We announced the ART & English Club would be limited to 20 students only, tenth-graders who signed up ahead of time, please. But 60 kids of all ages showed up, all so eager and delighted to see an abundance of colored pencils, markers, and watercolor sets, that I had to say okay, come on in. They sat six to a table. I tore the drawing paper in half so we’d have enough, and everyone shared pencils and paint.
At first they waited for me to tell them what to draw. I showed examples of how to scribble, doodle, and mess around. They did not seem keen on the idea. They relied on rulers and templates to trace, and drew what they had drawn before. I banished the rulers. At each table I demonstrated technique, how to lift the brush, how to push pastel, how to blend with colored pencils. They paused, then tried it, a little timid at first. I told them to change tables and try new media. What?! They took their half-sheets of drawing paper and began again. Smiles all around the table. Three girls sitting together drew the same tableau of I Love Teacher! with flowers, hearts, and butterflies. A couple of boys drew a bird’s-eye-view of the soccer field. The smaller kids drew bugs and animals. They all scribbled, doodled, and messed around a bit, then drew their old familiars. It was a start.
Ten minutes before the end of class I asked my cohort to translate precisely how to clean the brushes, sharpen pencils, put the materials back in their cases. The students did as I asked, then without my asking, signed their pictures and stacked them on my desk. Here are a few photos of my favorites.