Did I mention I am doing a teaching gig? Ah, well, I am. One of my friends asked me last week if I could take over his Wednesday morning classes during October. We are slow enough at work so I took the job. It is at a private academy in Salt Lake and so far has been a lot of fun. The first one is a basic drawing class with 6 students...the oldest being 17, the youngest 14. They are bright and inquisitive and none of them are "natural born artists."
We watched a bit of a video last week and took a break halfway though so I could see their drawing skills...and found myself a little bit appalled. I scrapped pretty much any lesson plans I had had at that point and told them we were going back to basics! Helllooo cube! Helloooo cylinder, hellooo sphere! I think my friend is such a phenomenal artist that he forgets that people need to learn how to stand up before you start trying to choreograph a ballet.
The next class had only 5 kids, some of whom were also in the basic drawing class. I put one of the students up on a table, told her to strike a pose she could hold for 5 minutes and everybody was to draw her. Mostly I wanted to see what level this group was at..and when they were done, again, I threw any previous plans out the window.
I traveled back in time a little bit to my first figure drawing group and went the same route with these kids. Noting their perfectionism and fear of mistakes I took their pencils away, issued them all brush pens, barked at them to COMMIT and away we went with 5 second gestures. We mixed it up a bit with some continuous line drawing as I encouraged them to quit thinking of things in terms of body parts and try to see lines and shapes and forms.
It's HARD to draw people. We are far, far more critical of our people drawing skills than any other aspect of art because WE KNOW WHAT PEOPLE LOOK LIKE. If something is off even a little we beat ourselves up for a bad drawing.
I had each student model for 5 minutes, starting with 5 second poses and working up to longer poses.
It was amazing watching these guys start with 5 second scribbles and by the end doing minute long drawings. Every one of them improved dramatically and one of them it turns out has a real natural flair for it. All of their proportions improved dramatically and all of them started drawing more dynamically. THAT'S exciting.
Tomorrow with the drawing class is more basic shapes as well as a section on animation since they seemed rather keen on that. I told them I was a professional animator and got a lot of "oooohs!" I admit...if I had known a ME when I was in high school I would have thought I was a freaking ROCK STAR.