Media & Techniques

Make Your Most Boring Drawing Projects Fun Again

altered-reality portrait

Sometimes, it’s difficult to get inspired to teach drawing. Just saying the words “still-life” or “perspective” is enough to make students put their heads down on their desks. It can be emotionally draining to get students excited to learn these skills. However, with a few tricks up your sleeve, it doesn’t have to be so bad.

In fact, I just got done teaching AOEU’s Studio: Drawing course, and I’m here to let you in on a little secret. Through this class, you’ll gain the tools and knowledge to make these projects fun again. Curious to see how?

Just look at this portrait example from AOE student Heath Bradley. Who says portraiture and observational drawing have to be boring?

altered-reality portrait

This example pushes the idea of how you can work on portraits. Allowing students to mix reality with distortion calms anxieties and allows imaginations to awaken all while learning some serious drawing skills. Could students wear silly props for observational drawing? How might color or a theme like “zombies” change everything?

Here’s another beautiful example from the class by Kristen Ragas in which she drew her daughter. Allowing students to choose a subject that’s meaningful to them (instead of dusty fake grapes and old shoes) can make a world of difference.

in-progress drawing


finished drawing

Have you ever had your students try 5-point perspective? Here is an excellent example from class participant Michelle Kennedy.

5-point perspective example

You might be thinking, “There is no way I can teach 5-point perspective! I can barely get all the students to learn one.” This new course teaches a different way to teach perspective. One that is less stressful to teachers and students, allowing for advanced students to experiment beyond the basics. Seriously, it is easier than you think.

Did you like getting to see the drawings as they progressed? Student cell phones can become a positive force when used to document the creation of artwork, allowing art teachers to grade more than just the final work.

So, if you’re ready to spice up one of those bland drawing experiences, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Studio: Drawing today!

What is one drawing lesson you’d like to revamp?

What are some questions you have always had about teaching drawing?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Johanna Russell

Johanna enjoys teaching 8th and 9th-grade art in Ankeny, Iowa. She has expertise in flipped instruction, managing student behaviors, and teaching and assessing a TAB classroom.

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