Tag Archives: highschoolart


dsc_0004 Critique is hard.  No one really likes critique at first, and some never like it at all.  It’s scary, putting yourself out like that.  It’s one of the most important parts of making art, though, so starting in the 7th grade we do critique.  Critique begins with a presentation of their artwork answering: 1. What did you create and why did you choose your imagery? 2. What are the techniques you used to create your artwork, and 3. What are the things you like/would improve on your artwork?

After the presentation critique begins.  Critique is when we take our artwork, present it to someone (or someones) and then we ask for their constructive compliments and constructive criticism.  The key word being ‘constructive.dsc_0003

Constructive compliments don’t just
say “I like it”.  They say instead phrases
like “I like the way you colored x”, or “I like the way that you used contrast to make your object stand out from your background”, etc….  Only stating that you like something in general does nothing but inflate the ego.  We want the artist to be able to know exactly what is working, so that they are able to incorporate similar techniques into their next artworks.

The same goes for constructive criticism.  It does nothing but hurt feelings to say “I don’t like it”, “This is not good”, “your artwork doesn’t convey any feeling”.  None of those statements, or similar statements, help the artist improve.  They come across as personal attacks, and don’t offer any significant information for the artist to take with them.

dsc_0005Instead, I ask students to offer solutions to specific problems.
Comments could include
“I wish you had used coloring techniques we used to even out your
ackground”, “I wish you had added some more detail in the left hand corner because it’s empty”, “I think you could have taken a little more time with your lines”, “I think it would look better with more contrast”, etc….

Often it’s easy to take these dsc_0006constructive criticisms personally, but
it’s important for theartist to remember that all the comments being made are about the technical aspects of their artwork, not the emotional aspects.  No one is saying their artwork is not good, but instead that there are still areas to improve.

Usually after the first few critiques students feel much better about presenting and listening to what their peers have to say, and there is a feeling of trust that goes both ways between all my students.  Everyone understands that nothing is personal, and that we all just want the artwork to be amazing, to always be better.

The Freedom in a Project

dsc_0001I believe it’s important to give my students as much freedom to create as possible.  Of course they have project outlines, and requirements, but as far as the conceptual imagery they choose to include in their artwork?  It’s all them

dsc_0003Currently in my high school class we are working with colored pencil technique, along with some other elements and principles of design.  Most of my students have been in art for 1-3 years with me, so we spend less time on the basics of the elements and principles, and more time on developing their techniques and personal style.

The project read: :Choose a representational ‘object’ and using your vocabulary as a guide, you will create emphasis on this object.  Make sure you have a balanced composition.  Include both types of implied line.  Color this in using the colored pencil techniques demonstrated in class.

dsc_0002Most of the students have chosen to draw people, or fictional creatures.  I love how every
student has a distinct style, and personal point of view.  I can tell that the students I have had for multiple years have grown tremendously, and that my new students are not only talented, but are excited to learn.

We will end this project after having worked on it for about a month.  I like to give my students plenty of time to work, but I have a hard deadline for them as well.  I can’t wait to see their final works!

dsc_0010Pictured to the left is a student I’ve had since he was in and 8th grade!  I can’t believe it’s been three years since we’ve been together.  Every single day all of my students astound me with their talent and willingness to continue to grow.  Somedays it’s a little more difficult than others, but overall they are great.

dsc_0004Many of my students use their phones to reference pictures online to help them with proportions and shading.  I’ve been encouraging them to use pictures they’ve taken as
well, and I’m happy as a teacher that we have access to at least this type of
technology.  It was a little bit of a fight, initially, to let the students use their phones in class, but in the
end their ability to use every resource available to them was deemed most important.  I do have to continue to keep an eye on my snap-chatters, but after all these years I trust them to use their time wisely, and give me their very best.