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does art matter?

(67 Posts)
jrrtolkien Sun 03-Feb-13 10:59:31

Of course it matters if you enjoy it or you need it for your job. But what if you don't like doing it and are pretty useless at it? Is it worth the effort to improve?

Both my children are quite good academically, enjoy sports, enjoy music but not art. Neither have ever shown the remotest interest in drawing or colouring in, even I always had paints and colouring books for them since they we're babies.
Now they are in their last years at Primary and their drawings etc are probably the worst in the class and they hate doing them. Unfortunately, they both seem to get a lot of drawing work to do e.g. draw a storyboard.
Is,it worth me trying again to teach them how to draw or at the very least colour in nearly?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 04-Feb-13 20:34:37

Sanity. That's so lovely smile

Quite a lot of the artists and designers I've worked and studied with have been dyslexic.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 04-Feb-13 20:38:45

Op. The way you describe teaching them sounds as though you are trying to teach them in an academic way . . . as in teaching them that to do it correctly they need to do xyz and have it turn out looking like a specific idea of yours of what constitutes good art. When in fact i think you should just be encouraging enjoyment of it in a non stressful or conforming way and experimentation.

Its love of creating the art that spurns someone to do it more and more, try new things and gradually then they would naturally got better at it in their own way.

jrrtolkien Mon 04-Feb-13 20:56:01

I was just trying to give them confidence that they are capable of producing a recognisable drawing.
As you all,may have guessed by now, I'm not very artistic either. Nor is DH apparently.

choccyp1g Mon 04-Feb-13 21:00:48

tethersend your children will lead full and happy lives never drawing anything

Not sure I agree with this; you can lead a happy life without drawing or painting for pleasure, but so much of school life involves drawing diagrams, maps, shapes, designs etc.
before you even start on the homework consisting of colouring-in, posters, leaflets, mood-boards, family-trees, mind-maps.....
all these things call for some ability to represent your ideas visually in a two dimensional way, and it is a problem if your DC (I'm looking at my DS) can't relate to that.

And don't get me started on the serious projects like building castles, churches, animals etc..

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 04-Feb-13 21:10:50

Perhaps working on something abstract would boost their confidence more, because you can't really do that wrong.


orangeandlemons Mon 04-Feb-13 21:22:54

I am also an Art teacher. It most certainly can be taught. Basic elements like tone, shape and NEVER colouring in. I go mad if my students talk about colouring in! Ugh, keeping inside the lines...what is the that about? Nothing in real life has an outline

I loath what they are told to draw in primary school. Eg Moses and the Red Sea. HOW can a child draw that? I would struggle. It's like asking a child to write War and Peace without telling them how do to it. All good drawing comes from looking at primary objects, and rarely (but sometimes) straight from imagination.

My school gets some of the best Art results in the country. All Y7's who think they can't do Art are suddenly amazed by the fact that actually they can, they have just had to spend 4 years drawing Romans or whatever from imagination, which has totally turned them off. Also ones that can't draw are often excellent at proper 3d work (not making monsters out of bog rolls)

All the research has proved that having a creative part of the curriculum provides benefits in other areas and raises students' self esteem.

Where would Vivienne Westwood, Dyson,Emin etc etc be without Art and Design?

tethersend Mon 04-Feb-13 21:25:07

Choccypig, you absolutely can lead a full and happy life never drawing- think of children with mobility problems and/or disabilities which mean they can't draw.

" teaching them that to do it correctly they need to do xyz and have it turn out looking like a specific idea of yours of what constitutes good art. When in fact i think you should just be encouraging enjoyment of it in a non stressful or conforming way and experimentation. "

Yes, exactly.
Art Gould be about asking questions, not providing answers.

tethersend Mon 04-Feb-13 21:28:02


lljkk Tue 05-Feb-13 11:04:48

keeping inside the lines...what is the that about?

I always thought it was about paying attention to details and being aware of aesthetics (most people think it looks nicer kept inside the lines).

orangeandlemons Tue 05-Feb-13 11:19:14

But nothing has an outline, so how can you keep inside it? Neatness doesn't have much to do with artistic ability, except for fine motor skills. Aesthetic appeal is important, but I would rather see no outline.

Outlines have a place in design but not in pure fine art. Most art educators and specialists think colouring books are the invention of the devil. I never use the word outline in my lessons. Dept were judged to be outstanding/inspirational in recent Ofsted.

I don't let them use rubbers either. These are used for rubbing out outlines, which don't exist

quiller Tue 05-Feb-13 11:25:06

So, how would you encourage/ teach a child at home? Mine thinks he is crap and doesn't want to try any more, even the notion of having fun with paint is now alien

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 11:42:43

Upthread someone said don't say this is the way you draw hands and this is the way you draw feet, etc, presumably because saying such things stifles creativity and leads some children to believe that they can't draw hands and feet. And somebody said do not copy existing pictures. So what do you do if your very young child does a scribble (or what I presume is a scribble) which coincidentally creates a brilliant outline of a person? The scribble I'm talking about has a curved sausage shaped torso, two curved pipes for legs, some undefined squiggle about where an arm should be and a circle for the head. It looks like the studies of a moving figure that you find in art schools. I'm tempted to encourage my child to reproduce that format because doing it deliberately, rather than doing it by mistake as in this case, would be quite a feat.

choccyp1g Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:16

tethers, I agree you can lead a full and happy life without drawing, except for at school where they expect you to draw or paint for every bl**dy subject.

