This project started off with many moans and groans as I told my high school students that they were going to draw the tools that were hanging on the rack in the studio.
I started by putting out some drawing implements to get them started; we had charcoal sticks and pencils, white charcoal pencils, pens, pencils, inks, markers. For the first part, large rolls of paper were rolled out on the floor and students in groups tried making marks on them with the implements provided in various ways. This was a good way for them to explore all the drawing tools.
Next, the students were instructed to use white, black and/or brown paper to draw 10 images of tools, using different combinations of implements, varying sizes and viewpoints. They were shown images of Jim Dine’s work and they noticed how line and shapes were used creatively – sometimes creating lost edges and sometimes defining them with a sharp edge. This observation gave them a fairly good start. They also talked about how they way these drawing tools were used, could create a mood or feeling in something as ordinary as a tool.
Students got to work on their tools and ended up finding newer ways to give expression to their tools, using techniques such as cropping and scaling to give it a monumental feel, or using high contrast to make it feel menacing.
It was a great introduction to using tools as well as detailed observation drawing.