Monday, October 21, 2019

Creating a Masterpiece {review}

When it comes to art instruction, I always feel lacking.  I have enjoyed learning a little art history alongside my kids through the years, but I've always felt like I missed out on the foundational skills necessary to teach drawing.  Enter Creating a Masterpiece!  Created by master artist Sharon Hofer to teach children art, it is an online, video-based instructional program.  We were offered an opportunity to review a one year subscription to her Drawing Program.

The Drawing Program consists of a Beginning Drawing level and three more levels of progressively more difficult drawing tutorials for a total of 30 projects over four levels, in which Hofer teaches how to plan, develop and enhance projects.

This program is specifically designed to teach drawing techniques and related skills, and as children develop their skills through the tutorials, they should be able to demonstrate these techniques in their own art outside of lessons.

The great thing about this specific program is that since it focuses on a narrow skill set, it is limited to just a few mediums.  These are pencil, colored pencil and charcoal. You will need some different types of papers and erasers, and she recommends quality brands so you have quality output.  You can find the supply list broken down by lesson.

My kids are 12, 10, 6 with a 4 year old tagging along sometimes, so I was interested to see how the program would work for beginners of different ages.

Everyone started with Lessons in Pencil: Giraffe in Cartoon, but not all of children wanted their artwork posted, so I had to respect that request.

 Six Year Old - She felt the giraffe needed legs.

 Mom's Giraffe 

The four year old tried to tag along with this lesson . . . the giraffe on the right looked decent at first for her skill level, but then she got a little distracted and silly. (Big sister wanted to keep going, but she could have used a break during the lesson.)  She hasn't been particularly interested in trying other lessons with us, but I liked that she could follow along if she tried.

Four Year Old's Giraffes

The kids decided they did not want to work together, so that they could each work at their own pace.
Each lesson is actually a series of short videos, and working separately meant they could pause where they needed, and move at their own pace.

The older kids would do lessons on a laptop or computer at desk in different rooms of the house, while I worked with the 6 year old in the dining room.

Lessons in Pencils: Hoot Owl 

As you work through the lesson, you mostly hear Sharon talking to you - but you usually only see her hands.  She shows you the finished project, so you know your end-goal, but she shows you step by step how to look at shapes, how to correct mistakes or make changes, how to shade, and more.  Also, I appreciate that she occasionally "messes up" or changes her mind and her drawing - seeing a master artist do this is good for the kid with perfectionist tendencies.

Occasionally, we need to break a lesson over two sessions, and the short videos make great nature stopping points.  The lesson page also has a Lesson Highlights section, that shows approximately what your project should look like at the end of each video.  This is a great way to "check" your work as you go.

My 12 year old does the lessons when they are assigned, while my 10 year old tends to enjoy them more.  While the 4 year old is a little young yet, she can participate and follow the instructions, so that shows they are easy to follow!  I think my 6 year old likes the lessons the most, but she's always been the one most interested in art.  She did, however, grow increasingly frustrated with the charcoal on vellum.  She refused to quit though, and I was really proud of her perseverance!  I found this one difficult too, but it was our first time working with charcoal and vellum.  As beginners, I wished we'd tackled several more beginner level lessons with just pencils/colored pencils, because there are a lot of vellum projects in this level.

Lessons in Charcoal: Baby Elephant 

Overall, we've enjoyed the lessons.  I like the variety - and that we're learning a lot of techniques with basic materials that can still translate to personal work and other art mediums.  I do think these lessons are great for all ages, and I think the projects come out looking nice when the student puts in the effort!

To find out more about Creating a Masterpiece, check out the website, find them Facebook, and be sure to read more crew reviews!

Learning to Draw {Creating a Masterpiece Reviews}
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