Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Semester of Student Work

This semester I adjuncted at two local colleges.  I taught representational drawing (drawing I) at one and figure drawing at the other.  I was impressed with the students overall, particularly their good attitudes and progress made over just 15 weeks.  

Below are examples, I tried to take one from nearly each student.

We started out looking at a single object and observing the texture, attempting to make marks in relation to that:

In figure drawing we started out with the skeleton, casts and line drawing:

(after drawing the skeleton several times, I had the model take the same stance and have them flesh in the body over top)

(this is a cast drawing, I took students on a field trip to PAFA for an afternoon for a change of scenery)

Next, we talked about value, finding lights and darks, in both classes.

(tried some subtractive drawings too which really helped some students)

Then we attempted combining line and value while beginning to discuss space and composition more fully: 

(I love this drawing by a student who had never drawn from life or with charcoal before)

We did a lot of charcoal work but spent a few weeks with ink for a little break:

(A student made this while really frustrated with ink, its a fist smashing a wall of glass he said, I love it)

To introduce the portrait which so many of them felt so hesitant about, we made different ink toned paper and did self-portrait collages:

Then moved to pencil:

and charcoal:

Towards the end, I began stressing how light can play into a drawing, particularly in terms of mood, and we did some with dramatic lighting and back lighting:

There were a lot of other really nice drawings.  A big challenge for me was getting them to see outside of subject matter and pure realism.  Many at first placed value on drawings that were the most 'photographic'.  I didn't allow them to work from photo at all and I think by the end they started to see strengths in the different styles and drawings made in class.  

Its hard to teach students to see without showing my own personal preferences, but I made a really concerted effort on this.  I showed a lot of different types of drawings at the beginning of classes, purposely finding artists whose work related to each of the students.  During final crit one student even said, "I want it to function as a drawing not just an image." Which is something I had never said.  I pretty much wanted to fall off my chair(which someone actually did at another point in the crit) and end it right there and then because it doesn't get better than that.  For all the outlandish, cringeworthy comments I heard...that made up for it.  It took me years to think like that.  I was lucky in the students I had my first semester and I am so thankful for that.  I am also thankful for the three week break off that colleges have between semesters.


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