Please go in your kitchen and find an egg. It shouldn’t be hard to find. I guess you will just get one out of your fridge, if you don’t have chickens in your backyard. Do you have a cloth napkin or a tea towel you can place the egg on? Arrange the fabric and place your egg on it.
Do you have paper and a pencil? You will also need a thick black magic marker and a pair of scissors.
I like to use graphite sticks. They are the pencil without the wood. Using a different medium gets your mind away from the usual paths that your hand expects. It would be like taking a different path on your daily walk. When you walk a new way, it all seems new, you notice more.
But a good old Dixon Ticonderoga 2HB will work as well. Any piece of paper, even the back of an envelope.
I ask the class what I am holding. They yell, “An egg.”
Each child is given one cloth napkin and one egg to draw. Why an egg? It is an object they are familiar with. I wanted them to take something they see every day and look at it in a new way. I want the students to notice details, texture, how an object feels. The eggs are right out of the carton. I don’t hard boil them.
Yesterday my daughter was spinning an egg to see if it was hard-boiled. It fell on the floor and broke open. We photographed it and decided that dropping an egg was the best way to test if it was hard-boiled. Martha, our dog, helped us clean up the floor.
I draw the outline of the egg with a thick bold line with a magic marker and then I cut out the oval shape, on the outside of the line and hold it up to show them the paper egg beside the real egg. I thought about drawing and cutting out the oval shape at home but it is more visual to do it in front of them. Performance egg art with scissors. The shape I draw is close in size to a real egg.
Take a moment now and draw the outline of your egg with a thick black magic marker, and then cut it out.
Hold your paper egg and your real egg in your hand, “What do you see?”
Yes, that’s right, one egg is flat, two dimensional, and the other one is three dimensional.
Place your egg back on your napkin or tea towel. Now turn off the overhead lights where you are sitting, and just have one light source. Window light will give you a nice soft glow. Pick up your pencil and draw your egg. Get messy. Use your fingers to blend the graphite to show the shadows on your egg. Look at your egg, can you see the shadow under it? Look closely at the shape, where it sits on the fabric. Draw the egg as big as you want, anywhere on the page; coming off of the page, or in the center.
Now after you have drawn your egg, sign and date it and tape it to your fridge. When you walk past your fridge or when you open the door to get a glass of milk, look at your drawing and say to yourself. “I can draw.” and smile.
Please send me photographs of your egg drawings.