Lesson Plan: Visible Thinking
UMMA Exhibition, “The Graphic Dimension: Prints and Drawings by Modern Sculptors,” 1988
Students will consider the process of “thinking” and revising by observing sketches and sculptures of modern artists.
National Core Standards
- Refine and complete artistic work
- Perceive and analyze artistic work
One class period
- Paper and pencils
- Reproductions of works of art, such as Moore, Picasso, and Giacometti drawings and sculptures
- Share a story about a time when you changed your mind about something. If possible, show students an example of writing with editing marks. Famous authors speak candidly about the need to draft and change their work as it progresses, and how it may not ever feel “finished.” Sometimes there is a misconception that artists draw or sculpt something perfect on the first attempt. The goal of this lesson is to realize and observe that visual artists, too, think through a process and change their work.
- Observe the Henry Moore drawing and sculpture. What is the overall impression of these figures? Light or heavy, solid or fluid? How does Moore achieve that effect? Look closely at the sketching lines. How does he construct the size of the head in relation to the rest of the body? Which lines does he leave? Which does he emphasize? Compare this to his sculpture. How might he alter his figures as he sculpts them?
- Also consider Picasso’s sketch of the horse. Why might he change the angle of the horse’s head?
- Study Giacometti’s figure and sculpture and analyze the rough gestural lines. Figures can be difficult for students to draw. Give them permission to change their lines as they see fit.
- Activity: ask one student to model a pose and the rest of the class will produce a quick gestural drawing using similar strokes as Giacometti. If students need to alter their lines, they don’t need to erase. Draw a darker contour line on top to emphasize a change in direction. Ask as many students to pose as time permits.