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Thom, I couldn't agree more. When people ask me if I'll be teaching the
students how to draw, I simply say no. It throws them a bit until I
explain that I hope to teach them how to see and believe what they see. I
explain that I hope to teach them how to manipulate a variety of medium. I
intend to teach them how to use the elements and principles of design. But
I don't specifically "teach them how to draw." Of course I show the
students proportions, and different types of perspective, and how to draw
the large shapes first, but I am not interested in showing them symbols
they can use instead of relying on true observational skills. Furthermore,
drawing from memory and drawing from the imagination is much easier if the
drawer has had practice observing and drawing from life.
Eyes in the forehead, corner suns, "V" birds and "M" birds are symbols that
they learn very early. They are a kind of folk art formula that they pick
up from parents and peers. You can replace these formulae with other
formulae, but I prefer to emphasize observational drawing, or on the right
side of the brain, if you are into that. Measuring and creating formulae
are left brain activities. True drawing is right brain. You may have to
prove the reality of facial proportion by measuring, but nothing replaces
observing and continuous practice. My fifth and sixth graders draw every
week, from observation.
The same philosophy applies to teaching one- and two-point perspective.
Me too! (Besides, some students can "outdraw" me, but I always can "out
think" them). When I first came to this HS, I entered in the middle of
the year, and prepared "the other art" teacher's students portfolios for
college. One of the best "drawers" went on to Pratt, only to drop out 2
weeks later because he couldn't critique, didn't know why he drew what
he did, made no historical references, came up with no orginal ideas,
perspectives, or inventiveness. But boy could he draw! In fact, we
became friends, and now 20 years later he is established in banking and
draws for pleasure for his children. Not bad news, but he will be first
to tell you that there is more to the "drawing" thing than meets the
Hi, San D, Mark and Thom.....We are ALL on the same wavelength! I agree
with all your obervations, guys. My students draw all the time and through
observation and figuratively breaking down components. You mention teaching
perspective and observational skills and my students practice these as well
as imagination/creativity drawings. I only mention the fact of teaching
facial proportion and later the kids resorting to their former style when
left to their own devices....even THOUGH they've been shown correct
proportion and have practiced it. Surely someone else out there has seen
the same thing as me!! Where are you?
PS...I goofed and sent this post to someone and had meant to post it to the
listgroup. I asked that someone to post it back to me so I could send it
out. In that small space of time, I received several responses to my
question...most of these people were AFRAID/TOO APPREHENSIVE to post their
thoughts onto the listserve for all of us to read. SAD!!!!
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, California 94526