Tuesday, January 6, 2009
How To Teach a Child To Paint - Drawing an Outline or Simple Sketch
This post is part of a series of posts titled, "How To Teach A Child To Paint." This particular post focuses on drawing an outline or simple sketch. I recently presented this lesson to the children in my classroom. It requires only a few materials - paper, pencil and object to draw.
To assist the children in understanding what an outline was I showed them two illustrations. One was a coloring sheet and the other was a classification card sheet for parts of a turtle. I spoke to them about the absence of color, shading and details. How those were added later. I also described how many artists carry a small sketchbook with them when they travel - short distances and long. I told of how artists make quick sketches, or simple outlines, of a scene, an object or a person when they are out and how they return to those sketches/outlines later when they have more time to fill in the details.
Luckily, one of my students had taken an art class over the summer and echoed my description of drawing an outline / simple sketch with her own detailed explanation.
Next, I selected an object from the real and non-real tray. I slowly traced the outline of the object with my fingers, looked at it very carefully and then closed my eyes explaining that I wanted to see it in my mind before I started to draw. Next, I picked up the pencil and made a simple sketch of my choosen object. I showed the children. Many said that they thought that it looked just like the object. I then said that the work was finished. The drawing was complete. I carefully explained that no color pencils or markers were used with this exercise. It was not to be illustrated or filled in.
Not filling in the outline or illustrating it is perhaps the most challenging element of this work. A young and immature child will have to work hard to resist the use of colors. That requires much self-discipline.
Immediately following the lesson, one of my four year old, second year students did the work. I was so delighted to see her attention to detail and that she did not even seem tempted to use colors. I watched her look so closely and carefully at the object she had choosen that I could easily note her artistic skills and her observation skills.