Aiden, Moses and John all in the midst of their art-making (:
Drawing is a teachable subject and artistic talent can be developed. I now realize that such success can be expected when you create a safe environment and give students the information they need
-Mona Brookes,Drawing with children
I have always believed that everyone can draw and that there is no such thing as one “cannot draw”. As stated by Mona Brookes, drawing, like speaking, was a natural form of human communication. As evidenced in caves and tombs thousands of years old, our ancestors related their history, king’s importance, wealth and victories through their drawing. In our time, this form of human expression is considered child’s play. Well, it’s time for change!
If you observe closely, younger children are more “free” with their drawing and do exercise more artistic freedom. But as children start to grow older and start relating their drawings to real-life object, thinking that their drawings do not look “right”, they end up feeling frustrated and annoyed and without proper motivation, soon as they enter a self-cautious age of nine to eleven, they will start to worry that their drawing is “not good enough” and reach a time when they will completely put the pencil down concluding that they are just “not gifted” to do this. This is the reason why most adults have the mindset that they cannot draw or has no artistic flare.
However this attitude can change! Therefore in my classes, I make it a point to always encourage the child whenever they show signs of being uneasy or not confident in their strokes and drawing, stressing that it is alright to make mistakes and that there is no right or wrong in drawing, working towards creating a safe environment for learning and growing. When things are set on the right path, sooner or later, wonderful things will spring out as creative sparks fly and go out of control as beautiful artpieces emerge with free and loose strokes and children gets revived to draw endlessly and happily. And this applies to “big” kids alike as well, try it! it’s really true (:
To me, the creative process speaks louder than the results of the artwork. Mothers have feedback to me on how art teachers can get too result-oriented that they overlook the child’s abilities and start to take things into their own hands (literally) and take over the pencil. For me, I make it a point that the child’s own strokes is what’s marked on the paper, though guided but not my own lines. Even if I have to correct the strokes, I will hold their hand to draw it out rather than take the pencil over to correct it. (Only in very very very rare times will I do that!) But it is important that the child see the work as their own creation and not something “teacher” tell them to do. In such a way, beautiful artworks would emerge even if it is not result-oriented.
Drawing has an important advantage of being fun and play. Because it has not been an academic subject, measured and judged as have reading and math, it is free from most of the baggage related to fear of failure and anxiety around academic success. People are willing to do it for the very pleasure of it and if encouraged to learn how to do it in a climate of safety, they would build competencies without even knowing they were doing.
-Mona Brookes, Drawing with children
I find it very important to emphasize the FUN! aspect in art-making. Drawing is always fun and should not be something stressful at all. You will find that my classes are always exciting, fun, whacky and having tons of room to explore yet still keeping the table and house clean =x
Methodology & Curriculum
In art sessions, children are trained to “look”. As drawing is a process of learning how to see with our eyes, and then letting the mind “look” and configure what we see before allowing the hand to draw accordingly. While observing the things around them, and bringing to class real-life drawings and images, kids will learn how to break objects into shapes and lines, realizing that drawing is not so hard after all, it is simply the combination of many shapes and lines placed properly together and vuolah! you get a masterpiece. Other than visual perception, kids will touch on visual-spatial organization as they learn how to draw things in its correct size to fit the page and how to compose and frame an interesting artwork and find ways to fill up their drawing paper.
As much as guided drawing is always implemented as I guide the children to create the various lines and shapes, I always leave enough room for their creativity to flow as I leave it open to them as to how they fill the background or how they want to color their picture (as long as they are clear what it looks like realistically, they’re allowed to explore), or how they want their subject matter to look like. Hence there will always be a balance between guidance and improvisation which I always seek to create.
Also I am flexible and open to how the curriculum can be shaped and structured. Since it is a private session with the children, the classes can be shaped according to what the children want to learn or like to draw because learning can still be done even when they are drawing their favorite robots and princesses. There can also be sessions where we create birthday gifts according to what special occasions comes up on the calendar.
our craftwork sessions complete with uhu glue, messy tables and jumping clay!
Other than art sessions, we will also have craft sessions where children get to practise their cutting, moulding, shaping and gluing skills and see things no just two-dimensional but also in a three-dimensional way! Inclusive to that, I will slot in sessions where the children learn about famous artist and their painting and then try their hands on how the artist sketch and paint. Below is Daniel, trying out Van-gogh’s way of dashing and creating textures on his artwork.
Whenever we have the time, we will always play some art-related games such as Pictionary where the children gets to guess what each other is drawing, and also Drawing Relays, making learning fun and enjoyable. Additionally, I will also bring in award-winning children books to class where we will look at the ways the illustrator draw the story out and be inspired to do our own artwork based on the story.