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<v Helen Cordell>[Music plays] Today, we would like to talk about this humble crayon. I don't know that it's really so humble because it can do many things. Why are we bothering to give all this time and this program to crayon? We feel it's important for many reasons. One is almost all children, even before they're in school, have this crayon. I'm sure. <v Helen Cordell>It is the most widely used media and I know you teachers like it because it isn't messy. Children can get it in and out of their desks easily without you having to bother about supplies. It's reasonable. And all ages will use it, even artists use it. So these are some important things that this little crayon can do. So it is quite an important thing. Media.
<v Helen Cordell>Now, let's go and talk about three things that we shouldn't do with this crayon. Number one, don't ever impose ideas upon children or techniques or uses. Let the children come to you with a problem. Say they're not doing anything with the picture. They're not showing what a breeze looks like. They'll come out and say, I don't know what a breeze looks like. Then you can help them with a technique or a use I don't know how to make something fuzzy. I don't know how to show how this cat has fuzzy character, then you can show them. But don't use the technique as as an end, but only as a child needs it, you help them. Alright, that was item number one that you have to be careful of. <v Helen Cordell>Item number two is illustrated on this picture over here. I know you have a lot of children that do the same thing. Here is a very tight drawing done with pencil first, please don't let your children work in pencil. It's tight and it's [inaudible] the boys are on a picnic. He's not happy sitting alone. It's very tight, very little. And it isn't good work. It couldn't be good work because he's using a very, very small point. Now, item number two three is how to use line. You can use line sometime and to a great advantage.
<v Helen Cordell>But just directly outlining and leaving it as such is not good. Let's show how line is used here. It's used decoratively. In this picture, they drew the line and then put decorations in it. Now, over in the other picture over here, line is used an entirely different way. It is filled in in decoration. You can see this would make a beautiful oh- pattern for box decoration or anything, so it could be used as a craft. All right. Now, there are the three things that we have to be careful of. Here is how line is used to a very bad disadvantage. Here the child didn't know what to do. We have orange against on your around this nose. The child didn't know what to do about it. So he put a line. It was the easiest way out that shows they're not thinking this is- This is a fourth grade student, so they didn't know what they were doing. So they used it.
<v Helen Cordell>But again, I showed you the picture before where the line was used for decoration. That child cannot use a line just for a crutch. And I know you have to watch him because they'll put two lights together. So that is the third point. Now, we many of you will say, oh, they're just two ways. And I know a lot of books say there are only two ways you can use crayon. You know, that's true. And so do I. Let's say you use the point or you use it flat and that's it. Well, that isn't it. But if you just leave the child alone and don't help them and aren't there to assist them and be used as a resource for the child, then that's all they will do. Now, children will invent wonderful ways to use crayon. I'd like to show you a few of those ways. Eleven, to be exact. The children vary from all different age levels. So let's go and look and see what Judy, who is a first grade student and she is going to do some finger painting.
<v Helen Cordell>Judy told me about this fingerpaint, and she's going to make this into a girl. Here are the eyes. And she said this was a fingerpaint she didn't like. It wasn't doing anything. And this bright color here is going to be the hair and this girl can be dancing along in the breeze. Now, as you turn this, you can find all sorts of things in it, Judy can find a cow. She told me about and she found, oh, many other people and little animal leaping around. So this makes this picture where Judy can use it and will enjoy it because she didn't particularly like what she had done in fingerpainting. Think how much this is going to do for Judy. <v Helen Cordell>Judy's picture here is one that Judy fixed and it's all finished. I think it's quite exciting. It shows Judy's imagination. Here, we have a face coming out of the trees. This is all the tree part that Judy had here. And here's the wind blowing. See the face that she's put here? It could be an animal. I guess it is an animal with tail curled around. But why do we take this time? Well, here was something that wasn't useful. Judy made it into something useful. She used her imagination and it helped her with finishing something that she was dissatisfied. I think that's important.
