One of the challenges I’ve come up against in giving these basic drawing assignments is the general conception of art as some kind of specific skill or talent. Most of my students have only experienced art as something you either can, or can’t do- primarily because, from what they’ve told me, art classes at school are primarily for the most talented and the kids who aren’t the “best” artists don’t have much interest in them.
What this means for my classes, is, even when the focus of the work is on what each student has to say (rather than the precision with which they can draw a certain thing) I still get a lot of:
“I don’t know how to draw…” and “I can’t do it…”
So, after noticing this attitude from the majority of my students, the third week we talked quite a bit about what it means to be an artist, who can make art, and why. One of the things I tried to stress was the idea that everyone has something important to say- as cliche as it sounds. Most of my students may not be “experts” on any specific aspect of art, and may not have a lot to say on any specific subject- but if there is one thing that they are “experts” about it is their own lives.
With this in mind, this week’s assignment focused on telling the story of their own lives. As a group, we came up with a variety of topics they would like to respond to within the pages of the book, then we set to work creating the physical books and filling up the pages.
Here is an example of what one of the finished books looked like:
The topics for each page are as follows:
- (Title Page).
- Where I was Born.
- My Home.
- Hy Heritage.
- My Friends and Family.
- Things I Like.
- Things I Dislike.
- The Best Thing About my Life.
- The Worst Thing About my LIfe.
- Things I Hope For.
Obviously, with nine pages for each of my students, I have more results than would make sense to put on this blog. So, the next few posts will be a selection of responses for each themed page.