Sketching Students at work in Class | Procreate & Pastels

There are always some students in need in class, and you have to attend to them no matter how small the problem is. Fortunately, most problems are good and constructive ones. When some, not a big percentage though, are just lost. I have students who have zero experience in art, be it drawing or painting. Many first timers who do not have a clue on how to hold a pencil to draw. Teaching a class like this takes lotsa patience but most of the time, very rewarding experience. I usually consider teaching an opportunity to learn afresh and to understand the process of learning.

sketching students at work

I like students to ask me things, anything. The reason is, I cannot remember everything that I intended to say or teach when it comes to delivering a lecture or some sort. If a class is too quiet, I drift off. I am not the type of teacher who could put up a show, like a magician or a clown does. I am there to impart my experience or knowledge about something, not to entertain. And certainly not to inspire someone to learn something. Don't get me wrong. This is different about inspiring someone to be better. To me, the ability and the desire to learn is from inside out. You have to be interested and be inspired to learn to begin with. My job is not to help with a student's lack of inspiration to learn or to get better. Like a physician who cannot make you get better unless you want to.

sketching students at work

Anyway, when the class is focused in their own work, usually their personal project, I would be sketching the students in my spare time. I have been doing that since I started teaching. Its part of my own training and you don't get to sketch people hard at work behind their easels all the time. And it is far more interesting than drawing or painting nude. :D It keeps the class quiet too. And if anyone interested to get behind me to see the process, they are very welcomed to do so.

Here's one done with hard pastels on newsprint. If you can tell, I actually edited this on my iPad Pro with Procreate. It wasn't intentional though. On its own it looks OK, but when I took a pix with my iPhone, the flaws of the drawing become apparent. I have to correct them before I put it out for everyone. It would be embarrassing if someone came to tell me what went wrong with the drawing. Though it is not perfect yet, I am fairly satisfied with the result for now.
sketching students at work
Now back to ranting about learning how to draw....

It definitely takes quite a bit of time to learn to draw or paint and to be good at it. There is no shortcut. First of all you need to grapple with the basics, then you have to apply those basics on a more tangible subject matter, like simple geometric forms to human figure. If a student fresh out of school who has no more than doodling on his or her exercise book, the whole process of learning the foundations can seem daunting. I would be if I am that student. Picking up a charcoal or a pencil to draw is like having to learn to use muscles that have not been used before. Just like when I was trying to teach myself to play the piano. I have no idea how to move my fingers at all. I also tried drawing and painting with my non-dominant hand (left hand) and I realise that I am also facing the same problem as a new learner in drawing. I remember those times when I was learning how to drive. The legs just wouldn't want to listen to me. But with practise, driving becomes a breeze. To learn something you need to spend enough time practicing. The more one practices, the better he gets. There is no doubt that any skill needs a considerable amount of investment, in terms of putting in the time. Animators call it putting in the pencil mileage.

To draw well and to paint well, we need to put in enough mileage of time to understand mediums, techniques, ideas, composition, designs, style, and etc. There are so many things to learn and attending just 20 lessons just isn't enough. To become an artist, it takes a life time of learning, exploring and discovering. Without passion to fuel these, it is easy to give up. Moreover, there is also a possibility you may not end up a great artist in the end. However, working hard with patience always pays well.

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