Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anyone Can Sketch - Part 5




I'm finding that some of my own theories are being tested with this little family experiment. My hypothesis that "Anyone Can Sketch" is being challenged.  That small phrase does not take into account desire. Properly stated it would read, "Anyone can sketch if they really want to sketch".

I knew that in moving to sketching specific objects I would be presenting a challenge for my two little ones.  Both of them first responded, "I can't do that", when I told them what we were up to. Here is how I dealt with the challenge.


  1. I gave them simple objects to draw.
  2. Instead of having them look at the objects, while they sketched, I had them observe the objects and then draw them from memory.
  3. I praised them for the efforts no matter what the results (after all this is sketching not drawing).
  4. Before the second attempt, I sat them in my lap and sketched the objects while saying out loud everything I was thinking and doing.  This begins the process of teaching them to see what is really going on with the light and dark families and everything in between.


Here are their first attempts at drawing the objects from memory.


6 Year olds memory drawing of an
apple and pair


In this sketch you can see my daughters attempt on the
left as I explained the process and sketched the
same object on the right. As I was talking about the
shadow family, she cover the object in shadow and
then, via my instruction, she put the shadow on only
one side.


This is the outcome of my 8 year old and I doing side
by side sketches. Notice how general I am making the object
to help simplify the ideas for my son.


As with the other sessions one of the keys is to keep them sketching for around an hour if you can. I did this by allowing them to choose what they wanted to sketch.  The 6 year old loved sketching the still life objects I had and my studio and sketched about six different objects.




The 8 year old wanted to go back to drawing from his imagination (most of this involved explosions and battles of some type).  Both were equally adding to their skill base by training their brain, eyes and hand to work together.



I ALMOST FORGOT! - It is important when you are sketching objects to begin and introduce your students to the concept of the light and dark families. You do this by setting up the objects so that they are illuminated by a dominate single light source (see the above photo). You then need to view the objects from their view point and determine that they can see both a light and shadow side on the object. At this stage if you can get them to where they are getting this general drawing concept you are doing GREAT!  With my 8 year old I was able to also show him that most of the time the dividing line between the light and dark families is rather soft (as opposed to a hard line) and he picked it up pretty well.

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