Teaching art to kids (Some of my experiences)

The classes that I run are really intended for adults rather than kids but I do sometimes bend the rules a little and allow children and teenagers to attend.  (There’s not really much provision for talented children in Bristol and Bath, apparently)  What I usually do is get them to come along for a trial session and have a chat with their mum or dad afterwards before deciding to continue.  I’ve had quite a few home schooled kids in the area attending recently which was quite interesting for me as it’s something  that I didn’t really know much about.

In general I  find that one or two kids in the art class blend in quite well and gain from the experience of learning alongside adults but you do have to be careful if you’re a parent to make sure that your offspring aren’t too worn out from school. One over-enthusiastic parent insisted on taking his child to an after school martial arts club on the same evening as the art class.  No wonder he always looked so tired.   Once during a portrait drawing project he turned up late  so I found that I  had to quickly explain to him how to rough out the basic shapes by what’s called blocking in.  Blocking in is a way of working where you build up a kind of scaffolding using shapes like ovals and rectangles until you get the basic proportions established before going back over it again a second time and adding the details   “A bit like a robot?” he said. “That kind of thing” I said in return.  A little later on I could see he had drawn a beautiful lower body,  certainly much better than I could have done at his age but on the top was a fantastic robot head- including antenae and dials!  I know he could have just misunderstood what I was asking him to do but judging from the the wry expression on his face I think not!  I’d have loved to have kept the drawing.

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