I can't imagine a worse scenario for an eager and enthusiastic art student than enrolling in a over crowded art class run by a mediocre art teacher
In short order the student is set up for loss after loss. The basics of drawing and painting either not taught in an easy to duplicate fashion, that the art student can grasp, or very often they are not taught at all!
Quite Frequently the student makes the decision that drawing and painting is just too hard and gives up. The student will incorrectly find the fault with themselves, often with the self generated concept that they do not posses enough natural artistic talent.
Whereas most of the blame usually falls on the shoulders of the student, the true cause falls at the feet of the art instructor and poor instruction.
This is exactly what happened to my wife.
My wife is from Toronto Canada. She originally came to America as a student to study fine art in a university. The instruction was terrible.
Both my wife's drawing and painting classes were taught entirely on the irresponsible method of "if it feels good go with it."
Unfortunately my wife could not "feel" her way into learning basics such as capturing light and shadow, how to draw in proportion, the use of color and tone, how to sketch in charcoal, differences in working with oil vs. watercolors.
Needless to say she the only thing that she could "feel" good about was changing her major.
With hundreds of colleges and thousands of private art instruction schools across the country how does one go about picking an art instructor that will teach one how to draw and paint properly?
I was lucky enough to be able to ask Larry Gluck what one should look for when choosing an art school and instructor so one achieves their goal in becoming a better artist.
Larry Gluck is the founder of the world's largest fine art program.
After 33 years employing hundreds of art instructors and teaching over 3,000+ students every week how to draw and paint this is the advice Larry has in regards to choosing an art teacher...
"Here are a few pointers on what to look for in a fine art teacher. I hope they help in your search for a good drawing and painting instructor.
1. Do you like the teachers work?
It's important to respect what your teacher does. Now matter how objective he is about his work, he'll teach you what he knows - and what he knows will be reflected in what he does.
On the other side of the coin, do not judge the instructor only by their artwork. Teaching art is not the same as creating art, and some teachers are very good artists but horrible instructors.
Others don't have enough intention to help students through the rough spots. Although a teacher much have knowledge and talent to merit teaching his subject, the determination to help you and see that you indeed learn should be his top priority.
2. Does your teacher start with the fundamentals?
A gradual approach is necessary to learning. You start with the most basic fundamentals and continue from there. All to frequently the teacher assumes that you already posses a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals, or worse, the instructor is not familiar with them enough in order to teach them.
Also, some teachers are involved in the arts for such a long period of time that the use of the arts fundamentals are automatic, so much so that they are no longer aware of them. This of course, would be a terrible failure on the part of the teacher - but it does happen.
3. Are you actually improving?
If your art teacher teaches you the fundamental skills, on by one, ensuring you master each one before going to the next, your skills should improve.
If not, something is wrong with the instruction, not with you. A good instructor should be able to break the needed skills down into steps simple enough for you to learn successfully.
4. Are you being treated as an individual?
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. The good art instructor will realize this and treat each art student as an individual. A poor teacher treats everyone the same or has a few favorite students.
5. Is the class overcrowded?
If there are more than ten students with only one instructor, you won't benefit from what he has to give you.
Since everyone is different in regards to ability and what one is aware of, there has to be a way for you as a student to to receive one-on-one instruction with the instructor.
6. Are you training with people you like?
It helps to learn with people who encourage and support one another, admire each others efforts, and are genuinely pleased to see other's progress.
It would also help to have friends with whom you can also discuss the art form.
Companionship within the arts causes growth in the artist.
7. Are you pitted against others?
Some teachers feel that competition is needed among students is necessary to spur them on. It isn't.
Perhaps the teacher will be less bored but it does nothing for students, particularly in the arts.
You should only be competing against your present limitations.
8. Is it a safe environment in which you feel comfortable learning?
You must feel safe and secure in all learning environments.
This is especially true when learning an an art form where the stakes are so high and the intimidation factor can be so great.
If you feel intimidated anyway when you go to class, it's probably the teachers fault, even if the intimidation comes from other students.
A competent art instructor is in control of the students and is responsible for how they interact with each other in the classroom.
Some instructors intimidate students with an overbearing manner.
Some instructors will set themselves up as a major authority on the subject of art or unattainable examples of artistic talent.
Some favor a few students over others.
If this is occurring, find a new art instructor.
9. Is there criticism without help?
An overly critical teacher can make you give up.
Criticism without instruction on how to improve is hinderance, not a help.
Rather than continually pointing out what is wrong with what you are doing, a good teacher should give you tasks to do.
A student progresses by winning, not loosing. Ask yourself if you feel better since you started the class - better about yourself, your ability, and what you are doing. If not, change teachers.
10. Are you getting individual help?
Maybe her is a piece of information you don't quite comprehend, or a technique that you just can't put into application.
Does the teacher take the time to help you? Is the art instructor prompt with the help but patient with handling your question or problem?
Can the instructor get to the root of what ou are having a problem with and help you figure it out?
If not you are wasting your time and money.
If you aren't getting better and having fun while doing so, your instruction is falling down on one or more of these points.
Review these ten tips and locate exactly what the problem is. If this turns out that you cannot fix this by speaking with your instructor, you will have to find a new teacher.
All art forms appear difficult to a beginner. A good teacher will show you not only that excellence is attainable, but also how.
You may think you cannot do it or feel you do not have enough talent, a good instructor knows that you can and will make sure that you learn to."
About the Author:
Eric Hines has worked in the field of art for over a decade as a musician, art dealer and is currently employed by
, the world's largest drawing and painting instruction program in the world. He is currently taking art classes to
how to draw and paint
, very soon he will be selling his own art work and not just the works of others.
Choosing an Art Teacher May be the Most Important Decision an Artist Makes. How to Choose Properly