High school art teacher vs studio art teacher
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    Unhappy High school art teacher vs studio art teacher

    Ok so for this entire year i have been coming across the same problem... I am a junior in high school and i want to art school for college so obviously i am taking art at school as well as art outside of school but now i am not sure if art in school was such a great idea... In my fine art class at school i am currently getting a B.... and i think the reason may be that i am completely and utterly confused with what exactly is right and what exactly is wrong! My art teacher outside of school is in fact a art professor at 2 very distinguished colleges who have very good art programs and he teaches me everything from figure drawing to still lifes to animation in my portfolio class meanwhile at my art class in school i feel like i can have no artistic expression! My teacher outside of school will tell me one thing and then when i try to impress my art teacher in school with what i learned over the weekend she says it is completely wrong! now first of all i didn't know there was a wrong and right way of doing art. I find myself in this dilemma because i decided to take the art in school not because i needed the credits but in hopes some portfolio pieces would come out of it. In school every month we have a "sketchbook" assignment but in reality it isn't a sketchbook since she makes it very clear that NO 'SKETCHES' WILL BE GRADED EVERYTHING MUST BE FINISHED WORK now i can't even begin to wrap my head around that one but anyway in these sketchbooks we are only allowed to do very specific assignments and no cartoons! The point i am making is that this class is really holding me down and i am not sure whether i should go up to the teacher and say what i am feeling or just live with her silly rules. I find myself excited to go to that class only because of the friends ive made in it but i am so tired of her assignments that i never want to do anything in her class since they are all so boring and the same and outdated. Oh and get this... her sketchbook assignment said (any media) so i did it on my wacom tablet and i got no points because then she told me no computer drawings are allowed... With all this being said.. would it look bad if i drop out of my art class when i want to go to art school? i don't know how long i can take this... thanks for everyones responses.

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    I'm not going to start making blanket statements about people I don't know, but my personal experience with high school art teachers is that usually they tend to be pretentious asshats who know next to nothing about the industry or anything outside their introverted predispositions, and sometimes they see their students as threats to their artistic credibility.

    That said, if you don't like being in her class and feel that you aren't learning enough to create your own portfolio pieces you should drop out and set your own goals.
    Will it look bad? I doubt it, but beware, art school might be the same story.

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    I'm going to move this to Art Discussion, I think you'll get more response there.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Most high school art classes are horrid. Most art school admissions departments are well aware of this. You want to A: work on developing the best entry portfolio you can, and B: keep your overall GPA up as much as you can. Those are the two most important factors in both being accepted into a good school, and getting the scholarships to pay for it, and it sounds like this class isn't doing you any good with either of those.


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    If you already have a good teacher outside of school, focus on THAT teacher. If your high school teacher is useless, feel free to drop that class.

    When you apply to art schools, they don't care what classes you did or didn't take in high school. I'm not even sure if they check. The most important thing is your portfolio, so work on making that as good as you can. Art schools usually have some specific art tests for admissions as well, you'll want to try and do your best possible work for those.

    It also helps to get involved in extra-curricular art activities (which it sounds like you're already doing.) Those could be extra classes outside of school, art camps, summer programs at real art schools, art clubs and life drawing groups, anything that makes it look like you're serious about this art thing.

    (I dunno about GPA, I was home-schooled, we didn't have grades. Instead I did my best to ace the SATs and get a good grade on the GED, and apparently that was enough for all the schools I applied to.)

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    If you have a teacher outside that's good then focus on that. But I hope it's not because this teacher just lets you 'express yourself'. Because often in the starting classes of art. Teachers do 'creative crap' rather than actual exercises. My highschool all we did was that kind of stupid stuff and learned nothing. It wasn't until I came here that a I got a kick in the pants because someone told me honestly I was bad and that I could improve by studying. The first good teacher I had was one that actually forced us to do observational drawing and still life studies then at home forced us to fill up pages in our sketchbooks. Pack the pages.




    If I can ask, what exercises is the highschool teacher assigning that you don't like so much?

