Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breaking It Down- Art

Art is divided into two categories; skills and appreciation. 

The library  and/or Wikipedia have many resources for studying famous Artists and their works. You don’t have to study them in chronological order, though it may help your children to keep them in place historically better if you do (adding them to a timeline would help this also). 

Then again, pursuing your and their interests (studying all horse or soldier painters for example) may bring enough extra benefits to outweigh keeping everything in Historical prospective. As always, experiment and see what works best for you.

Easy Peasy has links to free resources that teach appreciation, also. 

Most people have been taught in school and the media that art skills are things some people are born with and most people are hopeless at. 

This is not entirely true. Some lucky people are born with a natural knack for art, this much is true. 

But art SKILLS are just that, skills. Just like any other skills they can be learned by anyone willing to take the time and effort to learn them. Can you write your own name? Then you can learn to draw.

I have used both Drawing With Children and the Drawing Textbook with my children. Drawing with Children teaches the “Alphabet of drawing” (lines; straight and curved and, circles; squashed or not) and how to look and really see how things look (not how they ARE, how they LOOK). 

For example, the top of a box is square, but it usually looks like a squished diamond. The top of a cake IS a circle, but it LOOKS like an oval (how flat depends on the angle you are looking at it from. This is called foreshortening).

The Drawing Textbook (my favorite of the two) is a set of simple lessons teaching the rules of perspective, the “Grammar” of drawing, if you will. It begins with drawing a TV and progresses to a complex cityscape. Very simple and only $10.00. 

The library is likely to have the first book as well as other good resources to teach drawing with. I wouldn’t expect the second book to be there. It is available at Amazon and Lampost.com. 

There are also art teachers with videos on Youtube and some lovely curriculums available on the internet now. Check our Cathy Duffey's reviews.

The main key with drawing, though, is the same as with writing;
If you want to be an author, write something every day.
If you want to be an artist, draw something every day.
Be patient with yourself and your children. It takes time to get better.

1.    Things smaller and/or higher look far away.
2.    Dark things look closer than light things.
3.    Overlap objects to make one look closer than the other.
4.    Shade the side of an object away from the light. 

Painting is a different skill than drawing (you form shapes instead of outlining and you start in the back and work your way forward, while in drawing you start in the front and work your way back), but it isn’t really any harder. You can paint without knowing how to draw. Again most libraries as well as the internet have videos and books that teach painting, but the main thing to do in order to learn is to do it regularly.

 I assume sculpting is the same, though I don’t have nearly the experience with that medium.

  • Learn to recognize the ”alphabet” of drawing in everything.
  • Learn the “Grammar” of drawing (perspective).
  • Draw, draw, draw.