“I can’t draw!”

This last Wednesday was a blast! I continued on from my previous Arts Ed lesson. Students brought an image of a place that meant something to them, or their families. A lot of students brought pictures of a beach somewhere in Mexico or Cuba, but some brought photographs of baseball diamonds and hockey rinks. It was AWESOME. They were so excited to show me what image they brought and to tell me about why it is important to them.

At the start of the afternoon, I had them raise their hands and tell me what we covered last week, then we went over the assignment from last week. A lot of students thought that “complimentary colours,” are colours that just look nice with each other. I explained again that they are colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel. To make sure they understood, we went over a few famous paintings such as “The Milkmaid,” and some Vincent Van Gogh works as well. I had them point out the complimentary colours in each painting.

After we finished going through the images, I set an apple, a coffee mug, and a water bottle at the front of the class, and asked them to redraw one of the three objects, but colour it using pairs of complimentary colours.

For example, they had to draw an apple with purple and yellow, blue and orange, or red and green. They had fun with the exercise, and they handed it in at the end of class.

That’s when we started the final assignment. They started to recreate their images. That’s when I started to hear them all say something along the lines of “I can’t draw!” Or, “I’m not good enough to draw this!” It was really disheartening! I knew that they all had a greater measure of talent than they were giving themselves credit for, and I made that clear. I sat down with every student who said something similar, and showed them that they can indeed draw. I walked them through steps to help them make the start of the drawing less intimidating. I told them to draw guide lines, or perspective lines (like what we learned in the last class), and then to separate the object or image into chunks. I told them to draw chunk by chunk instead of focusing on the entire image all at once.

I was scared to help these students at first because I’ve never really helped someone get over their fears of drawing. I haven’t even gotten over my fears of drawing. That’s why I was so pleased and excited when my instructions and tips seemed to completely turn it around for every student I talked to. One boy came up to me after he got half of his stencil done, and started telling me about how much the guide lines helped and how excited he was to finish the rest of the drawing. Watching students so clearly benefit and enjoy something that you provided to them is the greatest feeling in the world. They loved the lesson, and I showed them that they are more talented than they give themselves credit for. Wednesday’s lesson was an absolute success.

Thanks for reading,


Photo Credit: Martin Beek via Compfight cc

Apple Painting found here.


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