Lets Get Visual!
As an artist, I can draw much better when I look at something. I have always been this way, even in first grade, if you gave me something to look at, I could do a pretty decent job capturing that image. Then, I began teaching art, and the first few years I would tell kids to “draw a turtle” or “draw a fish” and I was so disappointed when they came up with something that looked like a pre-schooler did it. I wondered why I was not getting the results I wanted. I was trying to let them be creative, and not just have them copy MY drawing, but this resulted in zero inspiration.
Enter the visual library.
A visual library is simply a packet of images that each table gets in the art room. The images are meant to inspire or give students real life examples that correlate with the assignment at hand. Animals, Insects, shapes, etc are different visual libraries I have created.
To keep them organized, I put them in little “folders” and each table gets a folder. The students are responsible for organizing the visual libraries back into the packet at the end of art.
As soon as I started respecting the fact that I couldn’t draw without looking at something, so my student’s probably couldn’t either, the drawings in artwork improved greatly. Another thing I really like about visual libraries is it encourages observational drawing skills. Students aren’t simply mimicking what I am drawing on the board, they are forced to use their own skills to draw the object. Another great thing - All of the artwork ends up looking different – they aren’t all using a monkey because I did, the lesson differentiates itself to the student’s interests.
So, there its, the dirty little secret to better drawings! What are ways you encourage better drawing skills in your classroom?