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How To Draw An Egg

Please go in your kitchen and find an egg.  It shouldn’t be hard to find. I guess you will just get one out of your fridge, if you don’t have chickens in your backyard. Do you have a cloth napkin or a tea towel you can place the egg  on?  Arrange the fabric  and place your egg on it.

Do you have paper and a pencil? You will also need a thick black magic marker and a pair of scissors.

I like to use graphite sticks. They are the pencil without the wood.  Using a different medium gets your mind away from the usual paths that your hand expects. It would be like taking a different path on your daily walk. When you  walk a new way, it all seems new, you notice more.

But a good old Dixon Ticonderoga 2HB will work as well. A soft lead is best.  Any piece of paper, even the back of an envelope.

When I taught “Drawing Heroes and Villains, Pigs and Wolves. Illustrating Comic Books 4th and 5th grade,” I asked the class, “What am I holding?”

They yelled, “An egg.”

Each child was given one  cloth napkin and one egg to draw.

Why an egg?  It is an object they are familiar with. I wanted them to take something they see every day and look at it in a new way. I wanted the students to notice details, texture, how an object feels. The eggs are right out of the carton. I don’t hard boil them.

Yesterday my daughter was spinning an egg to see if it was hard-boiled. It fell on the floor and cracked open. We photographed it and decided that dropping an egg was the best way to test if it was hard-boiled. Martha, our dog, helped us clean up the floor.

I drew the outline of the egg with a thick bold line with a magic marker and then I cut  out the oval shape, on the outside of the line. I held the cut out oval shape, the paper egg, next to the real egg.

I thought about drawing and cutting out the oval shape at home but it was more visual to do it in front of them. Performance egg art with scissors.  The shape I drew is close in size to a real egg.

Take a moment now and draw the outline of your egg with a thick black magic marker, and then cut it out.

Hold your paper egg and your real egg in your hand, “What do you see?”

Yes, that’s right, one egg is flat, two-dimensional, and the other one is three-dimensional.

Place your egg back on your napkin or tea towel.  Now turn off the overhead lights where you are sitting, and just have one light source. Window light will give you a nice soft glow. A table lamp will give you deeper shadows.

Pick up your pencil and draw your egg. Get messy. Use your fingers to blend the graphite to show the shadows on your egg. Look at your egg, can you see the shadow under it?  Look closely at the shape, where it sits on the fabric. Draw the egg as big as you want, anywhere on the page; coming off of the page, or in the center.

Now after you have drawn your egg, sign and date it and tape it to your fridge. When you walk past your fridge or when you open the door to get a glass of milk, look at your drawing and say to yourself. “I  can draw.” and smile.

———-

Did you wonder why I didn’t draw an egg and show you my drawing? 

“Hey, Hodges where is your egg drawing?” 

I want you to discover your egg, and not copy mine. When I taught the drawing class, I picked up one students work and held it up for the class to see. As I was about to pick it up my brain was yelling at me, “Don’t pick it up! Don’t single out one student’s work!”

We had been drawing animals from reference. I told the class they could draw the whole animal or just part of it. One student had drawn the eye. I held the drawing of the eye up for the class to see, “Here is an example of drawing a part of the animal.”  Within seconds, four students who had been drawing an entire animal from reference turned over their paper and started to draw the exact same drawing of the eye.

Did you they want me, the teacher, to notice them? Did you think what they were drawing wasn’t good?

I don’t know what they thought. I do know they stopped what they were doing and copied the drawing I held up. I didn’t single out a student’s work again. All students who wanted to were invited to the front of the room to talk about what they had drawn.

Draw your egg, not mine. Be original. 

Please send me photographs of your egg drawings. I would love to see them.

Did your teacher ever hold up your work in art class? Did your teacher tell you, “You can’t draw?”

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    When do we get to see your egg?

