Proportion of the Human Form

Torn paper pictures showing the human form.

Summary:

Students will appreciate the length and width of the human form as they create human figures in motion using torn paper.

What You Need:

  • Art mannequins, if possible (see below)
  • Scrap paper or paper cut into credit card sizes
  • 8 1/2″ x 11″ construction paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Glittery, metallic papers
  • Wallpaper sample books, if possible

What You Do:

  1. Students study wooden Mannequin(s) as supplies are handed out.
  2. Teacher instructs students to: *stretch their arms, *bend the arm, at the elbow, *stretch the leg, *bend at the knee, *bend at the waist
  3. Acknowledge the various shapes of students (and teacher) in their classroom. *tall or short waisted students, *long legs ~ short legs, *cropped hair ~ streaming hair
  4. Demonstrate tearing the small pieces of paper into smaller pieces as well as how to use the glue stick.
  5. Explain to the students that they will be creating human figures on the paper using torn pieces of paper.Looking at a wooden mannequin to study the human form.
  6. Demonstrate how to build a human figure on the 8 1/2″ x 11″ construction paper. Start with the head. Discuss the size, position, and shape of the head. Locating the head in the upper third of the page may indicate a body leaping across a stage or jumping on a trampoline.
  7. Students begin to assemble their own figures by tearing paper in small, half inch pieces.
  8. Students then begin to adhere the small colored pieces of paper to the larger 8 1/2″ x 11″ construction paper, as they construct a human figure.
  9. Instruct students to keep adding small pieces of paper allow to amend the shape as it develops.

Notes from the Author

  • NO PENCIL SKETCHING ALLOWED in this exercise.
  • Try to discourage detailing the eyes and mouth. The lesson is on proportion. I have found that the student suffers time and great disappointment for it is much harder to tear paper to fit into the rendered oval of a head or the muscled length of a leg.
  • I allowed four, 40 minute sessions for the activity.
  • Students who worked their theme speedily were encouraged to develop a foreground, a sky area, or even accompanying figures or animals.
  • The last day, special glittery papers were provided to detail their work.
  • Mention the maxim, ‘Less is More’. (A spray of perfume is better than pouring a bottle over my head!)

Student Work:

Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form.

Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form. Torn paper pictures showing the human form.

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