Recently, I was swiping through Instagram when I stumbled upon an art style called Doodle Art. Doodles are defined by Wikipedia as “simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may be composed of random and abstract lines or shapes.” The artworks I saw had many of these characteristics, but what caught my attention was the fun characters the artists incorporated within these imaginative, whimsical compositions. Inspired by the compositions and the concept of Doodle Art, I developed a lesson for my beginning level high-school students.
Bibi N. and Ajax H.Evangeline L. and Lorelei M.Evelyn B.Odisho L. and Noor M.
I am always on the lookout for meaningful ways to connect students to the elements of art and principles of design. Recently, I was swiping through Instagram when I stumbled upon an art style called Doodle Art.
Doodles are defined by Wikipedia as “simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may be composed of random and abstract lines or shapes.” The artworks I saw had many of these characteristics, but what caught my attention was the fun characters the artists incorporated within these imaginative, whimsical compositions. Inspired by the compositions and the concept of Doodle Art, I developed a lesson for my beginning level high-school students.
Working with a Prompt
I wrote down the core teaching points I wanted students to focus on, and I came up with a prompt that was sure to appeal to high-schoolers’ imaginations: A Monster and Robot Battle Royale. The focus would be on crucial aspects of a battle. I asked students to think about how a battle might unfold between these two adversaries, and to think about three specific stages of a battle and choose one to focus on: (1) The Beginning, (2) The Engagement, and (3) The Aftermath.
Now that students knew what to focus on, the discussion turned to what their artworks should include. I reinforced that studentsʼ artwork must be original and they were not allowed to copy other artists.
I told students: Explore a fantasy world of monsters and robots. The rules that bind the real world no longer apply. Let your imagination run wild! Your creations will twist and float together in a fantasy environment. Be sure to include line variations, geometric and organic shapes, colors, textures, and patterns. Students should produce a tightly packed composition and be sure to account for the negative spaces that will develop. They should create a sense of depth by varying the size and scale of their doodles and giving their compositions a defined foreground, middle ground, and background.
Importance of Using a Sketchbook
Students brainstormed ideas for their monsters and robots in their sketchbooks. Once they had a general idea of what their subjects would look like, they began to work out the design elements that would connect them. I reminded them to focus on the stage of the battle they had chosen for their monsters and robots to engage in.
Preparing the Final Design
Students next used a sheet of 8 x 10" (20 x 25 cm) newsprint paper. Newsprint is beneficial at this stage because itʼs affordable and drawings on it can be easily modified. I asked students to allow the drawing to create a natural outer edge on all four sides instead of letting the design run off the paper.
Students transferred their newsprint drawings to the final sheet of 8 x 10" Bristol paper using a lightbox and a 2H pencil. This method has proven successful for the final presentation because it allows students to keep lines light and the final paper pristine.
I never assume that students have prior knowledge using media and materials, so I set aside a few days to take them through a series of material demonstrations.
Next, I asked students to work on developing a color scheme before applying color to the final paper. Students’ designs could employ complementary, analogous, or warm and cool colors. Some students opted for colors that don’t necessarily fall into a specific color scheme but suited the overall design.
Students applied color to their compositions with a combination of alcohol-based permanent ink markers (we used Prismacolor), gel pens, paint markers, and various colored technical pens.
Lines and Details
After coloring, students applied the final touches, adding black outlines with their choice of black technical pens. I reminded students to vary the lines and to think about how to handle lines that are perpendicular, intersect, form angles, are curved, or are in shadow.
Students documented and submitted their artwork digitally and in-person. I purchased a large portable photo box for the classroom where students can document their artwork photographically. I highly recommend this setup for every classroom. My beginning level students are expected to build a digital portfolio of all the artwork they complete during the semester, then submit it as part of a final assessment.
John Zilewicz is an art teacher at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois. JohZil@d219.org
Producing: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
Art teachers encourage students to develop visual and digital literacy skills. Young students learn about Froebel’s Gifts and participate in a series of scaffolded lessons, elementary students explore the concept of unity in art-making and photograph compositional designs, middle-school students use surprising materials to construct hyperrealistic food items, and high-school students create imaginative Doodle Art inspired compositions.