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Observational Drawing Teaching Reflections Spring 2009
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Observational Drawing Teaching Reflections Spring 2009


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Reflections and drawings from a college semester of Observational Drawing with a focus on lessons learned by the teacher as well as by the students.

Reflections and drawings from a college semester of Observational Drawing with a focus on lessons learned by the teacher as well as by the students.

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  • 1. Observational Drawing
    Reflections by
    students andteacher
    Honoria Starbuck, Ph.D.
    Teaching Observational Drawing
    at the Art Institute of Austin
    Spring 2009
  • 2. Look, experiment and learn!
    Students often come to the first class anxious about making perfect drawings or bored with the non-technical tools of the course.
    Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,study of master drawing techniques, plus free art supplies, in a box we call the “Art Supply Rodeo,” help students break ingrained habits, explore new approaches to drawing, and increase observation skills.
  • 3. Mid-term presentations
    focus on light-logic and learning from the masters.
  • 4.
  • 5. The mid-term essay question is:What do you want to concentrate on in the second half of the semester?
    Students formed groups matching their goals and we focused on observational drawing based on individual interests.
  • 6. Essay answers formed 4 affinities.
    Observe people not posing, going about their natural business & sketching them quickly or slowly
    Learn to produce accurate and distinctive drawings from observing people
    Animation is my primary career goal, I am a slow drawer, I want to work on speed
    Go over more gesture and quick drawing instead of getting too caught up in one part of a drawing
    Make my work go from cartoony to more realistic
    Learn to paint realistically with correct shadows
    Portray the object more accurately
    To see things in reality, not all memorized stereotypes and habits of thinking
    More proportion techniques so I can draw better large scale drawings
    Focus more on texture, i.e. leather, metal, plastic, etc.
    How to use my drawing materials like kneaded eraser, watercolors, more effectively
    Keep working on light values
    Improve on everything I learned the first quarter – you can never learn too much.
    Color shading instead of just black and white
  • 7. This is your final exam.
    Organic Texas crookneck squash.
  • 8. Drawings are the answers to the final exam questions.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11. Students exhibit their best 3 drawings and present artist statements for the final.
  • 12. As an artist I find myself exploring my inner thoughts and trying new methods…
    My art could be described as a mix between realism and surrealism.
    - Salvador M.
  • 13. Combining photography with drawing
    I really like applying this class to our own career goals. I think that makes the class more relevant. Most people go into a drawing class thinking they will never use it.
    - Danny H.
  • 14. When I first started this class I hated drawing and everything about it. Leaving this class I’m very pleased with what I’ve done and the execution of different materials. I’ve come to the realization that my negativity towards drawing was my lack of patience and will work on that. I now have the confidence that I can draw anything! - JaleesaH.
  • 15. Being in this class has taught me to draw what I see.
    I used to draw what I’m used to seeing on TV and books. But now, I am able to just look at something and draw it.
    - Courtney P.
  • 16. Teaching reflections and directions.
    Based on reflections by students, I will experiment with several new teaching strategies.
    I will assign student homework directly from the readings instead of outside observations. This will engage the students with the theory more directly than in-class lectures.
    Interest Groups
    I will form groups based on student interest earlier than mid-term.
    Professional contexts
    I will assign a homework project for students to find professional applications for drawing in their specific field.
  • 17. Thank you to all my great students as well as the faculty and staff at the Art Institute of Austin where I learn more about art and education every day.
    Green Apple on toned paper by Danny H.
    Hands, master copy and lemon by Courtney P.
    Mid-term drawings by Danny H
    Class taking final exam with squash models.
    Summer Squash by Summer M.
    Big Squash by Salvador M.
    Hard liquor by Salvador M.
    Angel in alien landscape combines drawing and photography by Danny H.
    Portrait in Purple by Jaleesa H.
    Driftwood and sunflower by Courtney P.
    Honoria Starbuck
    Facebook: Honoria Starbuck
    Twitter: Honoria