Art is not one of my strong suits. However, it is one of my daughter's strengths and talents. (At least I think so!) It has always been a struggle for me to provide opportunities to develop her skills. Aside from some lessons given by one of the dear ladies at church, she has cultivated her style on her own. I was definitely no help! It has been about five years since she has taken lessons, and with the onset of high school, she has had to shelve the drawing for a little while. She also started playing around with cameras and Photoshop, so she hasn't had a whole lot of time to devote to art studies. That was why I was so excited to learn about this program from Artistic Pursuits. When I asked Janna if she would be willing to spend some time drawing again, she eagerly accepted the opportunity.
Company Information: The Artistic Pursuits line of art books was written by Brenda Ellis, who has been serving the homeschool community since 1999. Unlike standard art curricula, these books have been geared especially for the homeschool art program. This program involves more than just drawing, but also includes sculpting and painting as well. Children learn not only the technical aspects of art but also are guided in observing principles at work through art appreciation and learning how to make choices as they create their own unique projects.
Product Reviewed: High School 9-12 Book One: The Elements of Art and Composition, Third Edition, is a 92-page, comb-bound, soft cover with full-color artwork and text. This book contains 68 lessons focusing on drawing. This is the first in a two-book set for high school students. Each unit has four lessons, which are designed to be completed in four sessions. Each unit covers visual vocabulary, art appreciation and art history, techniques and application.
Price: $47.95. In addition to the book, your student will also need to purchase art supplies. For this particular book, a supply kit is available, should you wish to purchase items at one time. Or check this same page out for a list that you can use when you go shopping. We had most of the items and did not really have to purchase anything extra, but if you are just starting out, plan on this extra expense.
Age Range: 9th-12th grade (about high school)
Parental Preparation: Aside from making sure that Janna had the supplies she needed, I did very little. There was one page entitled "What Parents Want to Know" which I read, that outlined the flow of the book.
How We Used It: I must confess that all I really did was hand the book to Janna, and she took it from there. As was suggested in the "Scheduling Art Class" section, she worked on the lessons independently for one hour (however it usually took longer), twice a week. In that time, she was able to complete the first two units on Space and Line.
What We Liked:
- I asked Janna what she liked about the program and the number one thing she said was that it challenged her to draw things that she would not otherwise draw. The book actually got her drawing and not just reading about drawing.
- Janna learned some new techniques as she was drawing. She learned Leonardo's method of redrawing lines, meaning she didn't have to erase all her mistakes, which was good news for her!
- I liked the full-color art in the book and the lessons on art appreciation and history. Nice and easy chunks.
- The lessons are short and to the point, fitting on one page.
- Drawing objects as well as faces were emphasized. This stretched Janna's repertoire as faces are not her forte. Check out this drawing of Anah that she did! I love it! (Okay, so I am biased.)
What We Didn't Like:
- Sometimes she found the assignment didn't always fit the lesson (or she wasn't sure how).
- The assignments were sometimes a little too broad for her. She admitted that this was a good thing and a bad thing though. She wouldn't want to be told exactly what to draw, but at the same time, she wished there was a little more guidance.
- A word of warning: Janna mentioned that the book assumes that you have drawn before and already are familiar with basic skills, such as shading. She didn't have trouble but this isn't a step-by-step drawing book, just in case you are wondering.
When I asked Janna if she would like to continue working through the book, she said "Yes!" I think that the assignments really helped her to think outside her usual box. I am sure that some of these pieces are going to find their way into her portfolio in the future! We have plans to spend go through both of the high school books and earn some fine arts credit!