We have a cluster of small artworks featuring Zebras on our sunroom wall. I had been thinking about fresh art ideas when I re-noticed them. I have been trying a number of ideas based on silhouettes lately and suddenly I saw yet another possibility – I decided to ask my students to “zebrafy” a chosen silhouette.
To “zebrafy”, I explained to the mildly bemused students, is to give any silhouette you choose the characteristic black and white stripes of a Zebra, and to make the white stripes disappear into the background or surrounding negative space. These are the impressive results of the first lesson with a year 6 class. I was excited by their responses and am confident I can better deliver the lesson next time, having ironed out a few kinks with this inaugural zebrafying.
Once the students had a silhouette in mind they did some practice sketching before repeating their favourite outline in a light lead pencil on their art paper. It was to be large on the page and not overly intricate. Next they added their planned zebra stripes, still in lead pencil. To finish they painted in every second stripe black, and once dry erased any visible pencil lines (ie at the top and bottom of all white stripes). Hence the "white" stripes are just paper white rather than painted white.
Obviously it depends on the shape of the individual silhouette, but following are a few things I'll remember to make clear in future. Both the outside edge stripes need to be black and if there are any sharp corners or curves they will need to "happen" in a black stripe to prevent them disappearing from view. And to make sure an object doesn't get lost in the negative space behind I think it would be helpful to make the black stripes a little thicker than the white ones.
An eclectic collection of zebrafied silhouettes from radioactive warning signs to peace signs, animals to automobiles, hands, robots, guitars, skulls and freshly bitten ice-creams.