Friday, April 6, 2012

A taste of things to come - more dragons

Every year my 6th graders do a tooling foil relief project. I switch up the theme to keep myself from getting bored. Last year was African masks, with a group of uber-talented kids. Other favorite themes have been Medieval shields, and Egyptian faces.

This year the challenge was dragons, and the first kids are now done. I think this was a real challenge for these kids. The details were tough for them to do. In the end I offer color choices of permanent markers or acrylic paints mixed with ModPodge to a glossy transparency, and suggest only minimal color - for example JUST the eye of the dragon. But they have resisted and are going overboard with color :(

The girl whose work is at the top of the post used paint, and wanted to also paint the moon PINK until I talked her out of it.

The boy who made the dragon on the left below had a really striking piece until he started scribbling colors everywhere. We tried to get it off (unsuccessfully) so he blocked in some areas with color instead. It's definitely not as successful as it was just black and silver with a red eye.

The girl who made the dragon on the right (if you can find it in the image) really overdid EVERYTHING, but, in the end, said to me "I absolutely LOVE the way my project turned out!" And what can be better than hearing that from a 6th grade girl who has attitude-plus?

By the way, they selected a piece of mat board in either black or an assortment of colored scraps I have, and then used metallic markers - to sign their names - and then of course went overboard decorating the mats as well. (Hearts? On a dragon?) Oh well - they are enamored with the metallic markers I have and there's just so many times I can say "KEEP IT SIMPLE".

Now that I've posted this I feel like I'm officially on vacation! Passover starts at sunset tonight. Have a happy holiday everyone!


  1. It's all a matter of perception, Phyl. I like them all and I can see 11 and 12 year old enthusiasm oozing out of them so I'd say they are pretty darn successful! Look at them again in aweek or so and you'll probably feel the same way:)


  2. I agree with Pat. I think they really came out nice with the colors. Keep it simple is not in a kids vocabulary! You may have wanted them to do less but they looked well planned out and the kids seem to be proud of their results. I think they turned out well. :)

  3. I didn't mean to sound like I don't like them - I DO, and I'm glad you do too! And you'll see a bunch more after vacation - most of the kids just need one more art class to get them done...

    I do think the simplicity and exaggeration of last year's African masks made them really stand out.

    1. These look beautiful, enchanting! I am a 7th grade teacher and looking for instructions for teaching tooled tin foil to my students, can you help?

    2. Jessica, Yes I can help - but it would probably be easier for me via email if you are OK w/that. Go to my profile for my email address and send me an email w/tooling foil in the subject line, and I'll email you back w/more than I can write here. In the meantime:

      I have the kids do their designs to size on newsprint. The dragons were tough because they break some basic rules - simple curved forms are more suitable to the material than the sharp angles and small details of the dragons.

      Anyhow - email me for details! It's easy!

  4. Would you be willing to email me the instructions to your dragons, also? They are incredible! I teach sixth grade and I think my students would love these.

    1. Lauren, I can do that - give me a few days. I have had good success with getting deep relief with tooling foil, and actually think I'm going go put it in a hands-on workshop for next year's NY state art teachers convention. If you get a moment check out the African masks we made a year prior with the foil. Just go to my labels on the right of the blog and click 'tooling foil' and scroll down through the posts.