Tag Archives: exemplar

Holey Moley


I created an exemplar for my S1’s Fanelli/mental health unit. It focused on the idea of taking something bad and turning it into a good thing. Quite a hard concept for S1 pupils to digest, though I think it opened up the ideas for them to be able to conceive their own work. We discussed looks and how their lives were much more focused on image and status through social profiles and networking. We also discussed how bad moments can linger and stay with us, but if you create an artwork about it, it can sometimes help deal with the situation.

My example was focused on my obsession with being too moley. I explained that I hated my skin for being too moley, but that I also love the cosmos. I explained that one day I was looking at my moles and hating them, then spotted that some of them looked exactly like the Big Dipper and other constellations. When I discovered this, I wasn’t upset about my moles anymore.

Art can be an outlet to help us deal with tragic, stressful or embarrassing times in our life. It can help us see the beauty in all moments and things by addressing them with skill and visual beauty.

This unit and exemplar were extremely successful and helped my pupils not only deal with such a moment themselves, but also let them create a beautiful, skilful piece of art. If you are a teacher, it’s worth purchasing a Fanelli book, some pattern and graph paper and giving it a go yourself.

It Figures…

My friend and colleague, Miss McInnes (OLSP) has sketched this little masterpiece below. We are putting together examples of units for the new National 4 and 5 qualifications. Miss McInnes is working on a figurative unit to show pupils how they would tackle the two sheets and ‘added value’ final piece on that theme. This is a great piece of observation pencil work, it has taken her a few hours to get this far, though it’s definitely worth it.

Like Chalk And Charcoal



I created this exemplar for S4’s introduction to Chalk and Charcoal techniques. The exemplar contains how to layout your drawing in charcoal (either compacted or vine), as well as the three main techniques of applying pastels; Scribbling, Smudging and Dashing. I didn’t use Scubbing, because I hate the technique and think that it ruins work rather than adds to it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, why don’t you search ‘charcoal techniques’ on youtube.

WWII Animation Exemplar


Animation, although difficult to introduce and needing lots of time to complete, can be very successful if given the chance. It allows understanding of materials, of composition, of movement and team working,  that other units cannot provide. Like all introductions to group design, it should be explored with brainstorming, mind mapping and exchanging ideas.


After the brainstorming, an idea is decided upon, then storyboards and character development is explored.


When the characters are developed, they can be made in the chosen material, scenery needs to be created and any effects that will add to the atmosphere and the feeling of the short film. After all that and 30 mins of animation, I ended up with this:

As you can see, it’s a small input to what was technically 3 hours work, though now that the elements have been made, it should be easy to carry on and finalise. This is exactly how the unit will work in class, the first few sessions will be terrible and stressful, though after pupils have their ideas and animating elements, you’ll find that you are no longer needed. You can just stand back, give some advice and admire your pupils’ great work.

Capturing Colour

showoffOne of the toughest things to do with colouring pencil is actually get a good colour match to whatever you are drawing. This is usually down to having limited pencils. You could have a set of eight or a set of twenty four, either way, your pencil will never truly match the colour you need. There are several tricks of the trade that could help you achieve better successes with you colouring… view and read on.

There are a few rules you should follow when working with Colour pencils:

  1. Work on a coloured paper, preferably a smooth thick card (brown, blue or green).
  2. Draw guide lines and lay out in white, while you’re doing that you should white in any highlights.
  3. Build your colour up in layers, always have at least three different colour pencils to hand. Swap and alternate between them.
  4. Try to avoid using black, darken reds with greens which gives a warm shaded tone and use brown on blues to get a natural grey.
  5. Work on the colour until it forms a marble-esque texture. It should be smooth to the touch and feel a little like a pebble.
  6. Tone is the key. Never just colour flat shapes. Pure coloured shapes will flatten your drawing.
  7. Spend time on it. Observe. Work on it until your finished. If you let it sit, you’ll never finish it.

Still Life Drawing with an HB pencil.


There are 3 things that are important when you draw a line drawing in pencil.

1. The thickness of line (Use thicker lines to define the edges of objects or to draw the viewers attention to a curve)

2. The shape of objects (Use simple shapes to layout your drawing before applying detail. Be aware of shape sizes and positions to each other)

3. Detail (Lots of focus on detail and tone. Little lines and circles to show rough surfaces, contrasting tones to show shadow and relations of objects)

As all my pupils know, drawing is actually around 90% looking and 10% mark making. If you don’t look properly at what you’re drawing, you’re not going to draw it well. There are no ‘bad drawers’, only ‘bad lookers’ or ‘bad observers’.

Below you will see the steps I took to create an exemplar for my S3 still life classes. Each photo was taken every 10 minutes.