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    It may be worth remembering that high school art teachers aren't hired to teach professional artists. They are hired to teach high school students, most of whom probably took art because they thought it was an "easy" subject. It may very well be that your teacher feels threatened because your tutoring under a college-level professor who DOES train artists to a professional standard is going beyond her own knowledge and capability. Have you ever seen any of her art? Try googling her and see if you can find any online. If you can't, or if it's not very good, you have your answer.

    It is true that sometimes high school art teachers are old-fashioned in their outlook and curriculum and clueless about the current art industry, especially if they have been in their teaching role for a long time. "Computer drawings aren't allowed" is teacher-speak for "I have no idea how computers or digital art work and therefore have no idea whether the computer or the student drew this". Though that in itself doesn't mean she is bad at teaching drawing, it suggests she has not adapted in any way to the huge shift that has occurred in the art industry over the last decade or two.

    Having said all of that, you didn't specify what kind of projects she sets that you don't like, and the more drawing practice you have, the better. If your school art classes include good fundamentals, that will strengthen your ability, even if you don't agree with how the teacher grades things. If, on the other hand, they are genuinely useless to you as either art training or portfolio pieces, quitting may be more sensible (and I would say that your classes outside of school demonstrate more of your commitment to art than the ones in school do, so I wouldn't worry about the art schools as long as you are clear about your art experience).

    My suggestion about this would be to be honest and tell your teacher what you have told us (politely, of course) - that you are finding the conflict between your classes problematic and it is obstructing your goal of creating a cohesive portfolio for art school, that you are therefore considering leaving the class. Ask her if she would consider being a bit more flexible in her assignments and allowing you to use what you are learning in the other class. Her reaction will speak volumes - if she is offended or threatened by this request, she is a bad teacher and you need to get rid of her. On the other hand, you may find she is willing to make adjustments to your needs once she better understands them.

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    Everyone else has good advice, so I just want to comment on the "sketchbook assignment" part. I had those in my junior high and high school as well. The idea is to show that you are able to complete a piece to certain specifications on time, not to show that you draw outside of class. The sketchbook part is just to say where it's supposed to be presented (as opposed to canvas or something else). If you're going to continue in the high school class, I'd recommend looking at them as assignments a client would give you as opposed to something your teacher is forcing you to do to hold you down.

    Check out my sketchbook! Socially acceptable opportunity to yell at a teenage girl!
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    I took high school art classes, and all in all the teacher wasn't the issue as much as I myself was.
    I didn't realize that I should learn from the teacher, do what it takes to pass her class, and then go above and beyond all of what she says to push the projects further.

    I found out in college, that I could still get the grade, and still learn, by pushing the assignment to the best of my ability. Make sure that your project meets all of the criteria given, and then push it as far as it can be pushed. If your teacher wants fully rendered sketchbook pieces, render the pieces as best as you possibly can. If you can make an image photo realistic, make an image photo-realistic. If your teacher wants you to not put daily sketches in that one particular sketchbook, get another and use that for dailies.
    As long as you are meeting all criteria of a project, if you add a personal twist, you can argue that what you did did not go against the given assignment.
    For example did you discuss with your teacher the whole any media is acceptable rule? You really should, because either one, she has a misunderstanding of computer/digital art as a medium, or she should change her assignment description so that future students don't waste time doing something similar to what you did. If she refuses to listen, try and go above her to her superiors, with a copy of the class assignment saying "any medium" and your project which was refused an appropriate grade on the grounds of the medium used.

    I would say definitely discuss with your teacher all of your issues before dropping the class. you've already put in half a year, so it is better not to lose the time you put in if you can make it a better experience. Perhaps you'd be able to help her understand something she otherwise didn't see, or maybe you can understand why she is giving assignments the way that she is. If she is a better artist than you she can definitely teach you more than you currently know, ad even if she isn't a great artist she may still know some tricks and shortcuts and viewpoints that help you later on. I try to think of everyone, even people who seem to not have any skill in a particular area as a teacher- even if they are only teaching what not to do.
    I'd say if you haven't already, discuss with your other teacher the issues you are facing with the school teacher, and find out if perhaps he understands her logic, or if he also believes she is teaching you very bad habits.

