Due to the Easter holidays with family the week seemed very short. I started another felting project: I had bought a rather boring looking brown felt table runner during a trip to Germany a couple of years ago. I had planned to cut it apart to use the pieces in other felted artworks. While looking for another project that I could work on for short stretches, I suddenly had the idea of using the table runner as a base for a field of flowers. In this picture, you can see the first couple of flowers. I guess that I am getting too impatient to wait for the real arrival of spring.
This week, the spring semester at François Dupuis Recreation Complex started. I am very happy that all three of my “Cartooning and Comics” courses are running. For the first time, I am teaching a course for 5 - 7 year olds. While I had prepared the Hotel Transylvania characters Dracula and Mavis for the two older groups, I was not sure what I could expect from the younger kids. It has been about 10 years since I had kids that young in my life. At the end, I decided to go with an underwater theme that seems to be very popular with kids and adults of all ages. The kids drew a seahorse, a shark, and lots of smaller fish. One boy even added a turtle.
When I started teaching drawing courses for kids in 2013, I was out of my comfort zone. I had painted for decades, had done life drawing classes for a couple of years, but was not really drawing regularly. I had taught art classes before, where we did a little bit of drawing but put more focus on painting colourful scenes. Having to focus on drawing was something new and also slightly unsettling for me. Nevertheless, I was ready for more teaching hours and took the challenge. I am so glad I did. While I certainly have taught the kids how to draw many objects, I also learned a lot from the kids. I usually let my students pick what they want to draw as this keeps them more engaged. Their choices have often challenged me, because they pick animals, and mystical or animated characters that I would never choose for a subject of a drawing or painting. I always practice drawing the characters at home because once I am in class, I have to be able to draw on the whiteboard without hesitating where to begin and how to proceed. Sometimes, the children pick people or cartoon characters that are much too complicated to draw for their age level. Then, I have to figure out how I can break down the whole body into easy shapes to make the drawing manageable.
By teaching the courses and practicing what I am teaching, I have improved my drawing skills too. I am a much better observer of shapes that I see in complicated structures. These days, I always have a small drawing pad with me, and while I not always successful, I find a lot of pleasure in trying to capture what is around me when there is an opportunity.
From time to time it is good to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. Is there anything you would like to learn? Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if I can support you in any way.