Art Exploration: Texture

To learn about texture, begin by brainstorming every texture word you can think of: rough, smooth, slimy, scaly, sharp, bumpy, sticky, and on and on and on.  Write them down on slips of paper.  Draw out the slips one by one and distribute them among all the kids.  Each kid has two assignments:

  1. Go find something that had that texture
  2. Draw a picture of that texture.

Before taking off, look at a great example of texture.  This is Young Hare by Durer.

Albrecht Dürer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ask: How would this rabbit feel if you were to touch it?  (Soft, furry)

Now have them touch it.  Touch the screen or the paper or whatever you are using to look at the painting.  Hmmm, it doesn’t feel soft and furry at all!  It feels slick and smooth.  Discuss the difference between texture in real life and texture in paintings.  Talk about the techniques and tricks Durer used so we would “feel” the softness of the rabbit just by looking at it.  His work is a perfect example of this because of the incredible detail he put into each bit of fur.

Now send the kids off on their texture scavenger hunt.   Find things in the house that represent each texture word and draw pictures of them.

When we did this exploration my son really latched on to the assignment and found our scaly goldfish and then drew a fish with crayon, going back over it with oil pastels to make each individual textured scale.  Using the two different layered media really added to the depth and texture of his picture.

At the dinner table we almost always have a discussion involving what we learned that day.  My 4 year-old daughter began the discussion and said, “Rabbits are furry, and even if they aren’t really, we can draw them so they are!”  Well said, Isabel.  Lesson learned.  I think.

Learn lots more about texture and how it plays a role in art in Layers of Learning Unit 1-13.

Unit 1-13

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