<v Helen Cordell>Now, there are many other ways. Now, let's go to another way. Let's go over to Barbara, who is an older student. Here we have Barbara working with just plain manila paper and different materials screen, big mesh. And here is some rick rack. Here is some wire mesh screening and here is some potatoe sack, she rubs over this with the side of the crayon and it forms the texture. Now, this is important because texture is one of the most important, a very important principle of art. Judy is learning it and she's feeling it all the way through. Now, when Judy wants to make a bumpy road, she will very easily see a texture that's created here. It's one way to impress upon them. You can, Judy, also can get shading on this.
<v Helen Cordell>Here are some other things that have been finished, I called Judy and her name is Barbara. I'm sorry, this is Barbara's work here. The same girl that you just saw here, Barbara, has used texture and shading, again, as you saw, only completing a picture done very quickly, very freely. This helps. Why is this a good way to work? Because it frees a child up. And if you use it in even as low as a kindergarten, which we do, they feel the things and then they work over it and they understand texture much more easily. Now, one of the other pictures that Barbara did and I'd like to show you is this one. I think it's very nice here. You've all use this. It's a very common technique in which it's shading is used by using the crayon on the side, shading big movement freedom. You get to to the first picture where a little person using a pencil, then I can use this technique. You'll see all sorts of freedom.
<v Helen Cordell>So that is the main reason for this [supreme] big motion shading and quick composition. Now, here's another one that Barbara did, too. This is one where we use colored paper. Now, here is only a contour line barber. Did this come to a line was shaded in slightly. This happens to be on dark blue and light colored paper, a light blue paper. It's very fresh. You see, if she made a mistake, she couldn't go over. So it made her make up her mind.Alright now, these two pictures are by people who come on service to the museum and I borrowed them from them. You can see the a tremendous amount of light and dark value, which is another art principle that can be received by the child well received by this technique. Then up above it again, shows very clean cut thinking. Here is a yellow crayon on a black paper and that shows with the simplest amount of a line, a portrait, a very simple portrait that are now we will go to a Kei.
<v Helen Cordell>All right, let me explain this now. Keith used just a regular bumpy, pebbled paper. Then he took his crayon, drew the picture of the fishing, the boy fishing that was drawn in just like a regular picture. You can see part of it down here. Then he is going over it with ink. Show them how you go over the entire thing. That's the entire mass billion. Now, this will be left to dry. Now show them how we scratch through and find your picture. All right. This is good because it makes the child think in reverse terms. It gives them form. And again, it gives them a shading effect that they lack, a texture effect that they like. So it's on rough paper, but it could be done on smooth. Now, that was crayon drawing underneath. All the places that were left white were covered up with that entire thing, was covered over with ink and then scratched in.
<v Helen Cordell>That's it and you can scratch with the big, broad strokes, would you like to show them how you can do a big broad stroke also that it, where you can see a great deal, but the ink adheres to the paper where the crayon doesn't act as a resist. Now, here is a senior high students work, and I think it's very lovely done in this technique. This is a pebble paper and on the pebbled paper, the ink was put and in doing in little lines, they did it in broader areas. The pebble paper is shown by these small dots and here it is for older children. This particular technique. <v Helen Cordell>Here is one that was finished by Keith and it was covered in tempera paint. The crayon was put in place and this particular illustration and then the picture was just drawn and very freely. It's much more frère technique than here. You can use this technique in the very low grades where they just put the bright colors underneath and the other color on top. The dark color on top.
<v Helen Cordell>Now we will go and show you a very similar technique done by Dale. We'll go on over to Dale now. Now, Dale is doing much the same technique, only this time it's you don't need the ink, it's crayon over crayon. This is an old box top that is a white piece of cardboard. Dale has covered this in black crayon. Can you show them what you've done? Dale covered over areas completely and now show them how you merely scratch through again. It looks almost as if it's an etching and the children love it. They can use sticks and other tools, but these children are old enough to use a paring knife, an adult pairing knife.
<v Helen Cordell>Here's a picture that they are finished, and I think it's very nice. I think the one she's doing is probably a little more exciting. But again, you'll notice texture and quite a nice effect. It almost makes it look like a nice scene in New York where the bridges are going up. I think it's nice. Now, let's go to this next one that was done by an artist, Mabel Etsel did this and she didn't cover it in the black, but she did yellow over purple and she scratched out huge areas. <v Helen Cordell>This was done on an old piece of watercolor paper, a scrap piece. Now, here is one that I did in which it was crayon over crayon, the same technique that they are used in, which I used the white crayon where you see it laughed, then applied the dark over and scratched through our tissues and hang these pictures and exhibits at museums and so forth and all the shows. It's quite an interesting technique.
