Change your perspective! It’s comfortable and familiar to begin by drawing an object straight on. Most students adopt this approach, or perhaps an aerial view by looking down on it from above. But the hideous part about drawing, is that we are constantly competing with our brain- that mind’s eye that tells us a line is really shaped shorter or rounder then it actually appears. Students learning to draw forget to stop looking at what they are drawing on paper and instead spend more time studying the object.
Hence, the suspended chair drawing assignment- dare to draw the hanging chair. Not only was it a constant attention grabber as students entered the room, (“Why is there a chair hanging from the ceiling?”, “Can I sit in the hanging chair?”), it also forced them to expand their accepted view of a chair. It was my sixth grade classes that surprised me most in this assignment with their bold portrayals and outstanding compositions.
I made my students start their drawings in crayon, leaving them unable to erase errant marks. After creating rough contour drawings, they painted the negative space with black paint and made a solid underpainting of the chair shape. Finally, using oil pastels, students colored their chair paintings, paying attention to the fact that brighter areas feel close while faded colors recede into the distance.