looks a bit like my chicken Saffron
How often do you have students draw using the grid method?
I defiantly use it when working with a photo and find it helpful. The art teacher at the high school we feed into uses the grid method for a few lessons so I always make sure to have the kids do one or two grid projects during middle school art.
My students really dislike the method though. They feel it is too slow and tedious They hate having to go back and forth between the grid paper and the grid on the drawing. It takes time and patience. Patience and persistence being two things my students lack.
I have done everything I can think of to make the process easier. I make the grids on transparencies so the kids can simply tape them over the photo/image. Then I photocopy grid paper off that transparency so they match up exactly.
I have the kids number the boxes on both the transparencies and the grid paper. I give the kids overhead markers to trace the outline of the drawing onto their transparency and then to cross out each grid square as they are done with it.
I have shown them how to go one box at a time, one row at a time. I have showed them how to make a dot on the grid lines showing where the contour lines intersect with the grid lines so all they have to do is connect the dots.
I get them started with the first three boxes if they ask for help.
I offer a huge selection of images to work from from dogs to flowers to celebrities photos to pictures of cars and cartoon characters. I can't think of any other way to help them short of doing the project for them.
Yet 75% of the projects handed in look like Salvador Dali possessed my students while working and did a melting clock treatment to their drawings. Let's not talk about the cat drawing I received on Friday where the poor thing looked like it had been run over by a steamroller. Even my hard working kids seem unable to work with the grid method. They will call me over knowing that something looks funky with their drawing and I'll sit down and together we will count and compare where we put lines in the grid drawing vs. the original. 99% of the time the kids stopped counting the grid squares and just started randomly drawing what they saw. "IT takes tooooo looooonnnnnggggg!" They whine.
They all seem to be making individual progress in developing their contour drawing skills and ability to draw objects by breaking them down into simpler shapes.
So how important is it to teach the grid method to 5th-8th graders. Should I just accept that it is not working for my students at their current developmental level. Can I just leave this skill to the high school teacher? If you are working with at-risk kids who get frustrated easily is it better to back off or to force them to, "push through the pain," to learn persistence?
Most importantly is there something I'm doing or not doing on my end that is keeping my kids from achieving success. Do you have a hint or idea for teaching grid drawing? Am I missing a key component. I want to start a grid enlargement project based on the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and prefer to keep Dali out of the project.