Choosing Materials and Overcoming Our Fears
10 Reasons Why Sketching is The Best Hobby on The Planet!
- You can do it anywhere
- You get to look at the world the way Monet, Renior, Sargent, Piccasso, Degas, Wyeth, Russel, Homer, Davinci, Rockwell and other great artist did.
- You begin the life long process of learning to see
- You begin the life long process of learning to draw
- You have hundreds of options on "how" to sketch
- It's relaxing
- If the digital world comes crashing down you will still have something to do.
- You have a unique way of making a memory
- Because we sketch to render a "general" idea about a subject are sketching is never bad
- IT IS VERY INEXPENSIVE!
So let's take a look at these inexpensive supplies.
Although there are countless options, on what you can sketch with and what you can sketch on, here are the tools that my children and I will be using.
- Pencils -any #2 pencil will work. I prefer the softer art pencils anything labeled with a "B" in the softness description.
- Pen's - any ballpoint pen that doesn't get sloppy while your sketching.
- Markers - one that's not dried out.
- China Markers - you can get these at officemax/ office depot, there about a dollar a piece.
- Kneaded Erasers - you will need to go to an art supply store for this. They are fantastic for removing charcoal and graphite.
- Charcoal - not needed but it can be fun. VERY MESSY!
- CHEAP water colors - The brushes in these cheap sets are worthless so I have bought some better brushes at Michaels.
I am going to give all these mediums as possible options and let the kids decide which works best for them, but our first day consists of trying some of them out while gaining some confidence (overcoming our fears).
My basic approach to overcoming the fear of sketching is to help them realize there is really no fear to overcome. Since sketching is a general rendering of an idea there is really no bad sketch or good sketch, but to add confidence we begin with activities they already know how to do disguised as trying out our individual materials.
I first ask them to scribble on a separate page with each of their materials. So we will have one page full of pen scribbles, one page full of marker scribbles etc..
Encourage them during this exercise to try applying different amounts of pressure to they're sketching tool. "See how lightly you can apply the pen". You soon find that certain tools can be used very lightly, other tools can be applied in a heavy handed manner and others break when you press to hard. This fall I plan on teaching the kids to draw and "light pressure" is a crucial skill in drawing will. So allow them to scribble away with the sketching tools you have picked and ask them to describe which one they like best and why they like it.
NOTE: As a parent your response to what they sketch should always be GREAT JOB! This will change when we move into "drawing" in the fall where the goals will be more quantifiable.
I then asked my children to take then sketching tools they enjoyed the most and to simply fill up a page with different size squares.
|Karis age 6|
|Cole age 8|
At this stage in life so much of there ability to move the pen or pencil where they want to has everything to do with experience. Miles of lines on paper will equal an increased ability to put those lines where they truly want them. They don't need to know this at this point - but it is the truth of the matter.
We then did a little drawing from our imagination. I simply asked them to choose their own subject and sketching tool and to put down on paper what they wanted. Most children are great at doing this. It really allows you to see what is most important to them. (you'll often find in younger children they will leave out the torso when drawing a human. This is because the parts that they notice are arms, legs, and faces)
|Cole - A Dog|
|Karis - a dinosaur|
This exercise was to cover our paper in charcoal and then remove shapes out with our kneaded eraser. This is not a very practical way to sketch on location but it does introduce they idea that in nature we observe overlapping shapes as opposed to well defined lines..... and it's kind of fun!
|This is Cole drawing around the|
shapes he made with the
eraser. He like defined shapes!
|Karis went with a symbol she is familiar with.|
My older children did these exercises as well but were not as easily as entertained. If you have teenagers you are introducing to sketching you might want to teach them longer and encourage them to draw abstractly with all of the mediums to really get a handle on how they feel.
Our final exercise of the day was to draw a piece of fruit from life and introduce the concepts of light and shadow. I did this just to start making them familiar with the light family and dark family so that when we start drawing in the fall, it will not be a new concept. So I simply used a pencil to point out where the light side of the fruit was and where the dark side was - showed them by drawing the two myself - and then let them have at it.
|Karis's Orange - Note that she added an arrow|
at the top right corner indicating the directin of
the light. This is because I had done this on my
drawing when explaining the light and dark families.
Once again, it is important to remember that this is all about familiarity. They are going to want to sketch things that they can be proud of and that emotional enjoyment for the most part comes from a positive response from their teacher. There is a chance you will have a perfectionist on your hands who cannot satisfy his desire to record what is in front of him. This can be frustrating but it is actually a good thing. It means that he has a keen sense of visual spatial relationships ..... he will have an excellent chance at developing great drawing abilities if he can hang in there!
You can add to the excitement about the next sketching trip by encouraging them to find something to store all their stuff in! I did this by simply exposing them to the small pencil box I keep my pen's in. As sad as it is, one of the things that gets me out of the door to sketch in the mornings is having all of my supplies in a nice tidy package. It just makes me want to sketch.
Next Trip - A more detailed exercise in sketching from the imagination.