    If all else fails and the school teacher refuses to hear you out, refuses to admit any possible mistakes on their part, and the higher ups in the school back her up no matter what she does, consider leaving the class. As queen G said earlier unless it is AP art, most schools really don't care what classes you took, and some don't even care about AP classes. What most schools are concerned with seems to be portfolios, GPAs, community service, and work ethic. If you can prove you have all of that without a high school art class you should be good to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    If you have a teacher outside that's good then focus on that. But I hope it's not because this teacher just lets you 'express yourself'. Because often in the starting classes of art. Teachers do 'creative crap' rather than actual exercises. My highschool all we did was that kind of stupid stuff and learned nothing. It wasn't until I came here that a I got a kick in the pants because someone told me honestly I was bad and that I could improve by studying. The first good teacher I had was one that actually forced us to do observational drawing and still life studies then at home forced us to fill up pages in our sketchbooks. Pack the pages.




    If I can ask, what exercises is the highschool teacher assigning that you don't like so much?
    yes i know exactly what you mean my art studio outside of class is very strict it is a portfolio class so we work on things like figure drawing with nude models etc. but we still have the freedom to make something *unfinished* or we are allowed to have "bad" drawings. some excersises in high school are mostly basically copying photographs by gridding which is seriously boring when that is all you do next we are doing another portrait using gridding but this time we are making it out of ripped up newspaper...

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    Ah I remember the gridding, yes that sadly sounds like mine. I hated the 'crafts' sections of the classes.


    Probably is useless, but eh think of it this way. What other class would take its place? Your going to have homework likely regardless the class.... at least most of the time. (unless your in a program where you can somehow drop it and not replace the class but that's rare). But that class you will at least have the chance to do some kind of drawing or exercise even if it's not entertaining. Just think of it as an exercise in forcing through boredom.


    Or you can be upfront with your teacher and ask if you can do alternate projects for some that don't even involve drawing, since your planning for Art School. I had 1 teacher in school that was a total bitch, wasn't flexible at all. Then other teachers I had saw I was passionate and let me do more some individual projects like a still life and such.


    Doesn't hurt to ask if you can do some alternate projects that actually focus on drawing. Hell, just be upfront.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    Ah I remember the gridding, yes that sadly sounds like mine. I hated the 'crafts' sections of the classes.


    Probably is useless, but eh think of it this way. What other class would take its place? Your going to have homework likely regardless the class.... at least most of the time. (unless your in a program where you can somehow drop it and not replace the class but that's rare). But that class you will at least have the chance to do some kind of drawing or exercise even if it's not entertaining. Just think of it as an exercise in forcing through boredom.


    Or you can be upfront with your teacher and ask if you can do alternate projects for some that don't even involve drawing, since your planning for Art School. I had 1 teacher in school that was a total bitch, wasn't flexible at all. Then other teachers I had saw I was passionate and let me do more some individual projects like a still life and such.


    Doesn't hurt to ask if you can do some alternate projects that actually focus on drawing. Hell, just be upfront.
    The thing is we DO have individual projects but they are so limited! we can't to character designs or anything everything needs to be from a photograph nothing from our imagination. and she is the kind of teacher who is like "what purpose does that have?" if you don't have an answer for why you would want to do a character design other than i like designing characters she sees no reason to do it.

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    That's not a bad thing when starting out. Creating characters are fun and all, like work from imagination but foundations are more important. People create characters on top of their studies and work just for the fun of it all the time. Not like you can't do that.


    Though a photograph isn't going to help as much as doing some still lifes about the house or outside in that department.

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    There's always two sides to every story, so I hope you don't take this the wrong way.

    Firstly, are you sharing the information you learned from your college class at an appropriate time? For example, are you showing your high school teacher how you can construct figures from your imagination when she is trying to teach you the importance of life drawings? If so, it might be wiser to just stay quiet and try to learn what your high school teacher is trying to teach you!

