I am also using the Betty Edwards exercises with Art I students. When it
comes to the stage of positive negative, the project moves slightly away
from Betty Edwards. After drawing a positive negative image of a man and
then a woman from handouts, there are exercises on drawing portraits-the
proportions of the features, etc. and then I'll have the students draw
themselves from the photos I took of them. This is a long project and I do
a lot of pep talks to keep everyone motivated. We're just beginning the
actual portraits and they seem ready and eager. I'm saving lessons on
sighting, perspective etc. until later, maybe combining them with painting
> From: Debra Hyland <hyland5>
> To: artsednet.edu
> Subject: Drawing Lesson Suggestions - Help! (and a little schedule
> Date: Friday, September 11, 1998 11:46 PM
> I'm another "lurker" who's been reading this listserv for almost a year
> now, but I rarely post anything. I've learned so much from all of you
> that I have a notebook FULL of many of your lessons, tips, etc. I'm
> teaching all the Art in a small K-12 school (and some P.E. too!), and
> consider myself a generalist in art, (since it's my minor, and I didn't
> have an emphasis in any one area of art.) I was in college in the 70's,
> and my drawing courses (actually, I only had one!) were SO free and
> unstructured that I basically don't have much knowledge about teaching
> it! I finally got Betty Edward's book this summer, am reading it, and
> love it! Decided to try out her methods with my Art I kids.
> We started out real well - now we're to the positive shapes/negative
> spaces section, where she wants the kids to see and draw the neg.
> spaces, rather than the objects. I don't think I'm getting this across
> to the kids - any suggestions? Also ( this is our 3rd week of school),
> they're getting tired of doing these exercises - even though I can see
> most are improving at least a little. They all want to know when we'll
> get to do the "fun stuff" - like printmaking, ceramics, etc.
> I must admit, I'm not sure where to go from here - my thought is that
> maybe they don't feel like they can draw any better than previously, and
> are bored, even though I'm trying to emphasize to them that we're trying
> to retrain how they see things, etc., etc., as stated in the book.
> The next sections in the book are on sighting, and perspective, which in
> the past, I've touched on later in the year.
> I'd like to help them improve their drawing skills, (and be able to
> recognize improvement!), and stay interested. Any thoughts,
> suggestions, lesson ideas, tips, etc. from you "pro's" would be GREATLY
> appreciated! At this point, I'm tempted to move to something else for a
> few weeks - (maybe some printmaking assignments with emphasis on line,
> shape, etc.), and then return to drawing. I REALLY want to get them
> excited about what they are capable of, and not just have them give up -
> but I just don't know where to go with this!
> Thanks for your help!
> P.S. OK, you whiners - how about this schedule? Elem. Art(grade varies
> each day), Elem. P.E., Jr. High Art, Elem. P.E., Art II, Elem. P.E. Art
> I. (Oh, yes, I'm 8th grade class advisor, too, and teach a one quarter
> Humanities-Visual Arts course 2nd quarter). Life is never dull, but at
> least I have a plan period this quarter!