Art: Model behaviour

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By Robert WattsProgramme Convener for MA Art, Craft and Design Education at Roehampton University, London

Develop children’s observational art skills through life drawing


As children progress through Key Stage 2 many become more aware that certain classmates are ‘the best at drawing’ and consequently become less satisfied with their own artwork. In this, the second part of the Learning to See series, we explore some strategies for encouraging children to become less concerned with making ‘finished’ pictures and to ‘loosen up’ their approach to making observational drawings. By making a series of drawings in a short space of time, children will focus more on the process of making art, rather than the end product. The following activities emphasise the importance of setting children challenges that prompt them to adopt a different approach to each drawing they make; challenges that encourage them to look carefully and respond quickly to what they see.

Further reading

Teaching Art and Design 3-11: The Essential Guide edited by Sue Cox and Robert Watts (Continuum, £19.99 PB)

Getting started

  • Arrange tables and chairs into a circle or U-shape.
  • Distribute pencils and offer children a choice of paper size and colour. Sketchbooks are a good option here, however, as distributing paper can slow the lesson down.
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