I just recently got a new Intro to Art class, consisting of 6th and 7th grade students. With most of my intro classes, I start with the basics. You really can’t get anymore basic than lines and shapes. Zentangles have always been a fun foundational project to teach students. I always find that at first, students are afraid to take creative risks. The cool thing about Zentangles are that it allows students to think creativity, to begin drawing, to consider space and composition, yet they don’t get very intimidated.
I like to incorporate triptychs into my Zentangle lesson because it puts an art history twist on the lesson. For these students, I don’t delve too far into the Art History of Triptychs and how they evolved throughout various churches, but depending on what grade level you teach, you could definitely spend a good amount of time teaching students about triptychs. This always ties in great with learning composition! I was able to teach students how they can create drawings that go off the page, that continue onto a new page, and that all tie together even if they are not on the same paper.
For this project, I find it is helpful to spend some time having students practice different Zentangle lines and shapes. I also spend time focusing on Representational Vs. Non Representational art. I had students sketch two ideas, one of each. I found that at first students wanted to do non representational but once they sketched their representational that they quickly changed their mind. The majority of my students ended up going with their Representational drawing.
The thing I like most about this lesson is that there are so many ways to adapt it to better fit the needs of your students. As mentioned, these are just some of the things I incorporated into the lesson:
Zentangle Art Style
History of Triptychs
Representational Vs. Non Representational Art
Here are some fun examples that my students came up with! I already feel that they are loosened up in their drawing abilities!