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Lesson Plans

Re: Same wavelength! (Drawing)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Carolyn Roberts (b2w6w4kn)
Sat, 26 Oct 1996 08:28:00 -0700

Want to add another (long) comment to this post from last Sunday...

> Mark Alexander wrote:
> 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.
> Mark Alexander
> ........................................
> 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.
> Thom Maltbie
> .......................................
> 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 he did, made no historical references, came up with no orginal ideas,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
> eye.
> San D
> ...............end messages............
> 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?
> Bunki Kramer

I also agree with what's been stated. There are so many ways of learning
and the only way to try to reach all students is to use SEVERAL methods
of teaching, which is what I try to do. I teach contour drawing, gesture
drawing, how to measure when drawing faces, etc....I try to use every
method I can think of to reach my students. I also teach students "how
to see" what's in front of them, but some will never "see" it, unless
they actually see it drawn on paper for them. I find that this age
group has more difficulty drawing from their imagination, but I do not
think this holds true for elementary students.

I know I'm opening a "can of worms" with the following statement, but
some students may possible ONLY learn by copying and this has been a
practice throughout history. I find that students will copy what they
see WHILE it's in front of them, but when it's not there and as they
practice on their own, their own style begins to form. No matter what
the opinion is on copying, students are going to do it...they copy each
other's drawings that they like all the time.

And, when drawing, some will always revert back to their favorite
symbols...why, because it is easy and they forget. They need practice
drawing everyday. That's how we got where we are.

A couple of interesting statements were made in an 8th grade class this
week after several lessons in how to "see" (I'd rather say "draw").

One student who is a very accomplished "drawer" (comes from a family of
professional artists) said that he didn't think students needed to be
taught how to draw, because he says as they mature, they will see that
their symbols do not look correct and will change them on their own.
His mom says he has NEVER drawn symbols that she remembers.

Another student with "poor" drawing skills, said she didn't think
drawing should be taught, because she would then be expected to improve
her drawings. And it was too difficult to learn how to draw
better...her symbols were much easier.

The students had been learning how to "see" and show form in cylinders,
boxes and houses and they were in the process of applying what they had
learned by drawing a still life of boxes, one closed and one open on top
of the other one. They were having to look at the angles and it's not
easy for them.

Another student made a comment to his parents that the drawing lessons
were really helpful...that he could actually NOW see how the angles on
boxes and houses really looked. And his drawings since the lessons do
NOT look like what I drew in class.

I always have my students pretest by drawing first what we will be
learning. I keep their work from year to year (6-8th grades) and the
work in the 7th and 8th grades do not look like what we actually drew in
class in the 6th grade. Students at middle school age know their
drawings do not "look right" but do not know how to correct this. They
need to be shown. They gain confidence after we do some drawing lessons
and their work never looks like mine, nor does the work from all
students look alike.