Lately I’ve hopelessly given myself up as a craft hater. Perhaps I’m too cutthroat and straightforward. I like to get to the chase. Life is craft. “Crafting,” on the other hand, is more like an expensive hobby to assuage a craftless life. And Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s are some of the most soulless and desperate places I have been in.
That being said, you won’t be surprised to learn that I want to laugh hysterically every time I see kid craft pins on Pinterest. Who does those? And why ever? I know children love crafts, but they also love picking their noses and eating those nasty pink frosted animal crackers. Anyways, my bad attitude was creating a bit of a problem when it came to picking an art curriculum. I want my kids to learn how to draw, not to use glue sticks and “express” themselves. They wallow in their delirious, experimental fairyland all day long. I don’t feel sorry for them.
I kept on perusing art books but they always seemed either too old for the children or too silly. I didn’t want lessons that were just messy experiments with medium or fun crafts that went along with a lesson in art history or worse yet, a “unit study.” I wanted easy exercises that taught them the basics of form, shading, perspective, foreshortening, volume, etc. And guess what? Grammy went and talked to her art teacher for me and then promptly mailed me “Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad.” It’s perfect.
Unless you’re Rahab. Not much we can do for you there.
I save art for the end of school when clean-up has been accomplished to my liking and Gideon has actually finished his homework. Maybe three days out of the week? Then I give them a short lesson, they divide their papers into practice squares, and have at it. At this point I also put on one of our sixty Bible in Living Sound records. Think of your typical Bible stories, only dramatized as a 1950’s soap opera. You can’t tear them away.
When they’re done they cut out their finished piece to hang on the wall. Already I can see their everyday doodles improving. I found this castle Jael drew and I was like, “Woo-hoo! Three dimensions and shading!” She even gave the windows depth. Good girl.
I figure when they finish this book they should be ready to move on to “Drawing for the Absolute Beginner.” Which seems to the be a well put together book with manageable lessons. We’ll see. Like with piano, I feel that when they accomplish one skill they are free to move on to the next. In the same way, if they can be proficient drawers by middle-school, then they’re more than welcome to paint. And incidentally wash their own brushes. 🙂