SKYSCRAPER LINE DRAWING

By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

“I aim to create fun, simple, peaceful images that viewers can relate to and connect with in their own personal ways. I’ve always been attracted to drawing and enjoy the immediate response I can have on a viewer.” — Marz Jr.

Using the illustrative style of artist Marz Jr. as inspiration, students will create a line drawing by choosing iconic New York City skyscrapers to depict. Students will focus on their use of line, shape, and form by cutting out skyscraper shapes and gluing them to colored paper to create a unique cityscape scene.

Marz Jr. Work Inspiration:

Supply List:

• Images of New York City Skyline for Inspiration
• 1 to 2 Pieces of White Construction Paper
• 1 Piece of Colored Construction Paper 
• Pencils
• Black Marker
• Scissors
• Glue


Grab your supplies and let’s get drawing!

Look at the New York City skyline inspiration images and choose a couple of     buildings that you would like to draw.

Using pencil, start by sketching two to three skyscraper buildings onto your colored piece of paper. Plan your composition with space for the cutout skyscraper that will be glued on later. Draw all of the windows onto your skyscraper buildings, too. 

Using a black marker, darken your skyscraper contour lines.

On a piece of white paper, draw your final skyscraper with windows, making sure that it will fit between your others when glued onto the page.

Cut and glue your white skyscraper onto the colored piece of paper.

Add any final touches to your unique cityscape! Think about using varying shapes for the windows on your skyscrapers, such as circles, triangles, or even octagons!

The Skyscraper Line Drawing!

RANDOM CHARACTER GENERATOR

By Owen Curtsinger, Contributing Teaching Artist

Hey y’all! Are you tired of the same old cartoon characters that you are seeing on TV? Well, today we’re going to come up with a totally new cartoon character. And the best part is I have no idea what they’re going to look like. We’re going to find out what this cartoon character looks like by combining some random words to tell us what to draw. This is what I call the random character generator.

Supply List:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Three Jars or Cups

First, we need some fuel for our random character generator. I have made three separate lists of words. The first list is all nouns. These are types of people or animals.

The second list is full of adjectives; these are words that will modify or describe a noun, like “sleepy” or “happy.”

The third list is full of verbs, or action words or phrases, like “running” or “eating pizza.”

You can make your own lists of nouns, adjectives, and verbs, or you can copy the words that I’ve made in my lists. After you’re done writing down your lists, use scissors to separately cut out each word and put it in a jar. It’s easiest if you put all the nouns in one jar, adjectives in another jar, and verbs in another.

Once you’ve cut out your words and put them in their jars, it’s time to shake up those jars and activate the random character generator!!! Without peeking, take one slip of paper from each jar. You should have one random noun, one random adjective, and one random verb.

Here’s what I got:

So my job now is to try and draw a cheerful dog eating donuts! That should be easy, because I love donuts, so I can really relate to being cheerful while eating donuts. First, let’s draw a basic skeleton with a pencil. I like to draw this skeleton because it gives me some basic building blocks of how to draw any person (or in this case dog). Later on we can flesh out the character with more details like the body, face, hair, and clothes. If you selected a verb like ‘running’ or ‘jumping’ you may want to draw your skeleton in a different pose, but the basic elements should be the same.

Now I need to add details to my skeleton to match the character that I have chosen, so I’ll start by adding a cheerful dog head. Notice that as I add details to the head, I have started to erase some of the skeleton’s lines that I don’t need anymore:

Now I’ll keep going and fill in the rest of the body with more details that are unique to my character. In this case, the random character generator didn’t give me any clues about what my character should be wearing, so I’ll get creative. Maybe this dog just finished playing basketball before he got donuts.

Have fun and be creative! The most important part of this lesson is to trust the random character generator and work with what you have without trying to peek and pick the words that you think you want to draw. You will be surprised at how much fun you can have drawing something unexpected!

THE BLUE DOG

By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

“The yellow eyes are really the soul of the dog. He has this piercing stare. People say the dog keeps talking to them with the eyes, always saying something different.” — George Rodrigue

In this playful and colorful project, students will learn how to draw and paint the Blue Dog, the cherished pet of famed artist George Rodrigue. Students will focus on their use of line and practice choosing complementary colors to create a one-of-a-kind animal creation. 

George Rodrigue painting The Blue Dog in his studio.

Supply List:

  • Drawing Paper
  • Pencils
  • Black Marker
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Water Cup
  • Paper Towels


Grab your supplies and let’s get drawing!

