The joy of working with children
In 2018 I was invited to work with the Year 3 and 4 classes at one of our local primary schools linking sketching to their local area unit. I developed a four hour unit which today I got to repeat with a third cohort.
I do an introduction to me as Andy the artist. The children are allowed to ask me questions. We practise looking at places using some of my art works based on greetings cards and some original pieces that are in mounts and cellophane wraps. They have tasks to do which we then discuss after a while.
Then I take the children through some guidance on things to think about when out sketching including framing, selecting and then starting with shapes and moving into detail. The children practise using a piece of mine as their focus.
– when I first visited some would “finish” sketches in less than a minute. This year one child failed to have finished earlier than 15 minutes. This links to other art topics they do at the school too.
We talk about the second session we are going to do where we go out and sketch live together. I also pass on my philosophy about not rubbing out our work, treating art as a fun activity and incorporating errors as we go.
We meet at their classroom, I remind them about our aims for the session – they will sketch in their school sketchbooks in pencil. Pencil sharpeners are taken but not rubbers. We walk down through town together I am dressed in my pith helmet and one of my boilersuits (at least this time). We are based at the bottom seating area of a local gardens area with a stunning view over the bay.
Sketching tasks this year included an initial larger scale piece. Then a zoomed in focus. I circulate and chat with the children as they work offering ideas, techniques ideas, answering questions.
Then we use my ProMarkers which will be very important in session 3. Each child has an A6 postcard piece of watercolour paper (as I use for my Art for Fun activity at the studio). They are then issued with a ProMarker which they can swop for other colours as the session proceeds. Today they could draw something they could see or use their imagination as prep for their 15 minute piece in session 3.
Some children did drawings on both sides of their A6 sheet and depending on their first choice I guided them to draw something natural, manmade or from their imagination for the second piece.
The extension after this task was to return to pencil in their sketchbook and draw the outline of one leaf on one of the plants around us. Then to draw any lines / pattern within the boundary of the leaf. Then to look at how the leaf connected to the plant. Then a different leaf / branch patterns – these will link to tasks linked to trees in session 3.
Back in the classroom, a fortnight after the drawing trip. I will get a chance to see any follow up work in their sketchbooks and their postcard drawings which we got them to,put their first names on to aid this session. During this session I try to make a written comment in all of the classes sketchbooks as a memento.
We will do drawing exercises based on my portfolio of tree pieces and look at simple to complex drawings depending on detail. They will be asked to give some feedback and draw in less and more / detail.
The big treat task is that I will have the whole colour range of ProMarkers with me and they will each get about 15 min drawing time adding their own drawing to a new boilersuit on which I will have drawn frames on to one leg for their class to complete – the class teacher and TA(s) are involved this too as a record of our work together. I continue supervising the remainder of the class not on the suit task using the tree based tasks.
This year I want to add a feedback task so that I can have some statements to display in the shop alongside Art for Fun comments to share with other visitors.
So this is carried out with the year 3 class and the year 4 class. The first cohort who went through are now in Years 7 and 8. We drew together in February 2018. The second cohort now in Years 5 and 6 did their project in Autumn 2019. Covid has obviously meant a longer break before it was possible for this to be offered again. The school, works on a two year cycle of study.
I do thank the school, class teachers who have invited me in and the Head Teacher for approving this. I hope that I can continue this cycle going forwards as there are families where some of the children have done this and younger siblings would like to do it as well in the future.
For me it is teaching, I could deny it, but it clearly does involve it. I find going into the classroom scenario fine with this age group where I have novelty value as a local artist. I enjoy the interaction as I do with all those who participate in Art for Fun.
This Thursday I will be back out with year 3 – I hope that it goes as well as today did, I have already heard from an artist friend whose son took part that he was chatting about it a lot after school this afternoon.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-123416164-8055-647a15cf2999e' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=123416164&post_id=8055&origin=andyknillart.com&obj_id=123416164-8055-647a15cf2999e' data-name='like-post-frame-123416164-8055-647a15cf2999e' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>