8″ squares of muslin to use as a base. They were encouraged to use many types of fabric with various textures to express themselves. Some chose to use text and others didn’t. Either way the results were as unique as they are.
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I was so glad to meet each of the students and wish them well in their future artistic endeavors. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for next semester at Potomac Arts Academy. 
Happy Holidays,

Cubism, Pablo Picasso, and Soft Sculpture

This week we discussed the work of Pablo Picasso. He is best known for his contributions to the Cubist movement where he investigated how two dimensional drawings could represent three dimensional objects. In his case he was not attempting to fool the eye into believing that his drawings/paintings had depth, but rather how a three dimensional object would look if flattened. For our purposes we focused on portraiture.

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For this project I made an example which I don’t often do; however I wanted the students to see the final product so they would understand all of the steps we would take in order to make our soft sculptures. We talked about how the faces were different than we were used to seeing in traditional portraiture. Picasso would choose to show both a profile and frontal view of the women in his paintings while also using unnatural colors. The last image of Picasso’s work we looked at was a work of sculpture as we were going to be working in 3D. It was interesting to compare how he took the Cubist concepts and applied them to a 3D sculpture. As you can see from the picture he is still using many of the same shapes to represent the figure.


It took some explaining with a little trial and error, but once the students started seeing the results of their work, they began to get excited about how the sculptures are going to look. Yesterday’s class focused on the design of the head shape, face, and back. We started with two pieces of foam to use as a base for our drawings. After drawing the front and back of our portrait, we laid a piece of muslin over each side and traced them; first with pencil then with Sharpie. Once the outlines were in place, the students used the foam as a printing plate to lay color onto the fabric. This single color printing technique is called a monoprint.


DSC_0006Thanks to Miss Christine for modeling the printing method for the students.

Next week the pieces will be sewn together and the students can further embellish their sculptures with ribbon, beads, and yarn.

Have a great week. Leanna

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