Your homeschool teen wants to make amazing art! They’ve outgrown step by step art books and they are ready to create their own unique art.
So, they come to you for help. But, you don’t know where to start or what they need either! You feel a complete lack confidence in your own skills and are unsure how to give them what they need. Does this describe you Mom?
I'm here for you! Art does not need to be discouraging or a mystery! I’ve got three simple projects for your teens that will look amazing, build up skills, and help them practice essential techniques. The best part is that your teen will have complete artistic freedom, require minimal supplies and won't need your help.
3 things need to be in place:
One: A plan.
No great piece of art was ever produced by doodling mindlessly. Before starting we should know where we’re headed. That’s why artists do concept sketches to find the best composition. These art challenges are ideas that your teen's imagination will flesh out into living, breathing plans.
Even imaginative art begins with observation, whether the artist observes in the past or the present. Experienced artists are able to draw from past observation, but young artists should have and use references as frequently as possible.
Physical references are the best, but photographs can also be effectively used as references. Whenever a photo is a reference for art, teens must remember to use only non-copyrighted images.
Great artwork takes many hours. Experienced artists that work within a formula may be able to quickly complete good art, but that’s the exception. To create amazing, inspiring art: a high school level student should expect to spend at least five hours total on each project, or a week’s worth of one hour periods.
Short projects are fun, but they will never stretch and grow a young artist like ones that are labored over with patience. If done with excellence these three art challenges will fill three weeks worth of art sessions and you will be left with art that looks amazing.
Three Art Challenges That Will Look Amazing:
Negative/Positive Space: Study of a Plant
Negative space drawings are an excellent way to learn to draw from observation. It short circuits the tendency to draw things how we think they should look. To compare the effectiveness of this method look at the plant only once and draw it on scrap paper, what you’ll end up with is what your brain thinks it should look like, basically a childish symbol drawing. When we instead focus on carefully observing the negative spaces surrounding the leaves the realism is surprising.
Get a plant set up in a vase. Draw a line to divide the page in half. One half of the page fill in the negative spaces around the leaves. The other half can be a shaded line drawing. To have amazing results in a shorter time focus on a smaller close up composition. Use a viewfinder or shape your hands as a viewfinder to find the best composition.
Unique Compositions: Study of a Toy
I’m talking about those fun little collectible toys kicking around the house. You never stop to think about them, but they’re a great inspiration for art. I realized this one day when I started sketching a snoopy dog figurine sitting on my desk. It was next to a thin apple core my daughter abandoned. It made a really cute and fun composition which I would have kept if only I hadn’t been doodling on lined paper.
To get the most out of this project I’d suggest starting on drawing paper with a pencil and then move to ink for shading. Stop there or for a really fun composition add an imaginary background using point perspective principles. From there transfer it to watercolor paper and finish with realistic or abstract watercolors.
Wrinkled, Draped or Knotted: Fabric Study
Nothing improves observational drawing skill as much as something that is highly detailed in a non-uniform way. When you draw something like the wrinkles on your palm, the reflections on a drop of water or the folds in a crumpled piece of fabric you don’t have to fight against your mind telling you what it should look like. Instead you lean in and look more carefully. This is a skill set that will greatly improve drawing skills in all areas.
Take a piece of fabric and crinkle it, knot it or drape it over something. Place it on the table with a single light on it. Begin by drawing the curves of the folds lightly with a pencil then move onto the shading. Use a value scale to help stick to 5 values: black, dark grey, medium gray, light gray, and white. The non-uniform complexity of the subject will allow students to focus so closely that the realism is startling.
Print out the PDF directions for these projects:
If you want to be alerted when my curriculum is ready to launch with early bird pricing please sign up for my email list!
When you sign up you will receive my free ebook,
“The minimum a homeschooler needs to get started painting with acrylics.”
This free ebook includes:
A shopping list for which paints to buy.
An intro to my teaching methods.
Three progressive lessons.
Three related progressive art challenges.
Directions for use with a CO-OP.