Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Teachers Drawing on Student Work

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
David Zimmerman (fastedy)
Sun, 12 Apr 1998 11:52:54 -1000


As a high school art teacher I often heard complaints like yours from
students when I tried to offer constructive criticism of their work.
Additionally, many of my ex-students would return to talk with me after
they'd begun to study art in college with similar gripes about their
college professors.

Here's what I tell them: Every artist who teaches will teach from his or
her own aesthetic--there isn't one way to do art but many ways. Each
teacher will teach his/her "way" of making art. You must go into an art
class with the attitude that the teacher has something to offer you, even
if his/her aesthetic is not the same as yours. In the situation you
described, my guess is that by seeing what the teacher sketched over your
sketch, you became more clear on what you wanted to portray. If that's
true than the teacher showed you something and helped you to define your
own vision.

You are a student, you are probably not an accomplished, mature artist and
you're in a class because you want or are required to learn--so its
unrealistic to compare your work with a "renowned" artist. If you can
humble yourself, you can learn a great deal--even if what you learn is not
to paint like your teacher! Sketches are not sacred art masterpieces--they
are visual forms of ideas in progress. Don't take it so seriously--the
teacher probably felt that drawing on your paper was the best way to
explain visually what he/she was trying to get across--words sometimes fail
us in art. If you really have a problem with teachers drawing on your
sketches, just tell them in a RESPECTFUL way that you'd appreciate them
showing you stuff on a separate piece of paper in the future.

I'm sure this isn't exactly what you wanted to hear. Some of the worst
teachers I ever had taught me valuable lessons and helped reinforce ideas I
already had. I remember hearing that lesson "humble yourself if you want
to learn anything" coming from an old guy I worked for right after college.
It was a small graphic arts company and I thought I knew a lot more than he
did about art. He was a boss and not a "teacher", but I ended up
remembering that lesson and have found it to be true. I learned a lot from

Deb Rosenbaum

  • Maybe reply: Lydia West: "Re: Teachers Drawing on Student Work"