How to Draw a Cowboy Sitting on a Fence

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As a 12-year-old girl, I loved picking up the Sunday comics, settling into a chair around our kitchen table with a paper and pencil in front of me.  My favorite part of the Sunday comics was the "How to Draw" section, and I completely devoured it each week.  Some were more intricate and challenging than others, and those are the ones that stuck with me.  I want to share my favorite drawing from the 12 year-old me.

How to Draw a Cowboy Sitting on a Fence.  

Here is the video tutorial:

For extra fun, and color mixing practice, paint your cowboy when you are finished!

For even MORE fun, pass out this great color-by-number multiplication worksheet.  Kids solve the math equations and then color the cowboy picture according to the answers!  Simply click on the picture below!  

So you may be asking the question: Why is there a drawing tutorial on a Multiplication website?  Great question! You may have heard the words tessellations, patterns, and symmetry while studying both math AND art.  You may also be aware that many prolific artists must answer mathematical questions that arise in their artwork.  Take M.C. Escher, for example.  He no doubt answered the question:  How can I create a shape that, when surrounded by the identical shapes, will fit together without any gaps?  Our world is full of beautiful, intricate art created by talented sculptures, architects, and engineers.  Many well-known scientists use art to either illustrate their inventions, or used art to represent something that words alone could not express.

In an interesting article by Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen, not only does Jensen implore his reader to consider mathematics to have the same playfulness as do art endeavors, but he also concludes that "painting and mathematics share a programme aimed at developing symbolic, concise, and often very abstract, representations of reality."  While mathematics is the science of pattern, painting, he says, is the articulation through painting. He goes on to share many fascinating findings from history's notable artists.  It is an article well worth the time!    

Susan Steffani and Paula Selvester share their thoughts about the connection between math and art in this compelling article.  "Young children use drawing to design models to explain their mathematical reasoning, which assists in their comprehension and communication of math concepts  (Perry & Dockett, 2002)". They also go on to explain how recent studies have shown that early drawing difficulty has been linked to learning disabilities. Can children's drawing ability have an impact on early literacy and math test scores? Interesting to think about; a great read!  

I love to incorporate art into the math curriculum also, simply, because kids love to create and anytime we can make learning fun for kids is a win in my opinion!  :o)  

How have you seen math benefit art; art benefit math?  Thoughts?