Popcorn Drawing — Observation & Imagination

Have you ever looked at a cloud and seen an ani­mal or some other ran­dom image?  Most every­one has used their imag­i­na­tion to “find” things in clouds, and pop­corn offers this same cre­ative expe­ri­ence!  This is a great les­son for 5th grade and up.  Make sure you cre­ate a sam­ple to illus­trate the steps… a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words here!  After doing this les­son, your stu­dents (and you!) will never look at a piece of pop­corn (or a bear sit­ting on a rock, wear­ing a red ban­dana!) the same way again!

  • 9x12 black con­struc­tion paper
  • pop­corn (at least 2 pieces per student)
  • white craft glue (Aleene’s Tacky Glue is my favorite)
  • white char­coal pen­cil or Pris­ma­color draw­ing pencil
  • Magic Rub eraser
  • 9x12 trac­ing paper
  • No.2 graphite pencil
  • fine point marker, any color except black (I like to use a col­ored “F” Sharpie or a Cray­ola water base marker.)
  • 9x12 white con­struc­tion paper
1. Pass out 2 (or more) pieces of pop­corn to each stu­dent.  Let them choose one to draw and one (or more) to eat!

2. Squirt a dime size blob of glue near the top of your 9x12 black paper. (I went around and did this as stu­dents were “exam­in­ing” their pop­corn for the most inter­est­ing side to draw!)  Place pop­corn on the glue.

3. Use a white pen­cil to draw the pop­corn (as large as pos­si­ble) below the pop­corn you glued to the paper.  Press harder on the light­est areas and less hard in the shad­owed areas. (It can be help­ful to make a value scale using a white pen­cil on black paper to prac­tice mak­ing a range of val­ues. Explain to stu­dents that this is the oppo­site of work­ing with a graphite pen­cil, where press­ing harder pro­duces a darker value. You may also need to review con­tour draw­ing prin­ci­ples if you haven’t done any obser­va­tion draw­ing in a while.) 

4. Then, lay trac­ing paper on top of your white on black draw­ing.  Use a col­ored marker to trace the out­side shape (con­tour) and any impor­tant lines on the inside.

5. Next, turn your trac­ing paper over to the back.  You’ll be able to see your col­ored marker lines through it.  Trace over the top of these lines with a reg­u­lar No.2 graphite pen­cil.  Press hard so your lines will be nice and dark.

6. Now, lay your trac­ing paper, pen­cil side down, on top of your white paper.  Trace over your marker lines using your No.2 pen­cil.  If you used a col­ored marker for step #4, it will be easy to see where you’ve traced and where you still need to!

7. Lift off the trac­ing paper and you’ll see a faint copy of your draw­ing on the white paper.  Turn your paper dif­fer­ent direc­tions and use your imag­i­na­tion to find an inter­est­ing image in your pop­corn, if you haven’t already!

8. Finally, use col­ored pen­cils to fin­ish your draw­ing, adding any details you need so your viewer can see what you saw in your popcorn!

What types of objects have you used to do observation-imagination drawings?

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4 Responses to Popcorn Drawing — Observation & Imagination

  1. Hope Hunter Knight July 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I’ve done a pop­corn draw­ing les­son where I put a small plate of pop­corn in the mid­dle of each work table and each stu­dent chooses one popped ker­nel to draw. After draw­ing the ker­nel sev­eral times from var­i­ous views, we toss our “pop­corn friends” back in the plate and I come around and mix the ker­nels back up. Then we see who can find their “friend”, and every­one always does! It’s amaz­ing how well you get to know some­thing once you’ve see it through drawing.

    • Nancy Scoble, Washington, NC September 19, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      I believe it.

  2. Art Project Girl July 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Hope that sounds so cool. Do you have it posted on your blog?

  3. TeachKidsArt July 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Great idea, Hope! I do that when I teach obser­va­tional draw­ing to my 3rd graders, only we use peanuts in the shell. They’re always amazed at how they know right away which one is theirs.… super fun!!

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