Castles and Dragons
Term: 1 Year: 2008
The aim of this unit was for the students to develop and use a range concepts, skills and ideas to create a thoughtfully
planned, produced and presented Dragon Drawing / Watercolour Painting.
Initially we explored and discussed stories and pictorial representations of Dragons throughout history and across
cultures. Contemporary ‘technology enhanced’ representations, such as those seen in computer games and
‘Deltoria Quest’ illustrations were also resourced.
Students then participated in a number of exploratory activities. Sound approaches to sketching and idea development
were demonstrated and practiced, and students were encouraged to explore, revise and extend ideas.
Throughout our eight week unit we:
Explored, discussed and practiced ‘textures’ evident in an illustration from the picture story book Brock
and the Dragon.
Discussed the importance of planning and ‘mapping out’ the drawing. On a photocopied dragon image, students
were required to locate and mark ‘the line of motion’ and circles for the head, shoulders and hips. They
then placed these main position markers onto another sheet of A4 paper, using them to guide a sketched copy image.
Students were encouraged to sketch ‘loosely’ and use lots of lines.
Explored ideas in teacher-prepared booklet showing alternatives for wings, horns, tails, talons etc. Students then
drew a variety of dragon poses, focussing on various ‘lines of motion’ and the size, shape and positioning
of the head, shoulders and hips. Once a basic dragon shape and pose had been decided, students transferred their
ideas to A3 sketch paper. To this students added a pencil border, and some part(s) of the dragon were expected to
extend beyond or wrap around this border.
Effective tracing skills were then demonstrated and students transferred their final illustration onto quality watercolour
paper. Waterproof markers were then used to define both major lines and details such as scales, feathers, shadows
Next we ‘had a break’ from sketching whilst the students were introduced to Koh-I-Noor Watercolour Discs,
(dry watercolour palettes). We explored the 24 assorted colours available and practiced effective techniques to apply
the paint and blend colours. (Although a ‘beautiful’ product, I avoided the ‘ultra bright’
colours as I considered them too intense for this project and my ‘inexperienced’ students). This trialling
of watercolour effects and techniques provided the students with valuable insights, enabling them to make informed
decisions about the ‘preferred look’ of their final product.
Students then began applying watercolour to their illustration, (using an additional smaller piece of the watercolour
paper as a ‘test page’ to practice colours, technique etc
Students then made judgements about how they would use the remainder of their page to best present their dragon.
Some decided to use a subtle colour wash, some decided to leave the background white and colour outside the border,
and some decided to create a detailed setting for their dragon.
Border lines were then realigned, made thicker or trimmed as necessary and, optional additional fine detail added
with fine black marker.
To round-off the unit, students recorded their experiences and feeling in a self-evaluation sheet.
The children and I were thrilled with the results and amazed by the quality and ‘variety of character’
portrayed in the final pieces of art.
Dingley Primary School
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