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  1. #1
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    Teaching Children

    I'm the IT guy at a couple of schools, and my partner, who's a teacher at one school, would like me to give some art lessons to her kids. Does anyone have any advice on how I should start? It's going to be a class of grade 1 kiddies, and I'm not quite sure where I should attack from. I've thought of teaching them some simple face tutorials (manga-ish), but then I think "Should I be teaching observational techniques over a step-by-step approach?".

    I'll be doing some hunting about online later, as well as checking into the library, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Chris Bowden
    http://www.artofbrain.com/ - Crawling back
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  3. #2
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    I would definitely teach them some basic how-to-see stuff before going in to head drawing tutorials. It'll depend on how the class is, but even first graders should be taught a bit about the basics about light and shade and color It'll be hard to hold their attention for long but you could give a brief explanation of the color wheel to them and make an activity out of it, maybe printing out a bunch of black and white ones that they can color in themselves. Next I would show them how the same color can have different values (difference between coloring hard and light) and then go for still lives of balls and cones and similar simple shapes and show them how if something is light on one side it'll be dark on the other and that shadows are really important (for grounding things, but that'll be a little beyond them probably). Let them play with that for a while and then I would say show them how to build up basic simple cartoony figures and things using circles and lines and mebbe the basic proportions of a human face. Attention span will probably be your biggest problem, and the library and internet will be your greatest friends. Good luck!

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  4. #3
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    Keep it simple and keep it fun. Even simplified manga-esque face tutorials are going to be too much for most first graders. Playing around with color is good. Introducing them to the idea of drawing from observation in some sort of simple way is also good, just be aware that there are basic developmental things, both mental and in terms of muscle control, that haven't happened by that age.


    Tristan Elwell
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  5. #4
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    I agree with Elwell. Keep the lessons simple and will maintain there attention for longer than 5 minutes. Unfortunately, children at such young ages will have no desire to sit down and draw something accurately. I've taught a range of 1st through 6th graders. Suprisingly, they have a much higher attention span while they watched me draw than themselves. So give some lengthy demo's. Kids are very visual learners. And if you give a complex assignment, take them through it step by step. Kids at a first grade level associate art with fun and not work, so make the projects fun .

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    Yeah. . . kids that young are all about playing and (when something interesting is going on) watching. They won’t be ready for anything resembling practice for something fun that comes later. But if you, say, set up a toy robot and sketch a picture of it in front of them(especially if you can talk to them while you draw), they’ll be riveted, and on their own they’ll be drawing robots for weeks. :-)

    I was outside painting a plain old rock in a field a few weeks ago. My painting was awful, but some pre-teen boys spotted me at work, and to my surprised they were amazed at what I was doing. It was eye-opening for me. I had forgotten that this stuff is magic to the uninitiated.

    Congrats on the opportunity to teach! Sharing what you know can be so very gratifying.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  7. #6
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    Short and simple, gotcha. I must say I am surprised that colour theory, even in it's simplist form, is recommended over drawing. My learning was the other way around, but I can see where you're coming from. I didn't think of shading simple objects. That could be a really good outcome, as it's easy to make things look more realistic with shading in mind.

    Much appreciated peoples! I still seek more advice if there is more to be given. Even sample lessons would be nice to see, though I don't want to over ask your knowledge. @:-D

    Should be really fun. Maybe I can convince the teacher to a painting lesson. Messing around with paint with a room full of kids doing the same could be really awesome!

    Chris Bowden
    http://www.artofbrain.com/ - Crawling back
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  8. #7
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    they're like 6 years old. teach them something simple like how to do shading with a pencil or blend colors. or bring something really cool (a big preserved bug or a peice of army equipment?) in and get them to draw it. teach them how to trace shadows from an overhead projector and decorate it somehow (tip: kids love using glitter and "fun" art supplies like that), or teach them how to trace body parts out of a caricature book and have them draw themselves or a friend. anything that keeps them entertained without you having to constantly entertain them, but keeps them out of trouble at the same time. you can also do projects for any upcoming holidays. something for 4th of july or something.

    and remember their attention span is about 30 seconds. good luck!!

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    I suggested starting with color because it's something that fascinates young kiddies and will hold their attention a lot longer than black and white. My art school experience was that the hand doesn't get to touch the color cookie jar until it has had a year or two of grayscale drawing classes. Fortunately my attention could be held by more than glitter at that point. But the others have a point - the kids will be fascinated if they watch you draw something if you can draw it fast enough, and will practice for ages. The face is neat just because so few people know the easy basics, like the eyes are (relatively) halfway down the head, nose half of that, and mouth half of the remainder. It's an easy way for them to start seeing things differently. Plus, color is applicable to a lot. If color theory breaks through to any of them it can help not only fingerpainting, but to see how colors work in nature, take an interest in what they wear eventually, and even how to design the places they live when they get older. It's one of those things that could be fun to do with 6 year olds and still make them THINK. Even if they don't really apply it for years I sure wish I'd known some before my Mum let me dress myself in middle school *sigh*

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  10. #9
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    Or you could do one of those cliche "draw your house with your family" activities.

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  11. #10
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    Did you say grade 1? Forget observation. Show them what a flip book is, and let them make one. Show them a bouncing ball, squash and stretch. Keep it simple and fun. Show them how simple shapes can be put together to create characters ( check out Little Peep). These are very little kids.

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