Grade 4 Portfolios — “Ish” Drawings

There are lots of won­der­ful children’s books avail­able today, but “Ish” by Peter Reynolds stands out as one of my all-time favorites. This is a story that every­one (kids and adults!) can relate to.… in fact, it’s so influ­en­tial that I can lit­er­ally see a “before and after” effect each time I read it to my stu­dents. This year, “Ish” is the inspi­ra­tion for my 4th grade port­fo­lio project.

“Ish” is the story of a boy who loves to draw until some­one makes fun of one of his draw­ings. He then becomes self-critical and loses the joy he once had — until he learns that a draw­ing of a vase doesn’t have to look exactly like a vase.… just “vase-ish”. With this real­iza­tion, a whole new world opens up to him and he redis­cov­ers the joy­ful free­dom of self-expression. An “ish” project is a great way to start the school year for any grade, just to put stu­dents in the right frame of mind. I per­son­ally need to be reminded of this at least once a year!

1. Use the pink eraser on the end of your pen­cil to draw a line hor­i­zon­tally across the mid­dle of your port­fo­lio.
2. Above this line, use a black UF Sharpie to draw four rec­tan­gles to rep­re­sent four sheets of paper. Do the same below the line, leav­ing room below each “piece of paper” for the title of your draw­ing. Do not use a ruler to draw these.… just make them “piece of paper-ish”! To keep your draw­ing nice and loose, you can use sketchy lines and go around your shape a cou­ple of times.
3. Next, use black water­color (diluted to a nice gray) to paint a “shadow” below and to one side of each paper. Keep your shad­ows con­sis­tent in terms of which side they are on, so that they will look “shadow-ish”.
4. Now do a quick, sketchy “ish” draw­ing in each of the rec­tan­gles and title each one below it.
5. Finally, use water­color to add a quick “splash of color” to your draw­ings. Don’t try to be detailed about it.… you don’t even need to stay inside the lines. Just keep it loose and simple!

Hav­ing “ish” draw­ings on the front of your port­fo­lio will help you remem­ber to keep your draw­ings “ish” all year long!

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7 Responses to Grade 4 Portfolios — “Ish” Drawings

  1. Karen September 17, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    …just dis­cov­ered ur blog…love it!I’m try­ing to learn to draw and paint and this is great inspi­ra­tion! Thanks!

  2. Gretchen Bjornson ART September 17, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    What a great exer­cise for artists of any age and experience.

  3. TeachKidsArt September 17, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Yes, Gretchen… I need to read this every year for myself, as well as for my students!! ;)

  4. Janie B September 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I love this book, too. My first year of teach­ing art, I read it to ALL 16 of my classes. Now I just read it to the incom­ing 3rd-graders. I think the mes­sage is very nec­es­sary and influential.

  5. Hallie September 29, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    This is great!! Ish is my favorite book!! What an awe­some idea :) Love the North Star idea too!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. World Read Aloud Day | TeachKidsArt - March 2, 2014

    […] You can read more about “think­ing Ish-ly” and find one of my lessons based on “Ish” here. This clas­sic story belongs in everyone’s book col­lec­tion. And if you want to go all out […]

  2. Read Aloud and Respond with Art! | TeachKidsArt - March 2, 2014

    […] You can read more about “think­ing Ish-ly” and find one of my lessons based on “Ish” here. This clas­sic story belongs in everyone’s book col­lec­tion. And if you want to go all out […]

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Grade 4 Portfolios — “Ish” Drawings

There are lots of won­der­ful children’s books avail­able today, but “Ish” by Peter Reynolds stands out as one of my all-time favorites. This is a story that every­one (kids and adults!) can relate to.… in fact, it’s so influ­en­tial that I can lit­er­ally see a “before and after” effect each time I read it to my stu­dents. This year, “Ish” is the inspi­ra­tion for my 4th grade port­fo­lio project.

“Ish” is the story of a boy who loves to draw until some­one makes fun of one of his draw­ings. He then becomes self-critical and loses the joy he once had — until he learns that a draw­ing of a vase doesn’t have to look exactly like a vase.… just “vase-ish”. With this real­iza­tion, a whole new world opens up to him and he redis­cov­ers the joy­ful free­dom of self-expression. An “ish” project is a great way to start the school year for any grade, just to put stu­dents in the right frame of mind. I per­son­ally need to be reminded of this at least once a year!

1. Use the pink eraser on the end of your pen­cil to draw a line hor­i­zon­tally across the mid­dle of your port­fo­lio.
2. Above this line, use a black UF Sharpie to draw four rec­tan­gles to rep­re­sent four sheets of paper. Do the same below the line, leav­ing room below each “piece of paper” for the title of your draw­ing. Do not use a ruler to draw these.… just make them “piece of paper-ish”! To keep your draw­ing nice and loose, you can use sketchy lines and go around your shape a cou­ple of times.
3. Next, use black water­color (diluted to a nice gray) to paint a “shadow” below and to one side of each paper. Keep your shad­ows con­sis­tent in terms of which side they are on, so that they will look “shadow-ish”.
4. Now do a quick, sketchy “ish” draw­ing in each of the rec­tan­gles and title each one below it.
5. Finally, use water­color to add a quick “splash of color” to your draw­ings. Don’t try to be detailed about it.… you don’t even need to stay inside the lines. Just keep it loose and simple!

Hav­ing “ish” draw­ings on the front of your port­fo­lio will help you remem­ber to keep your draw­ings “ish” all year long!

Subscribe & Connect

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

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One Response to Grade 4 Portfolios — “Ish” Drawings

  1. Karen September 17, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    …just dis­cov­ered ur blog…love it!I’m try­ing to learn to draw and paint and this is great inspi­ra­tion! Thanks!

  2. Gretchen Bjornson ART September 17, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    What a great exer­cise for artists of any age and experience.

  3. TeachKidsArt September 17, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Yes, Gretchen… I need to read this every year for myself, as well as for my students!! ;)

  4. Janie B September 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I love this book, too. My first year of teach­ing art, I read it to ALL 16 of my classes. Now I just read it to the incom­ing 3rd-graders. I think the mes­sage is very nec­es­sary and influential.

  5. Hallie September 29, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    This is great!! Ish is my favorite book!! What an awe­some idea :) Love the North Star idea too!!

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