Teach them to Draw: Follow Up (5th and Up)

Today I was introduced to a few new students who were all older ranging from 5th graders to Seniors in high school. As they came in I gave them all file folders and told them these were their portfolios and they would use them to keep their work stored and sorted. This gives me peace of mind knowing that I won’t lose their work and have a safe place to keep at least their preliminary, study drawings. They took to this very well, put their names on the top tab, and I handed out the study paper. Then I took out the infamous sailboat. Before I could say anything I got a reaction, “Woah! Are we going to build one of those?”
“No, we aren’t going to build one, but we will learn how to draw it!”
“That’s impossible, I can’t draw that, that’s too hard.”
“No, nothing is impossible, and that’s why you’re here! To learn how to draw. Right?”
“Great! So for now I’m going to hand you paper and I want you to draw this sailboat right now to the best of your ability. I want to see how well you can draw this without any instruction from me.”

The students began drawing, some better than others, but as I expected they drew the sails, then details of the sails, then the bottom, then the details of the bottom, and I could see most of the sailboats we out of proportion. However, I was pleased with their developmental capabilities and with this knowledge from this simple exercise I know what level they are on. From there I had them write their names on the paper and I collected the drawings. I then instructed them how to draw the sail boat. I talked about proportion, positive and negative space, we sketched the lines sectioning off the paper, and talked about the parts of the sail boat, the mast, the main sail, the deck of the boat, the bottom which looked like an upside down sharks fin. We related the shapes, and we sketched out the basics of the boat and i explained to them that the studies of the boat will help them for better planning in the future when they are ready to build the boat for their painting.

When they were done with the instructional drawing I passed back the papers and had them compare the old ones to the new ones and had them each say something about the improvements and differences of their first sketch compared to the instructional drawing. This was a great way to wrap up the class. I asked them to put away both the papers in their portfolios and dismissed them.

Overall I am extremely happy with how well this went. I am looking forward to next week when they get to draw the sailboat on the “good paper” and can explore water color and crayon resist paintings.


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