Side x Side at Reiche Elementary

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Art Classes, drawing, school visits | 3 comments

As a Side x Side visiting artist, I made four visits to Reiche Elementary to spark their Moving Oceans program. The kick-off featured Mary Cerullo, non-fiction author and Associate Director of Friends of Casco Bay sharing her books. I was excited to finally meet her!


She told a lively anecdote using this critter for emphasis.


For the first visits to 4 second grade classes, I showed them my stash of sketches for the cover of Here Come the Humpbacks. I do LOTS of drawings!

I also brought along my collection of natural objects, such as clam, mussel, and scallop shells, barnacles, sea urchins, star fish, sand dollars, and crab shells.


Drawing from observation is seldom required of second graders. They tend to trace an object, and I asked them to “eyeball” it: look slowly and closely before drawing.


As Professor Jennifer Landin writes in the Scientific American, “Drawing lessons were standard in school curricula. Why? To learn to observe.”

It takes careful examination to draw with detail. These second graders are up to the task. Getting a good shape with radial symmetry is not easy, but look at this lovely urchin drawing!


My beach combing collection included a bone that sort of resembled a bird. Students asked, what animal did this come from? In David Briley’s classroom, he hauled out part of a moose skeleton for comparison. We determined it was too small to come from a moose. Maybe a deer?


Handling an object can inform one’s drawing.


Some found the sound of the sea.


By the second round of visits, each student had chosen a creature to study. It’s always helpful to have multiple references to draw from.


We made a gallery at the end, to talk about what we noticed from our drawings. They each made great use of their image area.



There are a lot of complex parts coming together in Angel’s drawing.


I love the crazy energy of this anemone!


Everyone began with a pencil sketch and then redrew in black ink. Such a proud puffin here!


Again, we looked at all of them as a group.


What variety!


Next the classes will visit Nance Parker’s studio nearby, to create sculptures based on their drawings. I can’t wait to see what they make!





  1. Thank you for working with our students Jamie. They loved learning how to sketch their sea creatures, and they continue to sketch marine life in their journals. We appreciate your inspiration and good teaching!

  2. i could tell this was a fun day for all, Jamie. Loved the picture of the little boy, listening to the “ocean”, with the shell against his ear.
    Also got a big kick out of the drawing “crazy energy of this anemone”!

  3. Wow Very nice,

    It will help kids for learning drawing for kids.
    keep it up.

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