Learning to Draw


This entry is not just because I am an Art teacher, so I’m not trying to be some kind of a ringer and freak out about this issue. But, I do really see some serious problems with children lacking quality education. I’m not just talking about being able to finger paint when you’re a kid. I mean, really teaching people how to draw what they see, to be able to use a variety of materials, to be able to interpret visual languate, to effectively criticize the quality of visual things, to see how Art relates to history & society, etc.
I’m taking this class on Flash Animation. The teacher told us to create a simple animated garden using some of the techniques we had learned. The adults around me started complaining that they didn’t know how to draw a flower…and couldn’t they just get one off the internet instead of having to draw it? The teacher told them not to worry, that it didn’t have to be perfect, then demonstrated a simple daisy shape using the circle tool. Still there was complaining! I was amazed not only at the lack of ability to draw such a simple shape, but was more so amazed at the fear of having to draw something free hand. Even though the assignment said that the drawing didn’t have to be perfect and could be very simple.
Eventually I had a crowd of people around me looking at my flower telling me what an amazing artist I am. It was kind of funny to me because I had very quickly created flowers and filled them in with the paintbucket tool using a gradient fill. This, apparently, was a really big deal and made me some kind of genius.
Why is it that we place so little value on this kind of thing, especially when the upcoming generations are increasingly visual? Is it good that we’re teaching people to rip this images off from the internet, rather than learning how to overcome obstacles and create original work?
I even had one lady offer to pay me five bucks if I’d just draw her one quick flower. I declined the money and showed her step-by-step how to make one herself. Her flower turned out fine.
I think there is a very good possiblity that people fear a blank canvas even more than public speaking.