Two weeks into the new college year and having got all of the level-3 first years to draw mackerel last week I decided to give them all a crayfish. I currently have about 60 crayfish, unromantically 'collected' from the Ikea freezer section and previously preserved in formalyn, drying in trays. My plan is to coat all of these in copper as part of a 'cabinet' artwork later this autumn but while I have them I thought they'd make good drawing subjects.
We had 2 great lessons this morning and 35 students have now all been alerted to the beauty of the crayfish and they did some wonderful work. All were encouraged to work on brown paper or collaged envelopes with pencil, then white paint in-fill and then to work over the original sketch with black indian ink using dip pens. Many of them also then added a bit of water colour or colour pencil and we did some background work with shellac varnish and I hope they left the lesson happy with their terrific achievements. One group however mistook a jar of yacht varnish for quick-drying shellac and so their sketchbooks are still drying on the shelves in the sculpture studio, but when the pages are dry they will be very waterproof and durable in a gale or storm.