Please go in your kitchen and find an egg. It shouldn’t be hard to find. I guess you will just get one out of your fridge, if you don’t have chickens in your backyard. Do you have a cloth napkin or a tea towel you can place the egg on? Arrange the fabric and place your egg on it.
Do you have paper and a pencil? You will also need a thick black magic marker and a pair of scissors.
I like to use graphite sticks. They are the pencil without the wood. Using a different medium gets your mind away from the usual paths that your hand expects. It would be like taking a different path on your daily walk. When you walk a new way, it all seems new, you notice more.
But a good old Dixon Ticonderoga 2HB will work as well. A soft lead is best. Any piece of paper, even the back of an envelope.
When I taught “Drawing Heroes and Villains, Pigs and Wolves. Illustrating Comic Books 4th and 5th grade,” I asked the class, “What am I holding?”
They yelled, “An egg.”
Each child was given one cloth napkin and one egg to draw.
Why an egg? It is an object they are familiar with. I wanted them to take something they see every day and look at it in a new way. I wanted the students to notice details, texture, how an object feels. The eggs are right out of the carton. I don’t hard boil them.
Yesterday my daughter was spinning an egg to see if it was hard-boiled. It fell on the floor and cracked open. We photographed it and decided that dropping an egg was the best way to test if it was hard-boiled. Martha, our dog, helped us clean up the floor.
I drew the outline of the egg with a thick bold line with a magic marker and then I cut out the oval shape, on the outside of the line. I held the cut out oval shape, the paper egg, next to the real egg.
I thought about drawing and cutting out the oval shape at home but it was more visual to do it in front of them. Performance egg art with scissors. The shape I drew is close in size to a real egg.
Take a moment now and draw the outline of your egg with a thick black magic marker, and then cut it out.
Hold your paper egg and your real egg in your hand, “What do you see?”
Yes, that’s right, one egg is flat, two-dimensional, and the other one is three-dimensional.
Place your egg back on your napkin or tea towel. Now turn off the overhead lights where you are sitting, and just have one light source. Window light will give you a nice soft glow. A table lamp will give you deeper shadows.
Pick up your pencil and draw your egg. Get messy. Use your fingers to blend the graphite to show the shadows on your egg. Look at your egg, can you see the shadow under it? Look closely at the shape, where it sits on the fabric. Draw the egg as big as you want, anywhere on the page; coming off of the page, or in the center.
Now after you have drawn your egg, sign and date it and tape it to your fridge. When you walk past your fridge or when you open the door to get a glass of milk, look at your drawing and say to yourself. “I can draw.” and smile.
Did you wonder why I didn’t draw an egg and show you my drawing?
“Hey, Hodges where is your egg drawing?”
I want you to discover your egg, and not copy mine. When I taught the drawing class, I picked up one students work and held it up for the class to see. As I was about to pick it up my brain was yelling at me, “Don’t pick it up! Don’t single out one student’s work!”
We had been drawing animals from reference. I told the class they could draw the whole animal or just part of it. One student had drawn the eye. I held the drawing of the eye up for the class to see, “Here is an example of drawing a part of the animal.” Within seconds, four students who had been drawing an entire animal from reference turned over their paper and started to draw the exact same drawing of the eye.
Did you they want me, the teacher, to notice them? Did you think what they were drawing wasn’t good?
I don’t know what they thought. I do know they stopped what they were doing and copied the drawing I held up. I didn’t single out a student’s work again. All students who wanted to were invited to the front of the room to talk about what they had drawn.
Please send me photographs of your egg drawings. I would love to see them.
Did your teacher ever hold up your work in art class? Did your teacher tell you, “You can’t draw?”
Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.