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My niece is in her first year at secondary school and so is enjoying dedicated art classes for the first time. Her teacher chastised her for using an eraser to help create a smoke effect in her drawing arguing that, given the effect she wanted to create, it would be more constructive for her to learn how to render the effects she wanted with strokes and blending as opposed to smudging and dappling (use of eraser).
I have only been enjoying creating art for the last 3-4 years but my niece asked me for my opinion as she knows I draw. I can kind of understand the teaching here, but it seems a little heavy handed as, to me, the use of the eraser is a useful tool - hardly a dumbing down of skills to lump in with the use of PS filters.
I'm not sure how much of a big deal the teacher actually made of this - given the general level of oppression the average 12 year old fictitiously lives under - but it did make me stop and think. Anyone have any thoughts on this from an academic point of view?
I would kind of agree with the teacher, since maybe your niece doesn't understand form or normal rendering yet at that age. It takes a lot of skill to render correctly with an eraser.
We have one teacher where we learn how to render in tones with a kneeded eraser using charcoal dust.
Now, I did this in another class, and the teacher's stare was a "wtf are you doing?" stare, lol.
Some people think it's a good method, other people think that it's not.
I do see the reasoning behind the 'frown' when it comes to the use of the eraser - even when used to rub out wrong lines or guide lines. It would seem more proficient to concentrate on one good solid, confident line, and getting students to focus on the different techniques of pencil rendering, shading and hatching certainly makes sense.
As a casual sketcher at my later age (33) the act of discarding the eraser might push me to think about my lines more before I make them. I don't use the eraser much myself as I like to scribble, but surely when doing a study of a classical sculpture it is a good thing to keep those whites white?
Without knowing the exact context of the situation, it's hard to give an opinion.
To me anyway, an eraser is just another tool in the toolbox. It seems a little silly to suggest not using a particular tool. If it gets you the results you want, why not?
And besides, if the exercise was to learn to render forms w/o relying on an eraser, then why not just render in pen?
I use an eraser to create highlights on drawings and sketches where areas i have rendered are too dark for what I wanted. I've always been told theres nothing wrong with that, and I agree with pitabread on that it is just another tool in which you can use to achieve the effects you want. Also, it would depend on what exactly your niece was doing with the eraser on her work, and the context of the situation. Of course it is always better to learn to render without the need for an eraser, but as she is 12 she has plenty of time to learn, and I personally see nothing wrong with using an eraser.
What's so bad about that? It sounds like your niece was just being innovative. Like pitabread said, the eraser is a tool that should be used when the art needs it.
And besides, not all teachers (very few, in fact) know what's best for their students. Art is all about learning for yourself.
Check out my sketchbook? updated 02.01
I use the eraser to create clouds, smog and fog too...
I find it's the most efficient way, also, It's FUN!
I had a terrible art teacher, not dissimilar to the one your niece seems to have, who INSISTED that no "true artists" use black, pfft.
Tell your niece to make sure, above all things, that she keeps enjoying art and, in her studies, ask herself about the quality of the source of information: bargue or her school teacher ? You or her school teacher ? The World or her school teacher ? :p
Damned schools! They drive all the life and desire for learning out of you if you're not careful... with these wretched exams, teaching you how to be good at passing exams so you can pass exams, WOOPDIDOO : <
At my high school, there are no erasers (or black paint) in the art rooms and if you get one out, you have to hide it or get frowned upon (trust me, I know).
The eraser can be such an important tool, when used on its own or to rejuvenate the highlights from inevitable smudges. Its always a nice break to work backwards by covering the paper with graphite/charcoal and erasing your image out of it. As previously stated, it creates clouds and smoke that often look much better than trying to render the same object with a pencil and it takes substantially less time. However, if the purpose of the exercise was to get it right the first time, then I agree that you should not use an eraser as the image is not for display, but to train you to sketch something quickly for later reference.
I've heard of such teaching methods and while I see the point of that exercise, I find it weird that they do this to 12 year old kids. Any other kind of art course at an older age, no problem. But secondary school? They'll probably just achieve that those kids will loose their interest in drawing with rules like that. Instead I think they should teach them how to use an eraser properly. Avoiding erasers all together won't really help them on the long run as they're loosing one of their tools.
Then again my art classes in secondary school were pretty much crap and I wish my teacher at that time would have taught me at least something useful.
the technique use is not important, what is important is attaining the desired effect. there is not only one correct way to do anything in art, you could argue that some methods are more efficient than others but at the same time not all methods are suitable for all people. in one respect the teacher is right saying not to smudge, as smudging graphite often leads to a completely smooth drawing as once people start they dont know where to stop. so it depends on context ,are your nieces other drawings smudged to death? if so this is good advice to break bad habits, if not its just a very bad teacher who bases their assumptions about art on mis-phrases rules with out trying to understand them.