<v Helen Cordell>Now let's go to the next and see what lady is doing here. Go ahead. Now, this is called sandpaper printing. This is ink regular printer ink, from the tube that she has squeezed onto this piece of old glass. Now she's using a roller over this. This was originally just a piece of sandpaper like this. And she drew her lines and her designs on it very freely. This man such as there and then build in these areas and said this this is the next step that's just crayon filled in. Now, this is oil. The ink is an oil ink. As she rolls over this, the oil adheres to the oil, stick to it and it doesn't have the sandpaper. And you get a very, very cheap, inexpensive print. Would you show them how this is done and make a print for them, if you please?
<v Helen Cordell>This is the process that she is doing and the finished product that she's doing here is the man that was on roller skates, she just threw it on there very freely. And the children like this, because they can give a lot of people are a picture because they can make all 50 to 100 prints off of this one. Looks like it's dulling. Then go right back over the sandpaper and put more crayon on it. I think it's very, very cheap way. If you can get a hold of some printers, think that most of us can. On the other side is one done by a high school student. And now in this case, the high school students scratched through, as you can see, these lines here completely through the sandpaper. So and remove part of the crayon. I think it's a very fascinating technique. Children like it. Now, let's go to the next one.
<v Helen Cordell>Let's go over to Sherry. Now, sherry is just a first grade child and she's doing some stenciling. This stenciling is in done an entirely different way than most of us use it. All right, Sherry has cut out different sort of stencil designs out of regular just on cream color manila paper. She has crayoned this in here and now she is using an eraser and rubbing through. <v Helen Cordell>Would you show them the eraser, honey? That's it. Using this eraser and show them on this right over here how you're brushing along here and the crayon comes off into the paper and oh, would you mind if I show them some of the things here? What happens. Here, she is developing, here she is doing a little house with the windows and the trees and she's making a person here. Now, we'll go ahead and let you finish up if you'd like to put this on here and show them how to brush this in. Would you.
<v Helen Cordell>That's it. I think Sherry's doing a very fine job. This is Sherry's finished work. It's quite a nice piece. It is very pale and soft. But look what it's doing to the child. Here, she has overlapped things. One thing on top of another. It's very hard to get, as you all know, on a first grade child here. She's overlap three. It's very nice this is done on paper just to show you. But there are all sorts of things that could be done and put on. This could be done on material and pressed with the damp cloth and then become quite a permanent piece. I have here a technique that you all do, but I think it's cute and I wanted to show it to you. I think it's very nice and very fresh. This isn't stencil, but it's all directly drawn on an old sheet. And this is a smock. And the kindergarten child made this and oh, birds and houses, anything that they happen to like. They put this, course, as you can see, over their head, and then they tie a belt around it, such as this, in which they crayon a design so it doesn't plop down in front of them.
<v Helen Cordell>Then these same children wanted to make seatback covers for their own chairs. So this is a seatback cover and they some of the children can sew and when they can't, we we staple those together. And you all have done it. I know, but I did have to show it to you. Maybe to give you another idea that a ?smock?. <v Helen Cordell>Now, let's go and see what Roberta is doing now. Roberta is a sixth grade student. I'd like to show you what she's doing with crayons. Roberta is working in Crayons melted, it's much like an oil painting now over here, I'd like to show you, these are scraps of crayons that are put in muffin tins and melted. There's hot water in the bottom of this old pan that and this is put on a stove, a small electric stove, and the water gets hot, melted crayon. Now, Roberta is using this much like oil. Roberta, would you put on a dark color so we could see what you're doing? How about dipping in one of these dark these colors so they can see in the camera? All right. Just put it in right now. You can very easily see. Go ahead, Roberta.