    Secondly, the whole 'sketchbook' assignment seems pretty reasonable to me, even if the name is misleading. Your teacher probably wants you to learn the fundamentals before you go and stylize your work so you have a good foundation to build upon if you move forward with your art career, so I can understand why she would be against cartoons.

    Finally, though I dislike teachers who don't see digital art as a 'real' art form, it might actually be good for you to stay away from digital art for the time being. I'm only going off the work you posted on ConceptArt, so my assessment might be wrong, but it seems like it might benefit you to work with a limited palette and traditional media.

    Again, I might be completely wrong, but it is always good to give people the benefit of the doubt. If you truly do feel that this course has nothing to offer you and that it might actually be hurting you by all means drop out! Otherwise, I suggest hanging in there and trying to learn whatever you can from your high school teacher.

    Last edited by Yulai; February 4th, 2013 at 10:21 AM.
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    By my experience high school art teacher can be random people. Mine was a biologist who knew very little of art aside from something she might have read from some art instruction book, her only purpose was to make sure we were working and not dilly-dallying.

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    I have to say copying photos by gridding does sound pretty useless...

    The business of copying photos in different media can be potentially useful as a way of learning specific media, but it depends if you're actually learning anything about using the media in question, or if it's just silly busy work.

    As for the "sketchbook" that's not really a sketchbook, I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about that. Keep one "sketchbook" for class assignments, and use a separate sketchbook for everything else.

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    I think gridding is one of the reasons the idea of underdrawing is so alien to most laymen.

    Since the other week I was trying to think of why most people assume that the surface outlines are all there is to a drawing, and then this thread reminded me of gridding, which I remember seeing alot of in the crappiest of drawing books.

    Last edited by Psychotime; February 4th, 2013 at 12:14 PM.
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    With these vs threads I need to see more fight screen drawings

    High school courses are just basically for everyone to get them to start drawing, not so much to continue drawing. The gridding assignment is mainly to get people to see the shapes inside each grid rather than drawing "just what you see with your symbolism"

    It's like a relative to the "draw this upside down"

    However, using grids taught me how to enlarge pieces of artwork as well. If I had a sketch you could grid it to another object. The photo thing was a shortcut because most people couldn't draw very well so they used a photo instead to "even" the playing field so to speak.

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    Just thinking from memory, the way I saw gridding was to map outlines. Underlying shapes and forms were the last things it had any focus on. But maybe I just remember badly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    However, using grids taught me how to enlarge pieces of artwork as well.
    Why do that the hard way?! You could just scale it in photosh...I need to go outside.

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    I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here and speaking from my own experience, so feel free to take it or leave it, but I think it's almost a moot point if the assignments are dumb or you don't particularly like her teaching style or you feel you aren't being taught anything of value. Stick it out; learn what she is looking for and complete the assignments in a way that makes her happy (why not challenge yourself to do them in a way that makes you happy, too?), even if they aren't your thing. No matter where you end up going to school or what subject you end up specializing in, you're going to find teachers who you don't click with, don't agree with, and unfortunately don't learn much from -- and transferring to another class isn't always an option. If 90% of your college professors are fabulous, you won't change majors or schools to avoid the 10% that don't float your boat. At some point you need to learn to pass a class from a teacher you don't like, and I say it's better to get that out of the way in High School, when it doesn't really count.

    And don't think college is the end of it either When you're in the real world, these people will be your bosses, your clients, your coworkers, and you'll need a paycheck and a job more than you need an A, I promise you. Unless you never plan on working in any sort of collaborative environment, the sooner you learn to work with (and for) people you don't jive with, the better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    Why do that the hard way?! You could just scale it in photosh...I need to go outside.
    Well, gridding up is handy if you need to scale something to a size way bigger than what you can print out... (Projectors are even more handy, though.)

    (But copying photos with a grid always seems kind of mindless to me.)

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