I had the pleasure of working again with the 5 and up age group today.
I’ve always loved teaching arts to children. Although it was a challenge to keep their interest for the entire three hours session, the fun begins as I am actually able to do so. (Well, except with my youngest student, a 4 year old, who seemed to have lost his momentum toward mid-session. Can’t blame a growing boy in need of catching-up with his snooze time, can we?)
In my past experience, these particular age group is the toughest to teach. Child psychology is the key. And in most cases, you may need to get a helper to help lay down some ground rules so you can establish your objectives for the day. Lucky me, I had their parents and guardians as helpers during the workshop. You’ll know, if you have the same age kids (nieces or nephews) each time eventually they’ll figure out you mean business and will be more likely to pay attention.
Bottom line, I think the biggest things to remember is that no matter what task you give this age group, in the end it will only come out as they want it to, and you’ll be doing great to have their full attention for at least an hour. After all, it’s all about motivating these children to bring out their creative streaks, and express their emotions through art. These kids did well.
For example, in trying to assess their drawing skill levels, I asked the children to draw whatever things they like and at least one of them drew a stick illustration of his family, while still another one drew a superman logo in full colors and kept telling me he was superman.
I had to be reminded that at this age they’re less concerned with actually learning a skill, and more interested in being entertained. One after the other, had I not prompted them, they would have used up in a minute all their extra sheets of paper for practice. But then again, we were pretty much time constrained, and I had 7-page slides to present to these kids (oh don’t worry, 4 of these only bears illustrations).
The kids were actually very cooperative, and surprisingly attentive to my every word. And as their art instructor I have to be the no.1 fan of their masterpieces for the day.
This is a great way to encourage these children about the task at hand. And my primary objective is that they learn the basic rules of Oil Pastel Rendering, and finish at least one work of art at the end of the session.
We started the session with a prayer lead by one of the students, who, candidly, said a prayer before meal. (Well, my bad, I asked her to say whatever prayer she wants) You see, this is why I love working with kids, they can effortlessly put a big smile on my face each time.
Thanks to Manila Workshops and Memory Crafters for being my partners in this workshop, to Mothercare for the very conducive venue, and Stabilo for providing the materials for the workshop.
Art can only be as complex as you wish. These children need not be tortured with some highfalutin art terms that Picasso have used, so instead I have summarized the otherwise very long presentation into ‘three-special-steps,’the way that agent teddy bear- Disney Junior’s Special Agent Oso- (who probably they are more familiar with) would do it.
A few important points in Oil Pastel Rendering were repeatedly implied to kids (and to parents who were there listening as well), this includes working on the lights and shadow technique. Remembering that to achieve a 3D effect, light tones, mid tones and dark tones must be put in consideration. Black can be used for outlining, and it is best to render the colors from light to dark to avoid unnecessary smudging and keep your work neat.
Different techniques were also shown, for the kids to have more ideas on ways to use the Oil Pastel. After our first exercise, Children were given their free-hand to draw whatever subject they want, using whatever technique they feel like using.
I must say, some results with the youngest ones (and the older ones) were mind blowing. I can’t say enough about their methods – but generally I find their art pieces simply captivating.
Creativity and being artistic should begin young. The only adversary is inhibition, and it often creeps in at an early age. I can pretty much say, they all have it in them, it’s just a matter of practice and motivation from parents. This group of students were superb, they actually exceeded my expectations. In a matter of three hours, we were able to complete our objectives, and even finished a couple of free hand drawings.