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K-5 Teachers Discover Strategies for Helping Students to Draw

July 31st, 2012

During the second day of the Art & Language Arts seminar, we were drawn to drawings! We explored different drawing tools, experienced a special VIP talk by a curator in our drawings department, and tried an activity that made us feel comfortable drawing—even those who were most skeptical of their artistic abilities.

For those who participated in today’s program, please share a strategy for helping students to overcome the fear of creating a drawing that doesn’t meet their expectations. How do we help students move past the idea that their pictures need to “look right”?

  1. Linda Szitkar
    July 31st, 2012 at 20:57 | #1

    Drawing animals using onlt geometric shapes was very freeing. Another thing that we can do, is show our students drawings from artists who came after the invention of photography. This was a time of experimentation with light, color, and form. We could also show them examples from artist’s sketchbooks. Having students do quick sketches (much like a quick write) is a way to get students just get an idea on paper and not worry about the finished product.

  2. Tan
    July 31st, 2012 at 21:32 | #2

    I think that we can help students get over realism in their drawings by using a strategy similar to free writing. I will have students sit in groups of 2 – 3. They will draw or sketch the same objects, and I will time it maybe 3 – 5 mins. Students have to stop and pass the drawing to the person next to them. They will have one minute to add to their friend’s drawing and pass it on. It will be interesting to see how it works out for drawing.

  3. Marla Axelrode
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:44 | #3

    The teacher could pass out a white paper that has a number on it (From 0 to 9) and tell the students that they are to use pastels, crayons, or colored pencils to make the number into an animal of their choice. They can also put the animal into an environment that will go with that animal. Since they already have a beginning place that is not normally associated with an animal, it may be less intimidating to create an animal from the number on the paper. It will be more like a game to transform one thing to another.

  4. Rosa Bogarin
    July 31st, 2012 at 22:49 | #4

    One way of helping students feel more comfortable drawing or sketching without the worry over realism is to expose them to sketching of simple shapes first. They may first practice sketching triangles in different sizes and different angles. By beginning with very basic activities and frequent practice in sketching, students may feel more comfortable when sketching. At the same time, we need to expose our students to works from different artists to help the students understand that an artist’s creation can be whatever the artist wants it to be.

  5. Harry La Motte
    August 1st, 2012 at 00:23 | #5

    Breaking the realism issue with the students was made simple for me today! I have dealt with students with confidence issues that could not put pencil to paper to do a sketch or original work. I have gained a powerful strategy to break that wall down. By working shapes into shapes into shapes, teachers can help those students with difficulty understanding their pictures don’t have to look perfect. By combining the simple shapes, students feel confident that they can express themselves artistically and appreciate their own works.
    As I wrote this my better half told me about a K-3 reading called “Ish”, by Peter Reynolds. A wonderful story about a boy who loves to draw, then has his love crushed. With the help of his little sister, he regains his confidence and draws again. He learns that the pictures don’t have to look perfect only the quality that makes it special.

  6. Diana
    August 2nd, 2012 at 05:45 | #6

    My students do sometimes feel apprehensive about drawing…because they either compare themselves to others or expect perfection of themselves. When they feel stuck or reluctant to commit pencil to paper, I first suggest they use shapes for their subjects, and I demonstrate the technique for them if they have not tried it before. Sometimes I print out a quick image or two from the internet to give them ideas. Beyond that, I suggest they get a “practice” paper and try several versions of what they are attempting. I might even pair them briefly with a kind classmate who can make suggestions and share how they would attempt the drawing. Once the practice drawing is done, the student usually feels confident enough to continue on the art paper.

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