Use a pencil to draw the dog’s head by creating a medium-sized circle in the top center of the paper.

Use a pencil to draw the dog’s facial features. Draw a small rounded square shape for the dog’s nose, two small circular eyes, and a short line for the mouth underneath the nose.

Use a pencil to draw two triangular shapes on either side of the head for ears.

Use a pencil to draw the dog’s body shape. Start with the two outward facing legs     and then draw the two legs sticking out behind the front legs. Use a horizontal line     to connect the two legs with the rest of the body. 

Darken your pencil marks by going over the outline with a black marker.

Use watercolor paint and a paintbrush to paint the dog blue. Add a contrasting color for the nose. 

Choose complementary colors to paint the background. 

Let your imagination run wild with color and pattern combinations for your dog! 
Take a look at this color wheel for ideas! 

The Blue Dog!

MANDALA COLOR WHEEL

By Owen Curtsinger, Contributing Teaching Artist

In today’s drawing project, we will be making a mandala and using shapes and lines to explore pattern, repetition, and color. Some religions like Hinduism and Buddhism use mandalas as spiritual symbols; some folks in those religions create very big mandalas to focus their spiritual attention. But no matter what religion you may be, mandalas are a beautiful and creative way to focus your attention!

Supply List:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils

But wait, what exactly is a mandala? Good question! A mandala is a geometric display of different patterns and symbols arranged in radial symmetry. Wow! Let’s look at this example of a 19th-century Tibetan mandala to unpack what that all means.

“a geometric display of different patterns and symbols arranged in radial symmetry

So first of all, you may notice that this is in the shape of a square. Then you can see a big circle inside the square, and then a square inside the circle, and on and on and on. These geometric shapes make up a geometric display. You may see some symbols that are important to the Buddhist religion, like the gods sitting on their altars, and if you look closely, some deer sitting under a wheel. These and other images are repeated around and around the circles and squares, making them a pattern. OK, one last thing, you may notice that no matter what side of the mandala you look, it will look the same as any other. You could turn it on its side and it will mostly look the same as if it were turned right-side up. This is radial symmetry, and you can also observe this in sunflowers, starfish, and most importantly, pizza.

OK, let’s make our own mandalas. First we need to make a few circles. You can use a compass if you have one, but if you don’t, look around the house to find some circular objects of different sizes to trace (bottle caps and jar lids work well!). Let’s make about three circles.

Now draw some lines going all the way through the center, as if you were slicing up a pizza (now I’m getting hungry!). A ruler is recommended, but just find some other sort of straight edge, like a book spine if you don’t have a ruler.

Now we’re going to work inside just one of those pizza slices. You’ll notice that your pizza slice has three sections. In each separate section, make a different shape or series of shapes and lines. Be sure to make your designs simple enough that they can be repeated all the way around the entire pizza. Here’s what mine looks like:

Now fill in every pizza slice with the exact same series of shapes and lines that you made in the first one, turning your geometric shapes into a repeated pattern displaying radial symmetry! Go slowly and try to make it look neat and tidy.

You’ve finished your mandala! Excellent! But what would a mandala be without color? You may color the shapes and patterns any colors that you wish. I chose to color mine while keeping in mind a past lesson that I taught about the color wheel.

That’s it! Hopefully drawing and coloring your mandala brought you some peace, calm, and focus…I know mine did!

EARTH DAY NATURE WALK ZINE

By Deedra Baker, Program Director in Partnership with Yogi Squad

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22nd! Art Room partnered with Yogi Squad, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides yoga to underserved populations in Fort Worth, to create an Earth Day Nature Walk zine. The zine features art projects, literacy, and mindfulness!

Use this zine to guide you on a nature walk throughout the month of April in celebration of Earth Day.

ANIMALS IN ART

By Morgan Johnson, Art Room Intern

Today’s hands-on project is inspired by animals in art! Students will explore Line, Shape, Color, and Pattern while they create their very own cat drawing.

Supply List:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Oil Pastels (Optional)

An 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 14-inch piece of paper works great for this project. Fold your piece of paper in half horizontally (hamburger fold) and vertically (hotdog fold) to create guidelines to help you draw your cat.

Open up your folded paper and flatten out your creases. You now have a piece of paper with a helpful four-square grid. Use a black marker to draw the outline of the cat, starting with the face in the upper left-hand square on your paper. Follow along with the photo demonstrations below for a step-by-step visual guide on how to draw your cat!

