I am an elementary school art teacher and I do teach my students drawing
techniques as part of a larger curriculum that also contains aspects of
various cultures, art history, design, importance of art in a community,
etc.... I believe that anyone can be taught how to draw. I love drawing
myself and started taking drawing lessons at a young age. However it is
also important to realize, which I am sure you do, that drawing is not the
only form of self expression that needs to be taught in the art classroom.
Other forms and concepts of visual communication are also very important.
Lets face the fact that for children to be successful in art they need to
discover their strengths and also what they enjoy. Some students may enjoy
design and color mixing, but hate to draw and they will be very successful.
The is so much more to art.
The reason why "Johnny Can't Draw" is simply because no one taught him how!
It is incredible, that in the age of high tech and science, there are still
those individuals out there who continue to cling desperately to the notion
that the world is still flat!
With all the current biological information, beginning with the research on
right/left brain activity, conducted by psychologist, Robert Ornstein's,
and the more recent work of neurologist, Frank Wilson in 1999, many
elementary teacher candidates are still being taught that to teach young
children to draw may inhibit the creative process. Let us attempt to dispel
this erroneous supposition once and for all.
Children are born into this world ready to learn anything, in some
instances, maybe not always well, but they can learn. As an example, let us
focus on the skill of drawing.
Many Americans pride themselves on the notion: "I can't draw a straight
line even if given a ruler." Give a No. 6 round watercolor brush to a
Chinese or Japanese child of the age of eight, and that child will
demonstrate a control and dexterity that would shame most American adults.
Give the same brush to an American second grader, and most like he or she
will scrub with it. Asian children learn to draw remarkably well simply
because their language communication skills relyon their ability to draw.
As both Ornstein and Wilson indicate in their research, if young children
are not taught to visually discriminate between objects in their immediate
environment, or learn eye/hand coordination skills early in their
education, these abilities tend to become thwarted or lost altogether.
Perhaps that is why so many elementary school teachers avoid the teaching
of drawing skills to their students. But there is hope.
Using the research of Ornstein and his cohorts, Betty Edwards has
experienced a degree of success in teaching drawing skills to adults
through her book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." In the 1940s,
Kimon Nicholaides's book "The Natural Way To Draw" expanded upon the
1919-33 Bauhaus School of Design curriculum. In 1965, UCLA professor of
art, Joseph Mugnaini, published "DRAWING: A Search for Form" expanded on
the thesis that adults who come with a receptive attitude, time for
practice, and a great deal of perseverance - can learn to draw!
Ask any practicing professional artist and he or she will tell you that, 1)
started at a young age; 2) kept practicing through adulthood, and, 3) uses
these skills on a regular basis.