Twelve-step color wheels are a part of the fifth grade curriculum, but how boring is a circle? I plan to do portraits with them later in the year, so I went ahead and started introducing realistic facial features. I showed them a YouTube video of a super-realistic drawing. It was a fast-forwarded version with captions. It blew their minds to say the least. They were adamant that they could never draw something like that, but I think they surprised themselves!
We started out by talking about the different parts of an eye and all the wrong ways to draw it. I'm slowly trying to remove all the cartoony symbols we pick up early on. I emphasized over and over that eyelashes do not shoot straight out of eyeballs like arrows, and eyes are not shaped like perfect footballs.
Inside the iris of the eye is where we created our color wheel. Our fifth graders are in the midst of fractions in math, so I tried to be math-minded when teaching them how to divide their circle into twelfths. I had them outline everything in black colored pencil, then we tackled the coloring. I reviewed primary and secondary colors, then introduced tertiary colors.
I told them several times that I better not see violet and orange next to each other (still saw it...) or red and green... I suggested they start with yellow, skip 3 spaces, blue, skip 3 spaces, red. Then, fill in the secondary colors between each primary. Lastly, layer each primary and its neighboring secondary. It seems pretty straight-forward to copy the color wheel we have on our wall, but you would be surprised. One of the biggest challenges I've uncovered with elementary schoolers is getting them to follow specific directions. I usually make it a point to get all of their eyes and repeat things one more time than I think is necessary. Then I ask several of them to repeat the directions back to me. Sometimes it's overkill, but most of the time it's completely necessary!
I was so impressed with our results, though! I encouraged them to shade each slice of their iris to add a cool effect. Hopefully this will be a good stepping stone for when we draw an entire face.