ReflectionsPrimary sources needed
animal model toys for observation drawing in art rooms

Primary sources needed

There is an unanimous demand for relevant primary sources on every observational drawing or modelling task in visual art in secondary schools, but few art rooms would have a well thought selection of primary sources inspired from nature that would enhance the student’s observational drawing skills or modelling skills for realistic outputs.

When I was planning the theme Animal Portraits for a first year group I needed realistic animal models. Luckily my co-teacher had a bag of them she collected for her children. The benefits of having those animal models were visible with each class. Not only that I could easily plan my lessons, but I could see their skills evolving from the beginning of the module towards the exam.

It would be great if schools would invest in representational models such as animals, insects, birds, sealife, figure poses, etc Also having a stash for ‘just in case’ would be very useful. ‘Just in case’ meaning that many times students fail to bring primary objects as requested and for a theme such as ‘Things I like’ they go for the first thing they can grab from inside their backpacks, usually these objects being headphones, lip balm, etc. The same student might love horses or have pets they would love to draw or model but wouldn’t have the resources to do so.

I found that models of insects help students to understand the Art Elements because of their basic construction in shape. Animal models help them relate with their own pets and personalise stories on the observed choices. Having relevant primary sources would support the teacher’s theme planning and preparation for the whole class, opening possibilities to orientate pupils from products to natural representations or more anatomical observations, to plan for peer and group activities, to plan activities that transfer real life experiences through representation.

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