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Lesson Plans

Betty Edwards and Other Drawing Strategies

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Deb Rosenbaum (kaca)
Sun, 13 Sep 1998 20:48:03 -1000

An art teacher I know who is a ceramicist by training was having a lot of
trouble teaching drawing so she picked up this book and began using its
exercises to teach a skill she still didn't have. You absolutely can not
teach drawing if you can't draw yourself, yet I have seen many art teachers
attempt this. That would be like me, brain dead in math, trying to teach
calculus from a math textbook and expecting my students to "get it."

I would like to make a suggestion to any one using this book
or others like it. DO the course of study yourself, from start to finish
before you "use" it in your classroom. It is a wonderful course and you
will draw 100% better for having done it, if you DO IT ALL. You'll know
which exercises are boring because you did them already and you will figure
out ways to adapt them to your students.

There have been many good suggestions offered here lately on ways to use
this book. I have always
found the Picasso upside-down drawing to be a great confidence builder for
beginning students of all ages. Everyone is impressed with how well they
do on this project, but it does require a lot of heavy concentration. As a
reward, I ask students to creatively color in Mr. Stravinsky--they do cool
stuff with his clothes, adding hats, earrings etc! Improvement in drawing
is directly connected to experiencing successes along the way.

In my Art I classes I put great emphasis on drawing for the first quarter.
I use a lot of Betty Edwards for beginning exercises but over the years
have adapted and mixed them with various other lessons especially shading
and value projects (which are minimal in Edwards book). The negative space
lesson IS particularly difficult, especially with chairs. I have tried
using a bicycle and other objects but the one that works best is where I
crop fashion catalogue figures so that all four side of the figure touch an
edge--then the kids trace the rectangle on their paper and attempt to draw
the negative shapes behind the figure. Older kids are much more intersted
in drawing the figure than objects. If you just tell them to draw the
figure freehand first and then have them draw just the negative shapes,
they will be very impressed with their improvement.

Aloha, Deb Rosenbaum