Ellen's sixth grade students at Anchorage Public School in Kentucky did these colorful appliqué portrait collage all with donated fabrics. Start collecting now! Much of the sewing was done at home with periodic check in. Students began with contour drawings using mirrors - then watercolor portraits for practice.
Ellen demonstrated the freezer paper technique of appliqué (resource below) and got the students started. Ellen encouraged chunky stitches in a contrasting thread for interest. Once the stitching was done, embellishments were added (buttons, beads, ribbon, etc).
Ellen was inspired by Marvin Bartel's post to Getty TeacherArtExchange
March 7, 2004: Teach a formula for a face and you get one solution. Learn to measure and to formulate and you can create any and every face. When they learn to see contour and tone and ways to render it in addition to skills in measuring proportions they will need no formula to follow.
Learning to draw by learning to see goes beyond knowing what certain things look like. Learning the specific techniques of seeing better helps us find out what everything looks like. There are good methods to teach seeing and drawing without resorting to other people's formulas. Teach students how to observe/express and students can draw/express anything - not only those things for which they have memorized a formula.
This is a list of six eye/brain/hand skills to learn in order to learn to draw everything. Sighting devices and aides such as viewfinders, blinders, and sighting with pencil or ruler can help us learn the first three of these. Assignment limitations and changing habits of learning can teach the second three. Most of this list comes from a talk by Betty Edwards.
1. edges and contours (including shapes)
2. size relationships and proportions (including perspective)
3. angles and inclines (including perspective)
4. tone changes (shading) (including form and perspective)
5. negative space (inclusive vision)
6. pattern, texture, color (the rest of it)
One of Marvin's suggestions was to draw right on the mirror using a grease pencil. Another idea would be to place a sheet of clear acetate/transparency over the mirror and draw on the acetate with a marker.