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Artistic food feast.


It's fairly well-known that some children dislike eating vegetables. Fruits, on the other hand, are usually popular snacks. By bringing fruits and vegetables together in the following art project, I was impressed with the attractive and surprisingly successful outcome.

The assignment was to use a half-sheet of drawing paper (6" x 9") and, with the paper in the landscape (horizontal) position, draw at least seven items, with a minimum of five overlapping. Students knew that they could satisfactorily complete their projects by merely drawing seven strawberries (or any vegetable or fruit) and have five of them overlap. However, I wanted this project to encompass many different visual textures, colors and shapes, so I encouraged them to draw a variety of edibles and to have many more than just the numbers required.

Before students began, I gave an introductory drawing demonstration. For example, for a realistic-looking tomato, I first drew the stem and then added "shoulders," making it look as though the stem sank into the fruit. To finish, I drew an oval starting slightly above the stem and shoulders, curving down and all the way around, back to the top, creating the shape of the whole tomato.


I also showed the students how individual kernels of corn can be created by lightly sketching a pencil grid inside of a corn husk and then forming the individual kernels inside each square of the grid. During my demonstration, I stressed the importance of soft shadow lines on the pea pods, grapes, corn husks and so on.

Students are surprised at how easy it is to draw realistic-looking leaves simply by adding veins that fan out from the stem within. I encouraged them to use light pencil lines for any items they considered difficult, and had them complete the drawing with black felt-tip pens. In addition to my demonstration, I handed out a reference sheet that showed sample line drawings of fruits and vegetables that I had created from grocery and produce store advertisements.

Once their outlines of the fruits and vegetables were complete, the fourth-graders filled them in with colored pencils, using blending and shading techniques they had previously learned through other drawing assignments. By employing a few key steps that clearly defined each fruit or vegetable, it was not only easy to identify the particular food item, but the students were quite pleased by their realistic drawings.


The kids were excited to show everyone their peas, carrots, beets, celery--and all the other fruits and vegetables they'd drawn. Their enthusiasm was surprising and rewarding. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, perhaps this fun, successful lesson will help spark an interest in vegetables at the dinner table!


Elementary students will ...

* increase their awareness of the size, shape, detail and color of foods they may eat.

* have an exercise in composition and perspective.

* practice drawing and shading skills.


* 6" x 9" drawing paper

* Pencils, felt-tip pens and colored pencils

* Sample line drawings (created from grocery store ads)


* This project works best with students who've had some drawing experience.

* The key to the success of this project is the teacher demonstration. The better the demo, the better the students' work will be. Students should watch the teacher demonstrate several of the items to see how easy they are to draw.

* If a background is desired, a checkered tablecloth creates the opportunity to introduce one-point perspective. Show students how the vertical lines radiate from a point above the table and the horizontal lines remain horizontal.

by Mary McNamara Mulkey with Susanne Malta

Mary McNamara Mulkey is a visual art specialist for the Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps, Washington. Susanne Malta is a freelance writer.
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Author:Mulkey, Mary McNamara; Malm, Susanne
Publication:Arts & Activities
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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