Colored pencils have been a staple of art instruction in our schools for many years for a very good reason. They deliver vibrant colors in a medium that encourages fine motor skills and is capable of rendering some find artwork. Kids do best, however, when they understand the basic techniques of the medium, which are covered below. Here are some tips for teaching art using colored pencils.
Stippling is a wonderful technique that allows children to explore their view of the world by placing dots on a page. Similar in technique to the pointillist movement, small and distinct colored dots are used on the page to create images. Best of all, by placing dots of many different colors close together, children can create the illusion of a unique color and learn to simulate shading. In addition, they can change the way each dot looks by using both dull and sharp colored pencils within their drawings.
Getting a colored pencil tip sharp enough for those drawings takes a bit of know-how, since the ‘lead’ contained within the pencils isn’t actually lead at all. It is actually a hardened wax that has been infused with pigment and sharpening the tip without breaking can be a tall order. Either have an electric pencil sharpener on hand that is made specially for colored pencils or make sure that handheld manual sharpeners are available. These sharpeners work best when the pencil is held still and the sharpener is turned. This action reduces the stress on the pencil and allows the tip to come to a fine point. The best pencil sharpener, or better yet the best electric pencil sharpener is worth looking for at http://maxcnash.com/best-electric-pencil-sharpener/, as it will save you a lot of time and nerves.
Hatching is another technique that works well when children are first learning how to draw. Have the children practice by drawing a series of parallel lines that are very close together. Hatching becomes cross-hatching when a second set of parallel lines is drawn across the initial set in a different direction. This action makes the drawing much more interesting and different effects can be achieved as the tip of the pencil ranges from sharp to dull. Keep in mind that the pencil tip is raised after drawing an individual line.
Scumbling and the back-and-forth stroke are techniques that most people pick up without any instruction. The colored pencil is not picked up between motions in either one of these techniques and both are great for filling in spaces. Scumbling uses circular motions to fill in spaces, while the back-and-forth techniques involves filling in those spaces while never picking the pencil up and simply moving the pencil in a back and forth motion while the space is filled in.
Encourage your students to try all of these techniques out while they practice with their pictures. Ask them to combine the techniques as well. Perhaps they can fill a space in with one color using either back-and-forth or scumbling and then add interest by selecting a different color and applying cross-hatching to the area. In either case, as they explore textural changes with sharp and dull tips, they will enjoy making colorful statement on the blank page.