This is a drawing lesson I found in the book: From Ordinary To Extraordinary: Art & Design Problem Solving by Ken Vieth. I like this assignment because it addresses both accurate drawing from observation as well as creative thinking. I did this project as a final lesson with my Grade 10/11 class. It was challenging for them, but I think they learned alot about drawing with this technique. It involves creating two drawings from looking at pieces of popcorn: one a realistic drawing from observation and the second involves transforming the popcorn into something else.
It also involves drawing opposite to what we are accustomed to- drawing with white on black paper.
This website explains it well:
Drawing with white material on black paper does require some getting used to. This is because most of us are accustomed to drawing with dark material on white or lightly colored paper. This thinking has engrained in us the need to add dark values and leave the lighter values. When we reverse this thinking by drawing with white material on black paper, our process is the opposite. Now, we must train our minds to deal with the lighter values and leave the darker values to the tone of the surface. This reversal can be challenging, but important in our development as artists. It forces us to recognize the importance of tints (lighter values) and their inherent relationships with shades (darker values). With practice, our understanding of value and how it is used to create drawings improves.
Drawing with white media on black paper can create stunning imagery and the drawing process itself can lead to improvement in your drawing ability.
So here's how we created our popcorn designs. I brought in a bag of popcorn I had popped at home.
Students choose 2-3 pieces and glue them to a small square of black paper.
Carefully observe and look at the popcorn from all angles before deciding how you want to draw them.
Because students are drawing in reverse, tell them to really examine where the
lightest or whitest areas are first.
My Grade 10 students did some practice sketches first to get used to drawing this way.
They could use either white conté or a white colored pencil.
(most students went with the 'easier to control' white pencil)
I'm not going to lie to you- many students struggled (aka: complained) with this part.
Some just 'got' it and it took others a while.
I encouraged them to simply practice and take their time until they felt comfortable.
I find some high school students want instant results and want to be able to draw
something perfectly the first time they try it, and tend to give up easily.
Anyway, once they are comfortable, they can do their good copy and voila, the
drawings look really cool and dramatic on the black paper.
Once they have their observational drawing complete, they need to look at the popcorn and try to see some shapes/objects, etc. in them. Similar to when you see things when looking at clouds.
Students were encouraged to include a setting. They used colored pencils for this step.
Here are some of the results. Ta da!