8th Grade Art: Sketching and Sculpting Bodies in Motion

For a recent art studio project, Mount Madonna School (MMS) 8th grade students studied the proportions of the body and created sculptures that captured the gestures of a body in motion – their sculptures are in progress, and depict bodies that are skating, surfing, dancing, cycling and more.

Students began by first creating a series of 10 gestural sketches of bodies doing the same activity, with the bodies roughly in proportion. After completing the series, each student chose one sketch and created a final, detailed sketch of that position, including clothes and shading.

“Students were asked to make all sketches by looking at a photo of a real body in motion, not drawing from their imaginations,” explained teacher Angela Willetts. “This is an exercise in really looking closely and drawing what you see.”

Once students completed their sketches, they created their three-dimensional artwork expressing the feeling of a body in motion. These sculptures are formed from a flexible wire, covered with plaster and then painted.

“Students really engaged with this project,” said Willetts. “I was looking to see bodies in proportion – especially the ratio of torso to legs and head to body. They also incorporated a creative use of color, line and texture to express the feeling of bodies in motion.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 380 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The program, accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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