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Re: [teacherartexchange] copying


From: Jen Ellis (just.jen.ellis_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 13 2006 - 07:47:08 PDT

I am going to play devil's advocate here :)

I definitely do agree, observation is the most important and should be
stressed over and over in to be used in the classroom. But it
definitely isn't realistic to think you will always be able to teach
this way.

When teaching foreshortening, perspective, types of line it is often
good to consult a 2-d image, so you can really point out what is
happening in the image. Also if you are focusing on how different
drawing styles work, contour, shading, etc this can be shown better
with an example.

Most of my drawings I enjoy working on are nudes, but let's be real
here, I don't have a bunch of neighbors around me dying to be drawn
naked! I've paid money for a classes, but sometimes, I go in and take
a roll of film so I can continue to draw for a long period of time.
Otherwise I won't draw until the next opportunity comes around.

There were a lot of students that I know, drawing from observation,
(yes there drawings were very good), but they weren't actually drawing
what they "saw" but what they "think they saw" this is when drawing
upside down was introduced. So even though they looked "correct" they
were actually not really drawing relationships correctly. They were
struggling with the realtionships of body part to body part, how the
model was standing, etc. Once they were really seeing where the lines
were connecting, they were then able to concentrate on this more in
observational drawing.

I don't have a problem with drawing upside down. I think many students
have this immediate "i cant draw", or "i suck at this" or "i know i
can't get it" Drawing upside down actually makes their brain
concentrate on what they actually "see" so they aren't making things
up on their sketchbooks.

Also when teaching color that is something that doesn't come quite
easily to most, and sometimes it is nice to have an example, and be
able to zoom in on a skin area, and really see how the artist used
mulitple colors to make the skin tone.

I don't think I would ever discourage children from copying, tracing
etc. Animators use this skill every day in their field to make slight
changes in motion. They also create mini sculptures to reference for a
better idea of the proportions and relationships between each other.

Let's put it this way. If you are a skilled artist in the field of
drawing, and you take it up as a career, lets say (8-5) job you are
going to need to find shortcuts to help you accomodate the work load
that is expected of you. Need a background of an African Safari by
next week..........crap! I can't get there! Better find some pictures!


Again, I think of all of you are correct on observational drawing
being important, but I don't think I would discourage the other
methods so much so your children are ONLY drawing when they have
something to reference in life. Most of these children over time will
discover a specific subject that they love to draw over and over, but
maybe drawing this is not easily accessible.

This has been an interesting discussion so far. I am sure that some
will probably strongly disagree. But I wanted to think about the other
side of the coin. Thanks-

Interactive Multimedia Artist
Continuing Medical Education

On 8/13/06, M. Austin <> wrote:
> Ok, now I'm confused. The only time I allow my students to trace is when
> they need a "clean" copy of their own artwork. Usually because they drew
> with a grid and drew the gridlines too dark, or made excessive changes and
> again, too many eraser marks. So they go to the lightbox and trace their own
> drawing. My definition of copying is to look at a photo and draw from that
> rather than from life.
> ~Michal
> K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
> >> Jeff (Minnesota)says
> >> Step out of our own preferences and give our students the tools to
> >> become
> >> those "life long art makers".
> >
> > Drawing from observation is the major tool they require to be life long
> > learners in art, not tracing........
> ---
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