One of my favorite Art 1 projects is the Radial Design Color Wheel. I tweak it every year, but I have to say starting the year with a project that requires the students to completely cover their hard work with a layer of black paint and to trust the process is a pretty good primer for the rest of the year!
This project is a great first project because it is cheap, relatively easy and looks great when finished... even if it is done incorrectly!
The first step is to draw a circle and divide it into 12 parts. I have little compasses for the students to use. This is an eye-opening adventure in and of itself!
If you aren't sure how to get students to divide their circle into 12 equal parts, start with dividing the circle in half. Then using the dot that was made to create the circle, line up a protractor and mark around the circle at the 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150. Next rotate the circle and mark the other half. Use a straight edge to join the marks across the circle.
Next design ONE wedge of the circle. I require my students to have their pattern touch the sides in at least 3 places. This helps when trying to line up the pattern later.
Some students will create an incredibly ornate and intricate pattern. Try to get them NOT to do that!!! If they are determined to create a pattern with tiny details, explain to them that they will have to use an alternate media to create their product, and while that is fine, it will be much harder...
Once the pattern is created, have the students use a piece of tracing paper and copy the pattern.
My students then are given a piece of carbon paper. I have a few boxes of leftover typewriter carbon paper and I call this "magic paper" as students have never seen it and think it is super cool. I save this for projects like this because the traditional coloring on the backside of the tracing paper doesn't work as we use BOTH sides of the transfer paper!
The key to a successful transfer pattern is that you have to flip the design back and forth with each wedge. This allows the pattern to mirror itself and it looks better than one that is not.
FYI, yes I do have some students create their own pattern completely without tracing, but since this is the first project Art 1, I try to keep it relatively stress free.
Once the circle is complete, I have students write down the colors of the wheel above each wedge. While I have sample color wheels for students to look at, there are ALWAYS some that get the order wrong. Having them write them down first is a good preventative step.
And then it is time to color. My go to media for this project is oil pastels. Oil pastels are easy to use, forgiving and inexpensive.
However, if students have created too detailed of a project, they have to use colored pencils instead. With colored pencils, students have to put down 7 or 8 layers of color to build up enough wax for the resist.
The wheel below has some sections that are black. This was done to cover an accident where the student (my youngest daughter who was helping me make the sample) colored the wrong section and we had to cover it in black.
Using the black oil pastel is a choice. You can look at my finished sample to see if you want to have your students use black or not.
I don't have mine use black.. unless they have superfine details that they want to add or they have to cover a mistake.
Take a glob of black acrylic paint and cover the entire page.
This absolutely horrifies the students.
As soon as it is covered in black, rinse the entire page off. CAREFULLY!!
Once clean, let it drip dry a minute over the sink and then lay flat to dry on the drying rack.
Once dry, you have a really cool piece of artwork.
Student samples will be posted in a few days.