It’s become a cliche by now, but is as true as it ever was:
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain
an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso
I have accepted the challenge of giving drawing lessons once a week to an adorable 8-year-old girl. She has an above-average ability to make art that is charming and whimsical. Her family had recognized this, and wanted to see if she might sharpen her skills with a few lessons.
I showed her some photographs and asked her what she’d like to draw. She chose to draw a kitten. I took her through a slow and detailed lesson on how to “see” the kitten in the photograph rather than just drawing what she thought it should look like. She ended up with a nice drawing of a kitten in the middle of a very big piece of drawing paper.
So immediately she wanted to paint it. I gave her some paints and brushes and she painted the kitten and added her own environment to it — grass, flowers, the sun. It was a happy painting.
Another day, I showed her how to make prints on my gelli plate. She fell in love with that and made a big stack of prints to take home. We also went through some exercises drawing basic geometric shapes and how to make them three-dimensional. During those first sessions, I was just getting a feel for where she is, and how to proceed.
We took a break over the holidays, and now she will be back tomorrow. I’ve decided that it’s time to buckle our seat belts and focus on drawing, because that’s what her family wants her to do. I happen to think she’s a little young to be pushed into difficult drawing lessons, for fear of turning her off completely, so I’ll try my best to keep it fun and interesting. I’m going back to my old resources for that. We might do some blind contour drawing, some upside-down drawing, and of course we will do still life.
In the meantime, I feel it’s important to sharpen my own drawing skills. After all, I might be called on to give her a demo at some point. In the process, I’ve become rather addicted to doodling and drawing in the early mornings. It’s become almost an obsession, and I mean that in a good way.
This week I sat in the studio with my little dog Angie sleeping on her bed beside me. I looked around for something to draw, and there she was. I meant for it to be only a sketch, but I was trying out my new gray-toned paper with some colored pencils, and one thing led to another. She noticed I was staring at her, so she woke up and lifted her one ear a little. I was able to get that pose fairly quickly, but then she closed her eyes again after a while. This is the final result:
The important thing that I want to convey about drawing is that if you think you’re bad at drawing, it only means you need to draw. We didn’t learn to write without a lot of practice in elementary school. I believe that if drawing were taught as a regular school subject, we’d all be pretty good at drawing too.
This is a great video that will introduce you to a world of good drawing resources. If you find it intriguing, you might want to explore the links and videos from this channel.