Step 1: Transfer drawings
Students who have drawings in the mural (“artists”) transfer their drawings in pencil to the panel through the use of an overhead or digital projector. They are given a last opportunity to make changes/revisions. Sometimes additional research is necessary to make details accurate (students can use visual references, e.g., of a building or object). Drawing is then gone over with permanent marker.
Step 2: Painting
In small groups of 3–5 students, the “painters” paint pre-mixed colors into areas defined by marker lines with large areas painted first. Broad-brushers paint the large area; detail painters come in later for the small, complex areas.
Step 3: Lettering
“Scribes” come in last to letter in the text in marker over large painted areas. The text should be pre-formatted on a computer and projected onto the panels. Students trace first in pencil, then marker.
Teaching Tip: Find a dedicated work space with at least three large tables and access to water. It should have enough space to project images onto mural panels as well as space to paint the panels.
Classroom Teacher Led Mural Project
The workspace could be in a section of the classroom or in the art room if partnering with the school’s art teacher.
The teacher can use foam core or heavy card stock to cut shapes based on the outline of student drawings, one for each student. Then students pencil in their own drawings onto the shapes (slightly reduced) from a projection, then outline in marker. The resulting shapes could be arranged on a wall in a collage format, either by the teacher or as a class activity. Text could be on a separate panel, or integrated into the figures as captions.
Students work in small groups at the mural station or in the art room, painting in the projected shapes outlined by the teacher.
Each student has a chance to paint on the mural. Permanent marker outlines are added at the end to emphasize details.
Teaching Artist Led Mural Project
The workspace will be set up by the teaching artist outside of the classroom space. Students will arrive to the mural studio in small numbers to work with the teaching artist.
The teaching artist and students work together to create the mural images. The teaching artist assigns the following roles to students:
- Artists: transfer projected drawings onto boards, first in pencil, then in marker.
- Painters: paint in areas of color.
- Scribes: do lettering in marker onto the panels, from projections.
Mural images are projected on the mural boards and are traced.
All students work on the mural over the course of a week on their one task.
Each student has a chance to either draw, paint, or letter.