Well here goes…my first art and craft post! I’m very excited!
Today I present to you ribbon writing. It’s an easy-to-do, 3D writing style that looks so, so effective. I tried out this craft for the first time as preparation for an art lesson for my Year 4 class. At first there were the usual moans ‘Oh, I’ll never be able to do that!’ and ‘That looks really hard!’ and ‘That’s amazing, how on earth do you do it!?’ but they picked it up so easily. They loved it, and were soon writing any word they could think of!
The children in my class and I have a bit of a joke together – I am very open about the fact that I am terrible at art (and in fact use this to encourage them to understand that they don’t have to be the best in everything) and my students are well aware of how much I struggle to give them examples in art class. I usually just try to find an example on the internet and step them through the process with a powerpoint presentation. But the fact that they loved what I did and thought it looked really effective made me very proud and gave them the boost they needed to give it a go themselves.
The beauty of this activity is that it can be done by anyone, you don’t need to be a teacher or an art student! Decorating a sign, a home-made gift card, or simply doodling on a piece of paper can provide heaps of opportunity to give this a go.
I know, I know, you’re dying to see how it works! Well, if you insist!
First you start by writing your word in neat cursive writing (running writing). Make sure that your letters are all in proportion to each other and nicely spaced. Some letters don’t join to others when we’re writing in cursive, and that’s just fine, just write as you normally would.
When you are happy with your word, then you extend the outer edges back along the top and the bottom. You do this by drawing diagonal lines at exactly the same angle and length from the very upper points and very lower points of each letter, as well as the outer points of the first and last letters. For curves you pick the outer most point of the curve (for example the top of the ‘m’ in Emma’). So if you are going to get very specific, you might choose to draw all lines 1.5cm long at an angle of 45 degrees (sorry for the blurry pic!).
Now you need to fill in the back edge of the ribbon. You do this by following the same curve as the front edge (the original cursive word). You may also need to fill in the interior of some of the letters (as in the ‘a’ in Emma).
Now to colour!
Firstly, outline your ribbon in darker pen.
I chose to add depth to my ribbon by colouring darker at the top and bottom of each letter and then gradually getting lighter in my shading until meeting in the middle of the letters. Some points needed to have a tiny bit of shading in the middle as well. You really can do it however you like, the goal is to make your ribbon drawing seem more real, more 3D, and shading from lighter to darker can really enhance the depth. I originally found the idea on an art teacher’s website, and it has some great examples of shading.
My kids graduated from writing their names, to words with thematic pictures behind them – the possibilities are really endless! I can’t wait to try this with my 5/6 Art class next week and see what they come up with.
So, what did you think? Did you give it a try? How did you go? I’d love some feedback!