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Re: [teacherartexchange] Learning by copying?


From: Gayle Parent (gayleparent_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 17 2008 - 17:48:31 PDT

When I began painting I was terrified of all that I had to do/learn
all at once. My beginning painting professor had us make collages in
our sketchbooks, then choose one from which to paint. That's not
copying, but I think copying offers the same sort of help. One can
begin to learn some skills with the materials while using someone
else's ideas for the composition, subject matter, etc. I felt less
overwhelmed working in that way. I was also given assignments in
drawing and painting classes to copy a master artist's work. That
was at two different universities. So....I see some decent reasons
for allowing students to copy. I've never known a serious artist who
wanted to copy for long. Copying is only a crutch or a learning tool
until one's own ideas begin to flourish.

That said, my elementary students often want to draw popular Disney
or other cartoon characters. I allow them to do that once in a
semester, if they want to, which seems to be an acceptable
compromise. They understand that copy means look at and draw, not
trace, and that they must always say that they have copied the image
from someone else.

On Aug 16, 2008, at 9:31 PM, Andrea Cope wrote:

> I'm about to begin my first year teaching high school art, though
> I'm a seasoned teacher in other fine arts courses. My colleagues
> insist that no copying ever be allowed, for any reason. While I
> understand the importance of the students learning to develop
> confidence in their own creativity, I also see the value of
> learning via imitation. I've certainly improved my own skills by
> examining drawings and photographs and trying to reproduce what I
> see. I saved all of the responses to the recent question about
> artistic process. Several of you mentioned working from
> photographs. How is that different? Or is it? I'd like to be
> able to offer a different point of view to my teammates but I need
> a better foundation. And I'm open to the possibility that my
> instinct is wrong. Do you allow your students to copy as part of
> the learning process? If not, why?
> Andrea
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