Saturday, March 13, 2021

Back to School


For the first time in months, I had teaching to do this morning.  My brother had suggested paying off some of my debt to him (moving related) by giving his daughter some drawing lessons.  Since teaching drawing is something I have done for years, seemed a good idea. Plus, I had seen her work and I knew she was no worse than some of the college students I was used to, and possibly better that some.  And we could both use some practice.

I've taught drawing many times (the above photo is from one of my 2D classes from years ago) so I had a plan.  In college, drawing was often part of 2D design, or Basic Drawing, or Introduction to Art, things I have probably covered at least 25 times, so I knew what I was doing, and it always starts with shoes.   This was how my first art class began in the 1980's, and it still works. However this was not college, so the format was more like the adult school class I taught a few times in Ocean Grove last year. Started with the shoes then, too. They sit still and work for free.

In the past I brought a giant bag of old shoes (mine) and gave students the choice of take one from the bag, or take one off your own foot.  If they tried to just draw from a photo they pulled up on their smart phone, I put a stop to that.  Real shoes are three dimensional, and photos are already images reduced to two dimensions, so you are already losing a dimension from your source if you are doing that, and a chance to learn a skill.  I'm not even sure if my niece has a cell phone, so we went straight  to selecting a shoe.  (had some women's options from the ones dug from my closet a few weeks ago, which she selected-better anyway)  She had brought a nice set of pencils and stuff, so we were in good shape with supplies. A large pad would have been better, but most of my students at college don't have then on the first day, either, and some never get them.  With last year's covid related problems, we were given instructions not to hold students to materials and let them use what they could get, so I allowed any kind of pad, crayons instead of pastels, etc. Even gave some suggestions online for substituting, something artists have to do a lot.

The shoe lesson is pretty basic, like I said, something I've done many times.  It went well.  I was told I had at most an hour (at college, we have 3-4 hours to fill usually, but I can adapt) We just did the first three types of contour,  the most important ones. As I told my student, this is the starting point of all drawing, and with this tool she could eventually do anything.  From here it's just practice.  Next week we move onto negative space.


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