Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Regarding D.S. and I.P. for Art 3 and Art 4 (Spring 2018)

Today is the penultimate day of Feb.
We are back from a week off and at the beginning of a new grading period. In addition, I would like to make some changes. These changes will be subject to change as well, so if ever you are in doubt, please please confirm with me.

First, why do we do independent practice and daily sketchbook work? Easy, it makes us better.
It exercises our creative and technical muscles (if we allow it), and it makes us more accomplished in our "big" projects through consistent efforts. I know that making more work makes the work that we make come out better and faster.
Being more prolific makes a difference, and if you aren't quite convinced yet, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Second, I asked you before the Winter Break if you felt like the I.P. or the D.S. was more integral to your development, and by a two-to-one margin that answer was I.P.
Personally, I disagree. This is where I go on a bit of a tangent.

What I think is happening is that it is easier for you because you don't have to do something every day. You can put it off to the last minute and bust it out then.
What I think is happening is that you feel like the D.S. is a place that you just have to get it done and/or you haven't allowed yourself enough play time.
What I think is happening is that the I.P. feels more like what you are used to getting as school work - from me and other teachers - so it feels more normal.
What I think is happening is that (at least some of you) feel like you have to have finished and good things in your D.S. each day, and this takes more than 15 min./day.

And I could go on.

Part of why I say the above is because I don't think you allow yourself the amount of time that would be best for making the most art possible - even if it's just playing in your D.S. (yes, this is a vast generalization).

Part of why I say the above is because I don't see as much challenge coming through in your I.P. as I could. This comes across in the scale of your pieces and the constant cropping of them with the paper cutter to avoid backgrounds and the sticking to the media you feel you do best at (often) - though this, too, is a grand over generalization.

Part of why I say the above is because you can use your D.S. to work on I.P. but most of you don't. Or, at least, you aren't documenting it online as such. This is one of the reasons I think too many of you leave it to the last minute.

And truthfully, I may be full of it. Really, only you know.

But I know that the consistency of you working is important. In the past I have toyed with the idea of just getting a quantity of work from you, and the largest quantities get the highest marks.

Then I think to myself, "how are they going to try to game the system"?
And I think, will someone just make a lot of small and not very well executed things?
Will someone "suffer" because they made few things but they were exceptionally creative and well executed?
Etc. etc. etc.

This tells me that I probably overthink some things. But I already knew that about myself.

So what do I do?
How do I hand more of your education over to you?
How do I let you drive as much of this train as possible?
If you haven't discerned by now, this is part of my aim.*

So here is what I want to do during the month of March (which begins tomorrow).
I still want you to create M-Th.
I still want you to document what you work on by uploading to the D.S. portion of the grade book.
I will still ask that you turn in an "independent practice" every two weeks" so that I can give process feedback that you can use to, hopefully, make the piece(s) stronger in the end.
However, ...
You don't have to follow my D.S. prompts.**
You don't have to follow the I.P. prompts.***
What I desire you to work on (if not what is listed online for D.S. and I.P.) is your response to the first question that you taped into your sketchbook on Monday, 2/26.

For reference, the question was, what is fun/interesting for you to draw?

You can make whatever you want. You can use any media you want. You can make 30 pieces or less (or more?). You can do all of the work in your sketchbook. You can do none of the work in your sketchbook. You still need to spend the first 15 min of every class period (Mon.-Thurs.) working and documenting your working. You still need to document on "off" class days. You can turn in process and/or finished pieces on I.P. due dates so I can give feedback. You can decide not to.

You will have to turn in everything that you have at the end of March and we will go from there.

This is the line where I tell you that more is going to be better.
But if you work for 13 minutes per day for two weeks and you produce something really fun and interesting (and where you have grown and challenged yourself), and this means you have fewer pieces than a peer, well, this isn't always a bad thing.
There is a lot of gray area here, so take positive advantage of it. Please, with this much freedom, do not abuse this opportunity.
I am trusting you to do the right thing.

If it was me, I would draw some mountains.
If it was me, I would draw some birds.
If it was me, I would draw some donuts.
If it was me, I would design some new t-shirts.
If it was me, I might even update my website with new work because it really really needs it.
If it was me, I would record more of my process to share on the youtube because I find that fun.
If it was me, I would do more in procreate because I need to get better at that.
If it was me, I would...well, hopefully you get the picture.

I might paint any/all of the above too :)

So beginning tomorrow, March 1st, you have a slightly altered charge. I can't wait to see what you make of it. Have fun!

*Caveat: I also know from experience and research that completely opening you up to anything is actually not in your best interest. You know what it's like when you can't come up with an idea. You know what it's like when you keep repeating yourself over and over again without making real progress (which gets boring over time). You know that restrictions make you more creative even though you almost certainly don't want to admit it.

**You can, and I will still put them up here on this blog, but you can work on whatever it is you are working towards at the same time.

***See above. You can follow them, but you don't have to.

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