The fourth- and fifth-graders filed into their after school art
class and upon noticing the subjects they each made a beeline toward
the table of skulls asking all sorts of questions, wondering if the
skulls were real or if they could touch them.
Equipped with a large piece of drawing paper and different hues of
charcoal, the Top of the World Elementary students diligently watched
their instructor, that is after they made the big decision choosing
which Halloween subject to draw. The choices ranged from a ram’s
skull with twisted, long horns, a mountain goat’s skull with short
pointed devil-like horns, a plastic human skull or a ceramic owl.
“We’re drawing these because it’s always a spooky sort of thing,”
Paige Watroba, 9, said. “Halloween is a spooky sort of holiday and it
makes things sort of come alive, it makes things seem real.”
The art program is offered by Laguna Outreach Community Arts -- a
community outreach program of the arts where professional artists
teach children various mediums over an eight-week period.
On this day Joan Corman-Block is the instructor. She specializes
in drawing and pastels.
“I’m drawing the owl because it’s nicer than the skull,” Katie
Nemsik, 9, said.
A couple of the kids enthusiastically crawled under the table to
get closer to the skulls, but the teacher made sure they didn’t get
too close so all the students could equally observe.
“I picked the ram when I came in,” Nick Brown, 10, said. “I really
thought the skull was neat and stood out.”
“When doing the skull notice the ram’s head is very elongated,”
Corman-Block said. “If you’re doing the mountain goat’s skull it’s a
little smaller. This is to get the basic shape we want to do.”
She instructed the kids to fill the whole paper with their picture
and illustrated the steps of drawing the owl from the basic oval
shape to determining where the eyes might go by segmenting the owl in
thirds noting that they should be a third of the way down.
As the young artists were transforming their blank piece of paper
into an illustration, step by step they also learned the importance
of color use, the colors to use for shading, shadows and different
“The light is hitting the right hand side, so we should shade on
the left,” Corman-Block said.
Adding black to accent the dark areas of their piece and to
brighten certain places, the kids seemed mesmerized staring at their
The final touches included adding a signature, a background and
any other finishing touches to make their drawing complete.
“Mine is a picture of an owl on a tree sitting in the bushes,”
Masha Goncharova, 10, said. “Adding the details was the most fun
Paige drew a night scene with dark clouds and sky.
“I wanted it to be a little owl lost and spooky on the night of
Halloween,” Paige said. “I added some clouds so it looks like normal
Some added moons, stars or darkness and gray, seeming to create in
their mind’s eye their idea of Halloween.
* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.