Monday, January 3, 2022

Once an art teacher, always an art teacher!

Now that I have been teaching art for some time now, I have a hard time turning my teacher brain off! As I was working on this drawing, I kept thinking about all of the things that I would tell my students to notice if they watched this video, or what I would tell the if they were creating a similar drawing (newsflash, they will be, quite soon!)

It was also heartening to realize that I do, in fact, do the things that I am always telling my kids to do! I think they think I'm nuts, with some of the advice that I give (particularly the not using black for shadows part), but I truly do believe what I tell them, and am about to tell you :)

Some of the advice that I would give, that I think I did pretty well in this piece are as follows:

1. Don't be scared to start over! Students HAAAAATE to start over, and I get it, it's scary and hard and it sucks to have spent time on something just to realize that you may need to do it again. This is actually my 3rd version of this drawing. I did one in my sketchbook, liked it so drew it larger (you can see the remnants of it in the top right hand corner at the start of the video), but I didn't like it so I erased/smeared over it, and then did version 3 straight up on top of it. And am happier with this version than either of the 2 prior.
2. Plans are helpful, but sometimes you have no idea WTF you are doing till you do it! I hadn't intended for this work to be in color, it was black and white, with maybe some purple for my hair as I envisioned it in my head. But I was so confused by my earlier drawing, I had to add color to help me sort out new/old drawing, and then I just ran with it. Sometimes, you just gotta go where you drawing takes you!
3. Don't use just "skin" colors for skin tone!!!! I mean, you CAN, and some artists do that very convincingly. But after my initial pass of a skin tone, I ran with the reds, purples, blues and even some greens. I love it when you layer colors and the hints of one color peeps through to the next layer.
4. Avoid black holes!!!!! omg. If I have to take away one more black colored pencil LOL. To be fair, I did go in with some black conte crayon at the end, but only after I had exhausted my full repertoire of conte crayon colors. And I love working with black and white! But why make a shadow with just black when you can get such a richer more lively dark shade by layering colors?? My kids laugh at me b/c they know my answer to almost every color question is JUST USE PURPLE (so they won't be surprised when I show up to school with purple hair at least haha!)
5. Mark making is beautiful! STOP THE SMUDGING! I totally get it's not everyone's jam. But sooooo many of my kids default to using a smudge stick (or heaven forbid, THEIR FINGERS!....actually.... I smear my big charcoals drawings with my hands all the time for the same reason I tell them not too, shhhh!!!) In my opinion, this can be a bit of a cop out. If this is the ONLY way that students know how to create a gradient, then they won't have as many skills in their skill set as the student who can both use a smudge stick AND one who can use just the pressure of the pencil to create variances in value. I always feel like why learn only one method that only will get you one sort of result, when you could learn MANY methods and then choose the one that makes more sense for your desired goal????
6. LOOK AT YOUR SOURCE IMAGE! Students will spend more time looking at their drawing then at their reference and then wonder why it doesn't look right, ha! But no, my kids are doing well this year, and they suffered through a lot of blind contour drawings, and they are pretty good at actually looking at the thing they are drawing/painting. But watching this video made me laugh with my constant frantic head turning haha. It's because my computer is set up in the corner with my image. I usually have a print out but it was black and white so I preferred looking at my actual photo so I could see the colors better.
Can you see evidence of my tips in the video???

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