Ninja Craftsmanship

My school students recently completed a unit focusing on craftsmanship, in preparation for taking on art inspired by China and Japan. In trying to understand what I was describing as craftsmanship, one boy mentioned ninjas as craftsmen. Well, hey! I can work with that! Ninjas are, indeed, well known for the excellence of what they do. I called my students to be ninja artists, the best at using their tools and media.

Our first practice project was with drawing tools, and I didn’t want them comparing drawing SKILL, but care in use of the TOOL. So we created an abstract marker drawing which had to have at least two straight lines utilizing a ruler. I LOVED these. I am even taking two of them to our art competition in Nebraska.

The Best on Display

Then we worked on using our paints and brushes with good craftsmanship, while practicing changes in value. A Coke commercial inspired me to go polar, so third through sixth put a polar bear in theirs, and first and second grade put collaged penguins (more accessible to them). This was definitely more challenging for them, but I really enjoyed the results.

Polar values

I hope to see the benefits of focusing specifically on craftsmanship as my ninja artists move into Asian art and its emphasis on excellence.

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Filed under Art, Fifth/Sixth Grade, First/Second Grade, Teaching, Third/Fourth Grade

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