Contour line drawings of fourth graders’ shoes

Heather Erwin, Artist, Educator, Collaborator

It is incredibly satisfying to see the confidence grow as the fourth graders create contour line drawings of their shoes. After viewing the end results, I am sure you will see why they are so very proud of their accomplishments. This skill helps improve eye/hand coordination. Eye/hand coordination is the visual processing of information to guide hand movements. Eye hand coordination is necessary to a variety of daily, routine activities—from picking up a book to knitting a scarf. It accompanies many syndromes and conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, decreased muscle tone, and certain visual disorders like optic ataxia. Many children with developmental delays also demonstrate poor eye hand coordination. Another example of how art is beneficial to the well being of ALL students.

Heather Erwin, Artist, Educator, Collaborator

Heather Erwin, Artist, Educator, Collaborator

Heather Erwin, Artist, Educator, Collaborator

39 thoughts on “Contour line drawings of fourth graders’ shoes

    • These drawings were created on their own with no adult interference. You can hear a pin drop during the assignment. It’s about “seeing” and concentration, as well as letting your brain do the work for you by tracing the edge of the shoe with your finger along the contour lines then SLOWLY looking and drawing the contour as you move along the contour lines with your eyes. It’s an amazing exercise and if people get it out of their heads that they “can’t” draw they absolutely CAN!

    • YUP! Nine year olds…. This is a great age to teach as they have suspend belief in regard to their ability to draw. If they haven’t been told they can’t yet they just do it. We could learn from them. Thank you for looking at the site and please pass the word along that Studio 215 continues to grow and reach out to advocate for the arts and arts in education.

  1. Heather,
    I very much enjoyed your web page, reading about your philosophy and experiences and how you integrate that into your art and descriptive narratives. The students contour line drawings of their shoes and sneakers are amazing and your narrative about them increased my appreciation of the work.
    I wish I had had some art teaching like that when I was in school and wish that my kids had had such and hope my grandchildren are able to get it in some of their schools. In fact I hope all kids get this type experience in art wherever they go to school.
    Thanks for giving all of us a chance to learn more about art and your associated philosophy.
    My best to you,
    Gene Farley

    • Thank you so much Gene. I wish that art education had been as intensive when I was in elementary school. My high school teacher was unbelievably influential in my life and I have let him know that over the years in many ways. We are still in touch. This reminds me to go have a cup of tea with him and his wife before they leave for Maine for the summer. You, Aunt Linda and of course Aunt Betty were mentors for me as I grew up. Oh boy… now Eli is 16, maybe I could call you to get some pointers… but seriously all my love and if you come back East I will make more time to spend with you this time. I need to prioritize and it hasn’t been easy with teaching at two institutions and running my Gallery/Studio but I will get there. All the best to you and yours.

    • Thanks! They are such a wonderful addition to my life. Coming from business into education has been eye-opening. When I get in the classroom both at the elementary and college level life’s frustration melts away… It’s the perfect fit for me at this time in my life. Thank you for taking the time to look at the site.

    • Thank you for taking the time to view it. The portfolio section is nowhere near done so I hope you come back and take a peek after Easter break. I am photographing and collecting digital images of my work, both commercial and fine art, to upload. Pass the word along about Studio 215 to any of your art loving friends.

    • Isn’t it just amazing the way children suspend belief at this age and schematic development? It’s awe-inspiring to watch them as they see the picture appear before their very eyes.

    • Aren’t THEY (the students) something too? I am updating the portfolio section, both commercial and fine art, during April break. I have been shooting and getting files off an old G4 tower… Thank you for looking at the site!

  2. Really impressive. How true the comments and what a great subject for the 4th graders to draw. Their own shoes, a subject they can totally identify with!
    Congratulations!

    • My students thank you and yes… as you well know shoes are a fantastic subject for children, (and women!) to identify with and draw/paint/sculpt. I know you love your shoes and always will. ME TOO! Cheers!

  3. The student work is impressive, and a reflection of what an open environment can do for fostering success. Kudos to you and them.

    • I do try my best to have a very caring environment where students feel safe in all regards. Thank you for the compliment! It means alot to me that you see that in the posts.

  4. Hi Heather!You have created a beautiful site,one which showcases both your expertise as a teacher and their obvious talents.What an awesome tribute to you all.Thanks for sharing with us all.

  5. Amazing drawings for grade 4 children. Looks & sounds like you and the children are having a great time!

    • Thanks Jen! We have a very lovely time together at my little public school. I appreciate your love and support throughout the years! See you this summer if our schedules cross up in Canada. xo

  6. Drawing an item after looking at it requires clear observation plus rendering of the observed object in a way that others can see the same thing.
    This discipline is the basis of all human communication — in art, reporting or philosophy — and sharpens the eye as well as the mind.
    Here is where the teacher acts as the educator in the clearest sense.
    Every child should have this kind of early guidance. Carry on!.

    • “This discipline is the basis of all human communication — in art, reporting or philosophy — and sharpens the eye as well as the mind. Here is where the teacher acts as the educator in the clearest sense. Every child should have this kind of early guidance. Carry on!.” Couldn’t have said it better myself Henry. Thanks for taking a look and you my friend keep carrying on as well.

  7. Hi Heather,
    what an interested work! We got the information by Pam and we took our time to look detailed at the site; we enjoyed it: reading from home, your philosophy up to portfolio.
    Be sure, I get enthusiastic. The work with these kids ( nine years old!!) is great and amazing. I´m thrilled by the results; very impressive.
    All the best to you and the fourth graders,
    Ibo & Hans Laudam,

    • Thank you so very much for taking the time to look at the site. I will be updating the portfolio portion over Spring Break so come visit again to see the portfolio in a more complete state…

  8. Having grandchildren in this age bracket, I am planning to experiement with them when next they are looking for something to do here. They all love to draw and seem to love their art classes. So great to know someone with a true love for art has made the move to help inspire kids.

  9. Dear Heather,
    You are an inspiring master teacher. Both your Mom and Wendy sing your creative praises. Your talent and honest teaching style is just what our young people need. Keep up the good work! Many blessings.
    Almeta Whitis, Storyteller

      • Thank you, Heather. Your intense inner work with the teenagers last summer at W&B gave me chills!
        I am so blessed to have met a fellow Funkadelic Fan! “Everybody’s got a little light under the sun…under the sun…under the sun!
        Peace, Almeta

  10. Wow… How wonderful and imaginative a project.
    I spent a short time many years ago teaching Art myself. My kids never ceased to amaze .
    Love your choice of subject matter and how it relates most intimately to your kids…brilliant. Gotta get their interest first…

    Your technique promotes getting fully immersed in the project.
    You are bound to uncover some hidden talent.
    And do we ever need better visual observers in the world today!!!

    Getting your kids engaged so intensely allows them to truly participate in the moment ,and not pass through the exercise as they do so many others in today’s flighty ,sound bite world.

    Now if we could only work on their undistracted listening skills. Keep it going….

    • It’s amazing teaching art at all levels. I have taught K — 12 and currently teach at the college level as well. Love them all for different reasons. Thanks for commenting!

  11. Dear Heather,
    I shared your site with another female writer and performing artist who is a shoe fanatic. She was absolutely delighted! Keep up the spectacular work you are doing to open the minds of young people.
    Peace, Almeta Whitis

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