You now have the outline of your cat drawn! So far, you have used lines and shapes to create your cat drawing—a face with eyes, a nose, and whiskers & a body with a curly tail.

Now it is time to add a unique pattern to your cat’s body. A pattern is when an element of art—like a line or a shape—repeats itself. You can also add lines to the paws to add details for your cat’s toes.

You have all created such unique cat drawings! You can make your cat even more fun with a pop of color. Think about using warm colors for the body of the cat—maybe yellow & orange—and use cool colors for the details of the cat—maybe purple & blue! You can use crayons or oil pastels to color in your cat.

There is just one more step for you to do on your cat drawing. Pick your favorite color to color in the background of the cat—make your cat really stand out!

OUT MY WINDOW

By Owen Curtsinger, Contributing Teaching Artist

Hey everybody! I have a really simple drawing lesson this week that will lay the building blocks for understanding something called perspective, which is a word that is used to describe what you see from where you are. As an artists’ tool, perspective helps us understand what we see from where we sit or stand, and how to draw the objects that we see in a way that someone else can look at our drawing and feel like they are in the same room as we are, looking at the same objects! Perspective is also used to make shapes look three-dimensional, but we’re not going to worry about that today, so if you don’t feel comfortable drawing 3D shapes, that’s fine! Today we will just focus on three layers of a perspective: foreground, middle ground, and background.

Supply List:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Window
  • Watercolor Paint (optional)
  • Markers (Optional)
  • Crayons (Optional)
  • Colors Pencils (Optional)

This lesson is called “Out My Window” because all we need is a pencil, paper, and a window. A lot of us are spending more time than usual inside our houses right now. Maybe we’ve been looking out our windows quite a bit too; this lesson will help us pay close attention to our perspective as we look out a window and draw exactly what you see. So first, find a window in your house that looks out on an interesting view. This window’s perspective shouldn’t be too simple, like a window looking directly at your neighbor’s brick wall. You might get a little bored drawing that (but maybe not!).

First, draw the shape of the window. Try and take up as much of your paper as you can. The window that I will be drawing from is a rectangle, and most windows will have a rectangular shape, but maybe you’re looking out an arched window or a porthole on a ship!

Now that we have the shape of our window, everything that we draw from the view out this window will be drawn inside this shape. We are going to pay close attention to everything that we see inside this rectangle without moving around too much, so find a chair if possible and get comfortable!

Next, draw the object or shape that is closest to your window. It could be a car in the driveway or a tree or part of a porch—anything that is closest to your house that you can see from your perspective looking out of your window. Looking out my window, the closest thing that I can see is the pecan tree in my yard, so I’ll draw that first. Notice how I draw only the parts that I can see in the window. I’m not getting out of my chair to try and see the whole tree; I’m only paying attention to the parts of the tree that I can see through the window. The objects that are closest to your perspective we call the foreground.

After that, I will draw the objects that are in the space behind the foreground. Maybe it’s the street or a house across the street. Whatever it is, these objects should be about the distance you could throw a football or kick a soccer ball (but please don’t play football or soccer indoors). We call this area of our perspective the middle ground. In the middle ground of the view out my window, I can see a grassy lawn and the back of the church across the street. I can also see a storage shed with a basketball hoop and a fence, so I’ll draw those too.

Now that I’ve those drawn, I can draw the background—all of the objects that are farthest away from your perspective. You can still see them, but they are the last thing you see before you can’t see any farther. For me, the background of the perspective out my window is filled with trees and rooftops of houses that are on the far side of my neighborhood block.

OK, now we have the foreground, middle ground, and background. These layers of what we see from where we’re sitting form some of the most basic building blocks of perspective. But since we are using a window to frame our perspective, let’s give the window itself some attention, too! What does the frame of your window look like? Maybe you’ve got some toys or little knick-knacks sitting on your windowsill, like I do.

Now you can show your drawing to someone and they will be able to imagine themselves looking out your window just as you have done, viewing the same things that you viewed from your perspective. Nice job! You have accomplished one of the most important things that an artist can do, which gives someone a view of something they may have never seen or imagined before.

If you have the time and patience, add color and more details! Here is what happened when I took my time to add watercolor and lots of little details to my perspective out my window.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson! If you need more activities to do just like this one, you could take it a step further—imagine yourself looking out a window that you have never seen before. Maybe it is the porthole of a ship or a space station on Mars. Now draw that imaginary perspective using the same process: foreground, middle ground, and background. Have fun!