First of all I demonstrated some shapes for cartooning noses, heads, eyes, mouths and other body parts. Then I gave the students about 15 minutes for some experimentation (see the pictures above). When they were ready, they came and got an A4 piece of cartridge paper from me - the pre-requisite being that the cartoon athlete takes up the majority of the space so that I do not have to use my binoculars to see the character.
Naturally there were a few who wanted to stretch the brief. Some asked if they could do an Olympic mascot and others asked if they could do an animal athlete, in line with a current writing task. Who am I to stand in the way of creativity, so of course I agreed.
As the students started drawing their characters, some expressed concern that they "weren't very cartoon-like". I reassured the students that, like artists, cartoonists each have their own style. You could put a bowl of fruit in a room full of ten artists and they would all produce a piece of art from that bowl of fruit with their own take, I told them. I also said that you can tell who has drawn a cartoon often from the style of drawing, so it was important for them all to bring their own style to their character.
As we progressed through, the students began to use jovis to bring their characters some colour. While none of the students completed their characters while I was there, the idea was for them to use felts or sharpies to outline their characters to make the jovi and the character pop.
I talked to the students about how cartooning often uses exaggeration to create the look of the character. This boy really used this idea in his character.
And then there are the kids who forget we are doing an Olympic athlete and turn them into an army mercenary - happens every time.
I think this one is a highlight for my day. This boy drew a cartoon version of Mahe Drysdale. It wasn't hard to figure out!!!
If this was my class, I would have been using my set of cartoon cards over several weeks to build up to this. We would have practiced drawing different aspects of cartoon features, movements, shapes and ideas in a dedicated 15 minutes after lunch. I wouldn't have squashed it into an hour like I had to do as a reliever.
Despite the short timeframe, I think these students did a great job, and I am hoping the next time I am back at that school I see the finished product.