Let’s Talk About Art Education

ltaae1

Alt-text: Page one. Greyscale. Panel one, text reads “When I was younger, I was privileged enough to attend a well-funded private school. It always struck me as odd that that art department was poorly supplied…” Under the text is a drawing of Schnumn, a white woman, frowning, holding two upside-down paint bottles. There are arrows pointing to the bottles that read “empty.”

Panel two: Texts reads “The art education was just as bad. We were given paints but we weren’t taught how to use them. Sometimes, the art teacher would correct your work but wouldn’t tell you what they were doing or why.” In the middle of the text is a drawing of Schnumn smiling and gripping multiple utensils in both hands over a canvas with spoldges on it. There is a thought bubble coming from Schnumn’s head that reads “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Panel three: Texts reads “Looking back, I feel that my school wanted to sway its students away from the arts and towards more academic subjects — which really wasn’t OK.” Below the text is a drawing of Schnumn frowning and holding three paintbrushes between her knuckles. She is wearing a shirt that says “encourage artists” in all-caps, and is holding a drawing of a heart with a sad face drawn inside.

Panel four: Text reads “When I finally came to art school, I realised that I had pretty much no art knowledge. I knew a few painters but I had no understanding of colour theory, perspective, painting techniques or anything that was useful for creating work.” Under the text is a drawing of Schnumn looking stressed, and a faceless person. The faceless person is saying “Blah blah blah composition structure blah blah” and Schnumn is saying “Ah…yes…those are all things I know about…sort of…”

Panel five: Text reads “I was terrified of showing anyone my drawings. It was only half-way through my third year that I became a little more confident in my abilities.” Under the text is a drawing of Schnumn and a faceless person. The faceless person is saying “Hey, what are you drawing? Can I see?” Schnumn is flushed, clutching a sketchbook, holding one hand up, and saying “Um, no, sorry. It’s not very good, haha, maybe when it’s done…”

Panel six:  Text reads “In a way, I feel cheated by art school. It gives others the impression that I have been schooled in my craft, when this is far from true. Art school is a place where you go to fulfill briefs and teach yourself, that’s it.* Despite this, I think that art school is a great place to meet artists and gain inspiration. I wouldn’t be the artist I am now without the support of the people I met there. Under the text are seven people all holding a letter so they are spelling the word “artists.”

* “I can only speak from my perspective, there are optional support workshops for some courses.”

ltaae2

Alt-text:  Page Two. Greyscale. Panel one: Text reads “I might describe myself as self-taught but even that’s a phrase I don’t entirely agree with…is it self-taught if you read books and look at tutorials and tips?” In the middle of the text is a drawing of Schnumn with a stressed expression sitting behind a stack of books with titles such as “How to Art” “So You Want To Paint” “Pro Artist Tips” and “Prepare To Be Poor.”

Panel two: Text reads “I did all of my own research and a lot of it, but the knowledge didn’t come from me. I was taught by the many artists who created those learning resources.” Below the text is a drawing of Schnumn at her laptop next to a drawing tablet with a thought bubble reading “Oh cool, so that’s how you blend colours in photoshop…”

Panel three: A thin panel spanning the page that reads “In my experience, there are two good ways to learn…”

Panel four: Text reads “Firstly, through other artists, be that in person or otherwise. Follow blogs, look at tutorials and tips but most importantly, look at their work. Other artists’ work will inspire yours. Social media is great for art. Get on Instagram/Pinterest/Deviantart…There are tons! Find one for you! Above the text is a drawing of Schnumn side-on, peering at her laptop, saying “Ooh, that’s cool!”

Panel five: Text reads “Secondly, learn through life. You can rifle through resources forever but drawing from life is vital. Classes in life drawing are invaluable but so is just going out and sketching. Go to a coffee shop and draw people! Draw whatever you can see out of your window! Draw everything! Above the text is a drawing of Schnumn side-on, sketching a potted plant.

Panel six: Text reads “Educating yourself is so important, but so is remembering that art is about whatever you want it to be about. The most crucial thing is to have fun and make sure that whatever you’re doing, you love doing it! In the middle of the text is a drawing of Schnumn with her hands clasped to her chest, surrounded by various art tolls like paintbrushes, rulers, electrical tools, pens, and paint bottles.

 

Images: Schnumn (@Schnumn)

 

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You can support our independent feminist arts journalism for as little as $1 per month on Patreon: www.patreon.com/artificialwomb

 

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