<v Helen Cordell>And you can see and overlay another color over that Roberta overlay and show this is completely dry so she can use overlay right over it, washing out a brush. We're wiping it on the rag. The hot water that's boiling in there acts as you're the remover of your your one from one color to another. And she's building this up. You go ahead and work this. Here is a crayon oil painting finished by Roberta. It's very nice, it's very advanced. I think Roberta and any other child that uses this and I think you'd feel that way, too. Once you use this, you feel like you're painting in oils. Of course. And it's cheap because it's just, again, these scraps of crayon. It's it's bold. And you have to work fast. And it should be used definitely in the upper grades, not in the lower elementary art as you are beginning to use the same technique and exhibiting.
<v Helen Cordell>Now, let's go and to Betty. And Betty is using something very similar, but less expensive, because here Betty is using a candle. She doesn't need all the equipment and the stove. So this is an easier way. And to get the same effect. Betty is dipping. This is a piece of cardboard and she is dipping, can you change to another color so they can see that? Right. <v Helen Cordell>She is dipping the candle, the crayon in the candle, and it is melting and putting it on. She goes back and forth and builds this up until it became very thick, just like an oil painting. It gives a similar back to the picture that you just saw of the clown here, but is another way to do with less material. It's very fresh and free. Here is a picture then and finished by Beardie, this one, the dancers over here, and it's very thick.
<v Helen Cordell>You know, after the Van Gogh show, I think the children all took a very strong interest in heavy, thick things in art medias. And this certainly produces there this is very rough as you run over it. I think it's very nice to hear. Here is one done by a boy, You can see he has handled it a little different than very has. He has covered more of his foreground and background and also used just a regular crayon technique in some places. But it is very thick, one that is on paper. Now, let us go to our other way, another method. <v Helen Cordell>We'll go over to back to Sherry again and look at a watercolor with crayon technique. What'd you paint it now? She has crayon. This is just a regular crayon picture. You need a little more paint on it, don't you? That's it, now she's crayon over the white painting, over the white crayon, your crayon accessory. This I'm sure a lot of you've done this. You can also do it and tamper paint. And she's filling in some of the places. And so it gives sort of in a sort of a spooky effect, almost it or wind blowing across the sky. Sometimes we change colors. You are right. And put another color in there. You see, she's left a lot of blank space. All right, why don't you change it, put another color and see how that looks. That's it.
<v Helen Cordell>I'm sorry you can't see this in color, so it's very well done. That's right. I just go on and show them how the crayon shows up. All right. This is finished, well done. I think it's very nice. This is important because it creates a mood. You have that feeling of autumn and the wind's blowing and the sky is changing colors and greens and blues and reds every color in here. When a child sometimes gets tired of just using the crayon over and over again, here's a chance for them. When they're tired to complete the picture or one, they want to particularly create an emotion. Now, the next picture over was not done by the same girl, but was done by an older student in which it was a Halloween thing and the spooky faces appeared out on the dark. Now that was gone over with just regular ink fountain pen ink, and it gives quite that emotional effect.
Art as Education
Creative Crayon
Producing Organization
KETC-TV (Television station : Saint Louis, Mo.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This episode is about teaching children to draw with crayons. Mrs. Helen Cordell is Today's Teacher. This episode is about teaching children to draw with crayons. Mrs. Helen Cordell is Today's Teacher. In this episode, Mrs. Helen Cordell demonstrates the different uses of crayons through the implementation of different techniques such as printing, oil painting, textures, etc., and how these different methods can help children at different developmental stages. Mrs. Helen shows the works of different students? art which implement these methods from different grade levels, while also giving advice on how to properly instruct and guide children creatively.
Series Description
"[The series is] designed to give in-service training to elementary teachers. The teachers learn about child development, class management, the various kinds of art media, the basic art experiences, and art techniques. Elementary students are used primarily to demonstrate the principles discussed on the programs."--1954 Peabody Digest.
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: Flinn, Vera
Host: Cordell, Helen
Producer: Park, Vincent
Producing Organization: KETC-TV (Television station : Saint Louis, Mo.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-8dd9d8ad021 (Filename)
Format: 16mm film
Duration: 0:30:00
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Chicago: “Art as Education; Creative Crayon,” 1954, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Art as Education; Creative Crayon.” 1954. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Art as Education; Creative Crayon. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from