Lesson Title: Metamorphs
Students are asked to choose an animal they would like to transform into from an animal fact file. They are introduced to gesture drawing and are asked to help each other with transformation drawings by being models for each other. We discuss composition, and placement of figures on the page. The results from this lesson stand on their own without using the computer to further manipulate them. Students will be invited to share their art work in an on line art gallery.Students will scan their drawings onto a computer.

View how this lesson ties into the:
Creating and Performing Strand: Learning Standard 1.
Creating and Performing Strand: Learning Standard 2.
Thinking and Responding Strand: Learning Standard 3.
Thinking and Responding Strand: Learning Standard 4.
Grade Level: Grades 4-8
  1. Students will learn that drawings are developed using a variety of resources (life drawing, photo fact file, sketches in various stages of development, and the computer). They will learn to refine their ideas in the same way you would create a rough draft for a written paper.
  2. Students will have to think about composition, self image, sequence, distortion, transformation, fantasy, and figure/ground .
  3. The teacher will create and maintain a Website: display student artwork, titles and accompanying text.
This project takes four one and a half hour lessons.
Presentation/Discussion/Problem solving: There is a series of books called Animorphs that most elementary school children have read or are aware of. These books along with other stories of transformation (The Ugly Duckling, and Dwarf Long Nose)are what I initially present to the children. We discuss how most of the transformations also incorporate a change in gesture. If someone is transforming into an animal, bird or insect who's gesture is exspansive like a bird in flight I suggest they begin their transformation from the opposite extreme possibly sitting crosslegged. Students are then introduced to gesture drawing. We discuss the axis in the hips and shoulders, they are reminded of how arms connect to the shoulders and that the legs extend from the hips. We each take turns posing for each other. As the students pose I point out the axis to the students. We also discuss how some poses are hard to hold. Students are asked to decide on how many poses they will need to create a transformation. We discuss how the patterns or texture of the animal they have chosen can be incorporated into the clothing of the figure and add to the visual interest of the composition. Students then break into groups and begin. Once the initial drawings are created students will need a second motivational session for manipulating their images further on the computer. Changes in scale, pattern, texture, composition and background can all be rethought at this point.
18 x 24 sheets of white paper, newsprint for sketches, drawing pencils, colored pencils, erasers, computer, scanner.

The first lesson introduces the concept and gesture drawing. In the second lesson students work together to develop three or four transitional gestures. The third lesson concentrates on finishing drawings . During the fourth lesson images are scanned on a computer for final manipulaion.

Ongoing - Students could write stories based on illustrations. Further transformations could be explored on the computer using body parts or objects.>
Links, Metamorphs books and animal fact file for students to use as visual resources. Links to scanned images of animals and artists.

This lesson can be adapted to single or multi computer classrooms. Students can work in pairs or on their own.
Special Considerations:
This site will build and expand as classrooms participate. Teachers and students will be able to update and add to the site.

Author: I look forward to hearing from other art teachers interested in developng this project.