Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chinese Dragons- Oil Pastel and Watercolors

This is an example of an oil pastel and water color wash project that I do based on dragons. This lesson integrates with our 6th grade curriculum.

A comparison

I start off this lesson by comparing western dragons (symbols of warlike evil) to Eastern dragons (symbols of good fortune.) Here is my Prezi presentation that I show my students.

Symbol of Good Fortune

Next we talk more specifically about the Chinese dragon and its deep roots in the Chinese cultures. 

I discuss how the dragon is symbolic of the Emperor's imperial power and strength. I also get into how the Chinese peoples believe that the dragon is able to overcome obstacles until he brings success. The dragon is also viewed as benevolent giver of blessings and will bring rain to their crops. 

At the end of the discussion it is also fun to have the students guess the 9 animals that make up the Chinese dragon. The dragon is a combination of a- deer, camel, snake, hawk, tiger, cow, frog, carp and rabbit.

I let the students create their own dragon using  a combination of body parts from four animals of their choice.The students also have to add at least two textures to the dragon. Lastly, they must have a cool/warm background painted with the water colors. Adding the pearl is there choice, it's not required. A lot of students do add it though. Also, some students like to name their dragons combining the names of the 4 animals they chose. They come up with some very funny sounding names.

Extra Credit

I try to have extra credit options to the projects I do. There are always students who like to go above and beyond what is required. Here's how it's available with this project:

The students can combine more than 4 different animal body parts. Some will make their dragons out of 5 or more combinations of animals. 

They can also add more than two textures to the dragon.

What do you think about this project? Would it work in your art class? Let me know, I'd love to hear.

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