SchoolArts Magazine

January 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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18 SchoolArts Early Childhood Studio Lesson Grasshoppers, turtles, and even a horse (brought to school by a friend on my request), have all been welcomed as subjects. Approaches to Drawing Here are some of the methods and techniques I've developed over the years to help students learn to observe: • Before handing out paper and pencil, ask students to look closely at what they will be drawing. I may ask a few questions about the object that require close inspection. I might tell students to imagine they are astronauts who have just landed on another planet. The first thing they see as they venture from their spacecraft is the item they will be drawing. I ask them to describe this never-before-seen object back to NASA. • Give students pencils or felt-tip markers only. No erasers! Students who are unsure of themselves will spend more time erasing than drawing. • Contour drawing is usually the best T aking the time to look closely— really closely—is a learned skill. In our fast-paced world, acquiring focused attention is as important as ever. Practicing obser - vational drawing is the most effective means I know of for teaching students to "see." Choosing the Right Subjects In 1964, my eighth-grade art teacher took our class outside with paper and drawing boards and assigned us to draw one of the huge oak trees that grew on the school grounds. I remem - ber it as an impossible task. Frustrated, I had no idea where to begin between the thousands of leaves, hundreds of intertwined branches, and rough tex - tured bark. Keeping my own experience in mind, I have found that small natural objects are the perfect way to start, since they are plentiful and allow each student to have something at his or her desk to hold and study intimately. Wildflowers, leaves, and other plant materials collected along the roadside on my commute have provided good subjects for young students. Live animals, while requiring a little more effort on my part, have also found their way into my classroom. DRAW Craig Hinshaw LEARNING TO LEARNING TO SEE

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