Friday, May 9, 2014

Chinese Brush Painting and Perspective

My seventh graders are in the middle of an Asian-influenced unit. 
To begin the unit I introduced them to Chinese Brush Painting. 
My school has lower, middle, and upper school are all on the same campus.
So I was very lucky to have the chance to have one of the high school Chinese students,
who had learned traditional brush painting when he was younger, came and did a demonstration for my classes. 

Before we started the main project, for one class session I cut down small 6 x 6 pieces of rice paper for the kids to practice on. They practiced bamboo, trees, mountains, for the most part. I have a few Chinese students, and they showed the kids how to write their names in Chinese characters as well, which they loved. 

I had inexpensive chinese brushes on hand but most of us liked to use these size 6 and 8 round white nylon watercolor brushes by Sax instead. 
The ink can be watered down with a little water on a small palette to get dark grey in addition to black. Most of the kids shared a tiny cup of ink and a tiny cup of water. 

The project:

From there we took a break from brush painting and the students learned how 2-point perspective works. After practicing this new concept, they each had to select a photo of Chinese or Japanese inspired architecture that demonstrated 2-point perspective to draw. 
They drew the buildings on 9 x 12 paper. 

Then they placed the rice paper over their drawing and traced the drawing in ink. 
This part of the process was the least time consuming and only took 1 to 2 class periods. 

To give them a finished look, we back them with construction paper and popped them in pre-cut mats. They look awesome and the kids learned so much! 

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