(Totally off the topic, but I know several people who live full and happy lives without ever reading novels, shocking as that may seem to many MNers.)

changejustforyou Tue 05-Feb-13 12:12:36

I'm so glad I never had to do all those story boards DS has to do at sec school.

Colouring in on the other hand, I LOVE it, and will happily colour in ds homework, in fact i often have to beg him to let me do it.

catinhat Tue 05-Feb-13 13:55:11

My father is absolutely appalling at representing people/objects through drawing.

It has not affected his happiness in life. He has been a successful professional person (although not in the Art World!) It just entertains his grandchildren! (who could draw better than him at 3).

Our family seems to divide on those who can draw and those who can't...we don't seem to have a middle ability!

catinhat Tue 05-Feb-13 13:55:48

He rarely reads novels either!

gabsid Tue 05-Feb-13 15:35:05

Yes, as long as they have a go, explore and have varied interests. Not everyone can draw well - DP keeps telling me that everything I draw looks like a pig (that's the only thing I can draw reasonably well).

DS (7) drew stick men until age 6 and now he seems to become rather good at drawing as DP, I think its because they enjoy drawing together.

As a secondary teacher I have been asked a couple of times by frustrated Y7 whether they really have to draw a story board or whether they could just write the story! It was meant to be fun for them to be able to draw confused.

lljkk Tue 05-Feb-13 17:04:46

I love colouring & colouring books (muse). Am obviously a Pleb.

thesecretmusicteacher Tue 05-Feb-13 17:55:55

As the art teacher above indicated, you can use "workarounds" to do drawings without actually using your visual processing skills. So then you have to go backwards to allow that poor visual processing part of your brain to get some exercise.

I remember only once sitting down and drawing something that l loved (my sleeping cat) very slowly and carefully, looking at the cat all the time. The art teacher was amazed at the difference in quality from my usual poor mechanical attempts.

they weren't art, they were numeracy and verbal reasoning skills translated on to a piece of paper. Perspective and mathematical graphs were ok, anything else was rubbish.

It doesn't surprise me that many artists are dyslexic - if one kind of processing challenges you, you'll fall back on stronger processing skills and develop those.

I think that colouring in isn't really about art, any more than "crotchet, quaver crotchet minim" is anything to do with music. One is a test of discipline, compliance and care and presumably really all about handwriting skills. The other is.... well... now that is a different thread entirely.

thesecretmusicteacher Tue 05-Feb-13 17:57:30

sorry lljkk, didn't mean to suggest you were a pleb! just mean that colouring in is more like doing a crossword or some sewing or even ironing a shirt well - and nothing wrong with those. I like colouring in too!

Catriona100 Tue 05-Feb-13 21:53:56

gabsib - what do you answer those Y7s who don't want to do a storyboard?

DS1 will be one of them next year and it would be a relief to him if he discovered that he never had to storyboard anything ever again!

"I'm an art teacher- I really wouldn't worry, as most of a secondary art teacher's time is spent getting students to unlearn the crap they were taught at primary school."

"I loath what they are told to draw in primary school. Eg Moses and the Red Sea. HOW can a child draw that?"

What is all this anti-primary invective? It is offensive and condescending and shows no understanding of the pedagogy required to teach young children. As a primary teacher who takes part in frequent meetings with our destination secondary, to be informed 'this is what we want you to do', I get rather fed up with it.

I am a highly qualified professional, as are my secondary colleagues. I teach art (I have a degree in graphic art), but I also teach 10 other subjects up to year 6 level, and all at least as well as I teach art.

Story boarding and drawing as a response to show understanding of the story of Exodus are both valid activities; many young children much prefer to draw than to write to show their understanding - indeed most do so spontaneously long before they even start school. Those children who prefer not to draw are offered an alternative method; some complete story boards with notes or stick men, while one pupil today showed his comprehension of the story of the Good Samaritan by designing an abstract stained glass window and explaining the symbolism of the colours he used.

A little less sweeping criticism and a little more respect please!

tethersend Wed 06-Feb-13 09:27:49

Ah LaBelle- Sorry if my post came across as an attack on primary teachers; that was never my intention. I am seeing this purely from an art point of view, and the fact remains that art education in most primary schools is dire; even in terms of formal drawing skills, things are taught which must be unlearned in order to draw well. Children are rarely taught to observe and record, which are key skills for drawing. Story boards are not my issue; I think they have their place, but I do think that they are over-used in some settings as a misguided means to include art in the curriculum.

Please don't take that as an attack on primary teachers- the problem IMO is that there is just no room in the curriculum for art. This means that little time is spent on art during teacher training, and that most art graduates choose to teach secondary as the primary curriculum leaves little room to teach their subject. You are the exception, not the rule wink

Primary teachers do a job I never could; their skills are just usually in different areas; assuming they teach any art at all. In some schools, art is done during the teachers' PPA time.

tethersend Wed 06-Feb-13 09:30:29

"Upthread someone said don't say this is the way you draw hands and this is the way you draw feet, etc, presumably because saying such things stifles creativity and leads some children to believe that they can't draw hands and feet."

Actually no, learnandsay- learning to draw in this way means that it is a struggle later on to rely on observational skills to tell you how a form appears, whilst part of your brain is saying "That's a foot. feet go like this"; when in fact, they don't, and to draw a foot accurately actually requires you to observe and record it objectively. Does that make sense?

gabsid Wed 06-Feb-13 09:55:43

Catriona - I would ask them to have a go, but wouldn't expect much more than stick men. Middle to higher ability children I would then expect to write more ... more descriptive ... which is fine in English, but can be difficult in MFL.

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