What Should I Draw?

What Should I Draw?

One of the hardest subjects to get students to participate in is art. Most of them by the age of eight or nine have already decided whether they are good at it or not. If they feel that they are not good they will stop unless encouraged to participate in art. These students will participate in art history lessons. They will read the text book, but when it comes to putting pencil to paper they hesitate, big time.

Many of these students have noticed that their work is not as good as someone elses, or that their picture does not look like the real thing and many other reasons which they will not tell you. So they stop or they do a project half heartedly and get it out of the way quickly.

I can relate to how they feel. Many of you know how they feel. When I would draw on the blackboard we all had a good laugh because it was very obvious that my talent was not art. But, I still draw and enjoy doodling immensely. I wanted my students to keep trying to express themselves doing art, but I hit a wall. “We don’t want to draw.” “I don’t know what to draw.” I can’t draw, I’m not an artist.” Me! Draw, you’ve got to be kidding.”

One school year I decided to tackle this problem head on. I decided that: 1. There would be an art project due every week. 2. The assignment would be given every Monday and it would be due Friday. 3. The art project was considered as an assignment just like math and counted toward their grade. 4. Everyone had to do one and they were all to do the same one.

On Monday I gave them an Art Start which was generated from my computer. It had a picture in the corner, down the side, or at the top. There was always a Title to the page such as: My Castle and that was what the student was to draw. They could get ideas out of books or out of their heads, but there could be no copying or tracing. Soon I generated several rules about the art composition.

1. Use the whole page, not just the center.

2. No blood, guts, or things that would be considered offensive by someone.

3. No weapons because our school had a no tolerance policy and so did I.

4. No names of people could be used.

5. Color was needed because we see color and it is important in our world.

6. Be proud enough of your picture to sign it.

7. No laughing or negative comments about any picture including your own.

8. If you take it home it should not be folded or wrinkled.

On Friday or any day during the week the students could hand their drawing in. It was punched with the three hole puncher and put under the laminated title page in our classroom ART STARTS Book. This book was kept at the back table near the door where students, parents, teachers, principals, or anyone coming through could go through the book and enjoy the student’s art. Since I laminated the title page I was able to use the same title pages each new school year and not have to redo them.

The comments started to make when they looked at the book were quite interesting. They could say something like “That was a good idea, I never thought about doing that to my picture.” “Look at that one it is really awesome.” I think I’ll try something like that next time.” “Where did you get that idea from?” During spare time the students could be found back at the table going through the book looking at the pictures and seeing if they had improved.

Monday was a whole different day. Immediately after lunch my students would start asking for their new Art Start because they wanted to draw. There was no more “What should I draw?” because I gave them the idea and to my students that was the hardest part, coming up with an idea of what to draw.