This master’s thesis focuses on the practical, theoretical, and educational levels of art and explores the expressive capabilities of graphite.
At the art practice level, I planned a wordless picture book entitled Stara hiša (“The Old House”) and illustrated it using the monochrome graphite pencil technique. This enabled me to discover and prove that a vivid and diverse illustration can indeed be achieved even through the use of mere graphite.
At the art theory level, I did a formal visual analysis of the illustrations, presenting the elements of art structure use and highlighting the complex internal structure of each illustration and therefore justifying the application of the picture book Stara hiša as an educational tool in an art class.
At the art education level, I used my picture book in my own teaching practice and covered the concept of point and linear texture with 3rd grade students at an elementary school in the Central Slovenia region while adhering to the curriculum. I conducted a qualitative educational study whose objective was to examine the students’ reaction to the graphite pencil drawing technique through the analysis of the artwork they made during the art class I led and the transcribed interviews I held with them.
The study established the wordless picture book Stara Hiša as a successful motivational device. The book proved not only to be an effective educational tool for the teacher, but also a tool for a student’s independent learning, as it encourages them to observe and understand the characteristics of the art language on a deeper level.
Despite it being a monochrome technique and therefore possessing certain drawbacks in technique and expression, the expressive capabilities of graphite are extensive and can be used to further the quality of an artwork – which held true in both my own teaching practice and the art practice of the students participating in the study – I expect the observations and findings of this master’s thesis to help identify and further the use of the countless possibilities this basic, frequently disregarded and underestimated art technique. Children today – in a world of color oversaturation, false splendor, excessive decoration and unambiguous images – should not be deprived of the opportunity to develop a sense of art appreciation and of what is good, valuable, and of high quality in art.