This live, online visual arts mini-course is suited for middle school students in grades 6–8 from all art backgrounds. A 7-week mini-course, it is a non-graded art elective intended for developing student’s artistic drawing skills. It is part of a step-by-step drawing series for middle schoolers. Students may sign up for multiple sessions or start with any session. The theme and focus for each session are listed below.
There is a misconception that only people with natural artistic talents can draw well. However, drawing is actually a skill that can be taught, as students learn to control and manipulate lines in the same manner they learn to write letters. This step-by-step series of mini courses aims to help students look at the world around them as forms created by lines and shapes, and to then help them learn to draw in that way. They are highly recommended for students who wish to learn the basics of both observation and imaginative drawing, either for fun or to prepare for further art classes.
During class, students will draw along with the teacher to create their images with direct, step-by-step instruction. Students will learn to use a variety of lines, and to break down subject matter into shapes in order to create both realistic and sometimes imaginative images. While there is no outside homework for these classes, students are encouraged to keep a sketchbook to practice their weekly skills. Students are welcome to submit their completed drawings each week after class to receive individualized feedback, or they may simply take this course for fun.
After this mini-course is completed, there will be further mini-courses that build on one another, offered at the same day/time during the week. All classes in this series will only require drawing paper, a pencil, a ruler, a Sharpie marker, and colored pencils or markers for students who wish to add color to their drawings. A sketchbook for weekly practice is recommended but not required.
Themes and focus for this series of mini courses are as follows:
- Mini-course Fall 1
Focus: Breaking subjects down into shapes
- Mini-course Fall 2
Theme: Plants/creatures in nature
Focus: Adding volume, visual texture, space
- Mini-course Winter
Theme: Meaningful Still Lifes
Focus: Proportions and visual compositions
- Mini-course Spring
Theme: People (Faces/ expressions and figure drawing)
Focus: Proportions and drawing action
Aside from simply learning foundational drawing skills, this course will also improve skills in the following areas:
- fine motor skills
- spatial reasoning
- creative problem-solving
My teaching style is lighthearted, relational, and tailored to each group of students in my class. I keep my class atmosphere positive and encouraging – a place where all feel welcome and valued, with a focus on the joy and wonder of creating and creation, and where all artworks discussed will be kept rated PG and family-friendly.
All critiques, whether given by teacher or classmates with a rubric, will be crafted to produce insightful, helpful, and wherever possible, positive statements meant to encourage and deepen the understanding and success of the student artist. Feedback to all students will be done in positivity, kindness, and encouragement with a focus on the art concepts being studied over talent or skill level.
Live course meeting time: Live meetings via Zoom will occur every week on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. ET.
All course meetings are optional, though because of the step-by-step nature of this course, they are highly encouraged for direct instruction, personal artistic guidance, class community, and to ensure understanding. They will be recorded for scheduling convenience. Students who are unable to attend live lessons will still be able to follow along with the step-by-step instruction in a recorded version of this class, which will be posted on Canvas later in the day each Friday. This course emphasizes that art is for everyone and values the heart of homeschooling where flexibility is a top priority.
Weekly in-class assignments may include:
- A weekly 60-minute live meeting
- Interactive discussion of concepts, artworks, artists, and art history
- Art journal/sketchbook prompts
- Preliminary sketches
- In-class practice of skills being learned and mastered
- Student involvement in the learning process
- Use of elements and principles of design related to composition
- Mastering of techniques of media and use of tools
Who should enroll?
Any 6th-8th grade student who wishes to learn or refine beginning drawing skills is welcome to enroll in this class. No previous art requirements are necessary.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and working microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Digital camera (can be phone with camera), or other means to photograph, scan, and upload student artwork
Evaluation and Feedback
All in-class artwork has two options. Students may submit artwork through our website on Canvas to receive feedback, or artwork can simply be done for fun. I will provide detailed feedback/guidance/encouragement on all submitted artwork. This feedback is focused on the understanding and demonstration of the concept versus artistic skill/natural talent, with the goal being to improve skills at the individual level.
Students who submit their work receive all critiques well before the next live art class so that they may steadily develop and grow in their artistic abilities while improving their work and developing their own artistic style with each assignment. In addition, students may submit weekly sketchbook prompts for feedback each week as well. This is a non-graded course.
I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email with clear details and video instructions on how to navigate this course. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers. I will respond to all parents’ and student questions within 24 hours via email or Canvas message. I prefer communication through Canvas on our course website.