Greek / Roman Vases or Medieval Windows
Etchings with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes: .................................................... ....................................................
Color: Understand that color can be transparent and opaque
  Understand that color schemes can be analogous, monochromatic, and complementary
Design: Realize that contrast in value causes eye movement over a picture
Line: Understand that line is used to represent the world around us
Space: Appreciate that positive and negative space is used to enhance esthetics
Materials: 25 pencils
  25 art erasers
  25 black markers
50 sheets 9" x 14" drawing paper
  multiple sheets of newsprint
  large assortment of cray pas
  1 can black acrylic base paint
  2 large number 10 size brushes
  multiple shapes and sizes of etching tools
  black poster board for mounting
Vocabulary: Transparent, Opaque, Analogous, Monochromatic, Complementary Colors, Value Line, Positive and Negative Space
This project is flexible, as I stated before. I'll give the instructions for Medieval windows, but you can alter it to suit the needs of your own integration.

I start with a presentation of different kinds of stained glass windows. Many are round while others are arched. Some windows are triptychs. Others are divided into many sections and students may choose to select a section of a larger window as seen above. At this point, the students have homework. They need to research and find a stained glass window that interests them. (Helpful hint: It's alway wise if they bring in a selection of print outs or photocopies. I can guide them with which designs might have more success and they can help students who don't come prepared. If you plan to do vases instead, look for the shape of a vase that you like. You're going to draw half of it and then reproduce a symmetrical match just as you could with stained glass windows.)

Whatever window selected, the next step is to draw half of the window on newsprint. Since the windows are symmetrical, they will draw one half of the window and then flip the drawing and trace the other half. This way, the symmetry will really be a mirror match.

The sketch on the newsprint needs to be 6 inches wide. That way when the art is flipped, the complete project will be 12 inches wide. The height depends on the window selected. Many pieces may also be 12 inches tall, but others may be much taller.

Use "Homemade Carbon Paper" to make a complete window. Student must outline the pencil drawing of half the window with a fat black marker (a Sharpie works great!). The ink bleeds through the paper and students should be able to easily outline the reverse side of the window shape as well with the marker.

Use this "Homemade Carbon Paper" to trace both sides of the symmetrical window on to the final paper. Never heard of "Homemade Carbon Paper"? Well, it is a great little trick. Using soft leaded pencils, color the back of the half window shape. You don't have to color the whole page. You just color the lines of the actual window shape. Next, place the sketch on top of the final drawing paper. Tape it in place on the left and right with little pieces of masking tape. It's not difficult to transfer the design to the drawing paper. When you trace on top of the sketch, the pencil lead on the back of the page will transfer the art to the final paper. You don't need to push hard. When one half of the window is sketched, turn the sketch over. Color the reverse side of the window outline with a soft lead pencil and repeat the process.

Cut out the newly designed and symmetrical window. Trace it on to another page in the workbook. (The cut out vase will be the actual final piece. The traced one will be the sketch to guide them.)

After the window is traced into the workbook (or sketch paper if you have no workbook), color the cut out window heavily with cray pas using whatever colors the students prefer. Students need to write their name on the back of the colored paper and then paint over the window with a solid medium coating of the black acrylic paint. You don't want the paint so thin that you can see the colors underneath. You don't want the paint so thick you can't etch through it. Find the middle ground.

Students MUST lift the painted window off the background paper ten minutes after drying has begun to prevent sticking to the paper.

While the final window dries, students sketch what goes on the window. It must be drawn in pencil and then colored with black marker so it is clearly evident which sections will be in solid black. The more color on the window, the better the effect.

Students transfer their sketch to the blackened window using the homemade carbon paper method once again. Of course, this time, they will need to color the entire back of their sketch. Then, using whatever tool works best for them, (and you need a variety of etching tools) they etch off their design. In addition, they should etch all around the sides of the window or it won't show up against the black mounting poster board. Students should also etch their names on their window.

Helpful hint: Some times while etching, the wrong thing comes off. When that happens, I just have the students touch up the project with black acrylic paint.

Another Helpful hint: As I said, this lesson could be with Greek and Roman vases. If I do this, when the work is finished, I mount the art on heavy, black, horizontal sheets of poster board. Then, I fold the sides to the back and staple them. The middle section with the art is curved to give the art a rounded, three-dimentional effect. If you looked down on the art from above, it would look like a half circle.

One more Helpful hint: The more color the better on the final piece. If you compare the vase at the top of the page to the window, you'll (hopefully) see that the window is brighter and more attractive. The vase is just too dark.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.