honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Anatomy and Gesture: Narrative project

I developed a popular homework project for my Anatomy and Gesture students.  The homework requires students create an ongoing visual story starting with week 1, Chapter 1 in the textbook and going through 11 weeks and all chapters of the text until the final. 

Week 2 meeting on Thursday the first panel was due.  The assignment is to draw the main character of the story in a gesture to indicate the character's personality or history with a background to set the scene of the story.  After the first introductory panel, 2 panels per week are due. The weekly panels must incorporate the topics covered in the text AND move the story forward.  The panels are to be in  the roughing in storyboarding state of development, however several students turned in highly finished drawings.  I call the project the Story of You, but students can give their story any title.  The introductory panels for the Story of You brought some good ideas to the table and set the class on an interesting path for using gesture as narrative.

The Monkey King - with Chinese martial arts gestures and weapons
Ring of Women Assassins - guns, girls and bioweapons
Boy on Imaginary Space Adventures - a young boy transforms everyday objects into space gear and goes on intergalactic adventures
Western - stark black and white western story of of square-jawed hero in a white cowboy hat
Zombie Survivor - Student will be chased by zombies that will serve as an opportunity to show off anatomy knowledge

This week the model didn't show up for class so the class posed for each other.  I invite the students to direct the model to do gestures that fit into their stories.  They directed each other into poses with our skeleton which fit well for the zombie and the assassins stories.

Then we did interpretive critiques.
 At the end of class students tape their best drawing of the day to the wall. Each student critiques the drawing next to her or his drawing.
I use a talking stick type approach by giving the students a page with a set of questions on it that they use to critique each others work.  I have one piece of paper with the questions on it and the students hand the questions to each other as they finish their critique. All students critique and receive critique and all get an A in participation for the day.  Here is the set of questions from yesterday.
  1. A title for this drawing is _____________________
  2. What story is suggested by the drawing? (Interpretation)
  3. What about the gestures, placement of elements, or the background makes you think of that story? (Analysis)
  4. One idea I’d steal from this drawing is ____________________ (Evaluation - what about this drawing is valuable to my work?)
This critique style really gives everyone a chance to look closely at the drawings of their peers and figure out what contributes to a visual narrative.  Using the same set of questions helps students build observational skills and critical vocabulary.

Overall I'm happy with this class of mature and motivated students.  Most of the students were in my Anatomy class last term so I really wanted this term to be very different. My students are responding to the more challenging tasks of creating linked ideas for a whole semester by producing dramatic gestural work.  I'm pleased with the variety of ideas and students' willingness to collaborate and share ideas on the Story of You project.

Tags: critique, life drawing, teaching

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