Please Don’t Draw on My Paper!

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned when I was student teaching is NEVER to draw on a student’s artwork. If the art teacher tries to “help” the student by drawing on their paper to “fix” a problem or applies a few remedial brushstrokes to a student’s painting, the student can no longer feel that the artwork is truly his or her own. It is particularly embarrassing when someone else praises a student’s artwork and the student has the nagging feeling that the artwork is not really the student’s own accomplishment.  Perhaps the praise would not have been given without the teacher’s alterations.

I usually give students verbal guidance and suggestions that helps them to “see” their drawing objectively.  I often  suggest that students view their artwork in a mirror.  The mirror provides a fresh and objective look at the artwork.  I often do quick “mirror checks” when I am creating my own artwork.

I also keep a pad of tracing paper handy when I am teaching.  I can lay a piece of tracing paper on top of a student’s drawing to demonstrate a correction if verbal guidance and the mirror do not enable the student to solve a drawing problem.  I always ask the student first if they want me to demonstrate a correction.  I feel that it is important to allow the student to be as independent as possible so that they can learn to solve drawing problems.  After I demonstrate with the tracing paper, I encourage the student to make their own correction to the drawing.

Drawing and painting is about learning to see as an artist.  A student shouldn’t be blinded about their ability to learn to see as an artist because the art teacher has changed their drawing.  In other words, please don’t draw on my paper!


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