Month: November 2012

Reverse Engineering Art Lessons

Do you worry about teacher burnout? It is easy for this happen. For an art teacher who may be feeling a bit burned out, visiting an art museum and reverse engineering can turn into a whole new approach that can keep ideas flowing for many more works.

Students also get burned out and may benefit from chances to imagine, practice, and discover the mental processes of invention (not copying) from another artist. They can try to imitate similar inspirational strategies, idea generation strategies, refinement strategies, and so on while making artwork that is true to their own experiences, passions, imaginations, and abilities. Students may need time to review the invention process and discuss how reverse engineering works. It should always be our goal to make students become independent learners before they leave our classroom at the end of the term with us. If we train them to copy, we have encouraged a form of “learned helplessness.”

Check out this great webpage to learn more about reverse engineering.


Inner Animal Drawing

Students were required to pick an animal they felt best represented them. We talked about the symbolism of animals in art throughout history, their own character traits and how they would apply them in a hybrid drawing of themselves as the animal. Emphasis is placed upon their animal character.  We had noticed how some of them are very interested in manga drawings so we allowed them to use that style if they wanted. We also had my daughter (who is in high school) visit and do a demonstration on Manga drawing. They seemed to really enjoy this project. Some students had never worked on black paper or the pastels so this really pushed them out of their comfort level. After a brief demonstration with the materials they were inspired to get to it.

Materials: Heavy black drawing paper, oil pastels, prismacolors


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