Monday, June 06, 2016

Art Materials Details Not Taught

 The most surprising thing about taking a Drawing I class at my community college is that we are not really being taught about the properties of the materials and how to actually use them. The course started with one professor who was ill and the class was taken over by another professor. So with two professors it remained consistent that we were not being taught how to use the materials before we dove in.

With the first professor I started just asking aloud to the class, every question I had. The way I see it, as a student I am the customer and the professor works for me. I am there to learn and what is not being directly told to me I have a right to inquire until I get the information I want.

Prior to this class I had taken some workshops. Every workshop I ever took was very hands on and it taught every single thing you needed to know about the material in order to work with it optimally. You can even get this information free on YouTube in tutorials now.

Sometimes in the Drawing I class the professor would criticize an artwork during the critique and the problem was based in poor choice of either the paper type used or the drawing implement. For example one prof kept saying one student's work was too light and I finally butted in and asked her which pencil she was using and she said 2H. Then the prof said 2H is only good for architects doing fine draftwork of blueprints. We were never even taught which pencils are hard vs. soft and which to use. The second professor said near the end of the class that he likes 3B. I had been using 4B and 6B only and I found I liked the softer pencils. In the start of the class I wound up using google to search for some answers about what is the difference with the pencil's numbers.

Some homework assignments were so vague I turned to YouTube to get the gist of the art project we were tasked to do then I followed the tutorials online to do the work which was indeed what the professor wanted.

I was using a 300 series Strathmore drawing paper and I had trouble erasing charcoal. We should have been told with the supply list to buy a certain specific paper weight. Also some students were using sketch paper, they bought the wrong paper but the profs said nothing in class about this. Then in the critique some students said the drawing got messed up as it was falling apart when they tried to erase back to get to white (because it was too flimsy). We were never told that the different papers have different tooth and that matters for the texture. I figured out some of this by just using the materials. Actually the second prof near the very end did suggest that if we were doing our final project in charcoal we should use bristol paper. That was not on the supply list and neither prof even explained to us what bristol paper was.

These is a very basic art supply information. If that is not appropriate to learn in Drawing I, I do not know when it is right to learn it.

I also read the textbook cover to cover and these things were never taught in the text. The text focused on showing famous artists' work from history and telling about different types of drawing techniques used. It did not teach how to do the technique but it would say, X drawing by -- done in charcoal on ___ substrate or it would say chiaroscurro is ____ and here is a drawing done in that style.

Near the end of the class professor B mentioned how he holds his pencil. We were all fixed already on pretty much holding it as we hold a pencil to write with. Why was that not taught on day one?

The professors had a different focus on what should be taught in Drawing I. I'll blog about that in the future. I want to get some of this written out before I begin taking the Drawing II class so the information does not meld together.

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