This is one of my all-time favourite high school level watercolour lessons. I've done this lesson with Grades 10 - 12. It combines art history (Cubism) and watercolour techniques.
I start off with an introduction to Cubism, specifically Analytical Cubism, which I feel works better for this project due to the limited colours used. I show photos on the large flat screen TV I have in my art room. We discuss the fragmented quality of the images, value changes and gradations and multiple viewpoints.
So students have to first think of a theme. Anything will work as long as they can draw 4-5 objects/items related to the theme. On heavy drawing paper or watercolour paper, students draw these items, making sure to vary the size for interest and spread the images out to fill the whole paper. Draw these lightly with pencil. Once the items are drawn, students then use a ruler to fracture or 'break-up' the picture plane into lots of angular or geometric sections. They just want to make sure they make conscious choices as to where to draw the lines to keep the whole composition balanced and to make sure not to have any super small sections as these are tricky to paint effectively.
Before painting, I demonstrate how to create a value change using watercolours. Start with pure pigment in one side of a section then add water gradually to blend out and fade the colour. One of my students remarked "Oh, it's like ombre!" Exactly! Each student takes a scrap piece of paper and does some practice sections before starting their good copy. They can also decide on the colours they will use at this point. I encourage a somewhat limited colour palette. The watercolours we use are Prang and Crayola brand, though I have a slight preference for Prang.
Grade 10 results:
|Social Media theme (famous logos: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc)|