  • Pingback: Dear World, we are artists and we will make art()

  • Robn Patrick

    Both posts about how you teach art are amazing to me. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be an artist. NEVER thought I could. I was always told you either have it or you don’t and since I could never get what I saw in my head down on paper I knew it must be true.
    Mrs. Albright was my middle school art teacher. She let us know there there were select students with talent and the rest of us she put up with. I remember standing in line to go out of her class and right there on the bulletin board was a drawing of a hand. It was awesome. Obviously an effort by one of her lucky gifted students. I was so mesmerized that I reached out to touch it and she slapped my hand away and scolded me about touching the art. I know she mostly wanted to keep me from damaging the pencil work but it was also a sign to me that there were special students who got their efforts up on the coveted Mrs Albright board and while those students work was glorified and protected, my efforts were never even mentioned. As far as I knew she never looked at mine or commented on mine. I would never be an artist.

    • Robn Patrick

      Pamela, could you come back to California and teach art here?!

  • Love the teacher in you that tiptoes on the paper. Your tone, your passion for art. Just wanted you to know it comes through. Great post. Had to share. Knew you wouldn’t mind. Did you know Jess is reading your posts too?

  • I love this slice! Can’t wait to try drawing my egg. I promise to share a photo of whatever I create.

    I taught myself to make Ukrainian Easter eggs. It’s something I always wanted to know how to do. There’s an excellent little shop in the East Village in Manhattan that sells all the dyes and tools. It’s more than a few years since I made any eggs. Time to go stock up on supplies, I think!

    • I wrote this slice with you in mind 🙂 I look forward to seeing your drawing!

      Do you have an address for the shop in East Manhattan that sells the supplies for Ukrainian Easter eggs? This year I want to do this with my kids.

  • Paul

    This reminded me of painting Easter eggs when I was a kid (all good Ukrainian-Canadian kids do this!). After reading this, I think I’m going to try it again this Easter with my niece, or my mom. Or both. Get the wax and dye ready! 🙂

    • My fathers parents both came from the Ukraine. They settled in Wakaw, Saskatchewan. I grew up waxing eggs with my Baba. I am a fellow Ukrainian-Canada!
      Have fun making pysanky, ( I looked it up on Google).
      Thank you for bringing back a childhood memory 🙂

      • Paul

        Northeast of Saskatoon. My mom was born & raised in Hafford, just northwest of Saskatoon. I knew there was something I liked about you! 🙂 But seriously, how crazy is that? The world is so big, but so small…

  • You have a soft touch in the writing and I get the sense that it is the same with your teaching. You explain, slowly, clearly, calmly. I also love the way you guide through questions: “Look at your egg. Can you see the shadow under it?” Already students want to draw that shadow.

    • Thank you for your comments Mardie. I appreciate the feedback. It helps me to know that you understand what I was trying to explain.

    • Are you the same Mardie from Mardie’s notebook? When I click your name here it takes me to a different blog. I have been trying to find your blog for SOL.

  • Slowly you take the students down the road of drawing. They are engaged and doing it before they realize this might be difficult for them. You make it so easy to accomplish. I remember my art teacher in high school doing something similar. The way you explain it makes it seem so easy. The photos are perfect to accompany the text.

    • Thank you for your comment elsie. It was an interesting diversion from deep thinking.
      It is fun to try a variety of topics to slice about. Thank you for the comments about the photographs. I

  • LOVE this idea! I will be posting it to Pinterest and coming back to it with my little one in a couple of years. 🙂

    • Would love to see what she can do right now with finger paints and paper. Now that would be interesting. Happy you posted it to Pinterest.

  • I have students do something similar with an apple. They shine it on their shirts, look at it’s shape (not really round), and its color (lots of them, not just red). They feel it, smell it, then draw its shape with pencil and color it with the colors they see. Of course, we eat it later and count and graph the seeds, but the end result of the picture is priceless. I only give them a small square of paper to do it on and then mount it on a larder piece of black. It’s quite a work of art when they are done! And they know they CAN draw! If I weren’t retired, I think it would be fun to try the egg, too!

    • Thank you for your apple story. I think I will try that in my class next year. I love that you eat it and count the seeds as well.