Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tile Portraits with Emotion

     For these tiles, we looked at lots of portraits by different artists and discussed what the people might be expressing in them in fifth grade at Brimfield.  We talked about artworks being expressions of the artists who make them and came to the conclusion that all artwork is "about" something.  For their portraits, the students drew onto wet clay to show themselves expressing an emotion about an event in their lives.  We did some portrait drawing practice before diving into the clay, and the clay "drawings" really came out nicely.  They drew patterns in the backgrounds using symbols that refer to the event that their artwork refers to.

     To get this sgraffito-style look, we used some non-traditional finishing techniques with the bisque ware.  We painted the tiles (we used white clay) with black acrylic paint and made sure that the paint went down into each line and crevice.  Then, when the paint was dry, we used white colored pencils to thickly color just the portraits.  Then we used colored pencils to mix and layer colors until skin and hair shades were matched just right!  The students colored the backgrounds with colored pencil without doing the white layer first so that the emphasis would stay on the portrait.
     I had never tried this finishing technique and have a few tips that I will keep in mind for next time!  I have a few Prismacolor pencils, and they by far, work the best.  Most of my colored pencils are Crayola.  They work too, but the Prismacolors really worked better.  Also, the whole process goes smoother if the students draw deeper lines as opposed to lines that barely break the clay's surface.  If any black lines get lost, a nicely sharpened black pencil can draw them back!


Elizabeth said...

These look wonderful! A great new technique to try, thanks :) Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I love these Katy! Awesome job! ~Robyn

Miss said...

These are fabulous! I love how you colored them as opposed to glazing. They look so emotive. Thanks for sharing the process!