My children and I have been enjoying art lessons from Beyond the Stick Figure Art School. The instructor, Sally, has a degree in art from Loughborough College of Art and Design in England. Since then she has moved to America and now homeschools her eight children. She wanted to be able to pass on her art skills, and one way she has done that is by sharing them in this art program. We are reviewing the Beyond the Stick Figure Complete Drawing Course PLUS 3 Bonus Courses.
We have actually been given a lifetime membership to this program. Most of the courses have three parts, though the Pen & Ink course has only two. Each part is then divided into numerous topics or steps or days (take your pick, she actually calls them all three on the site). The Drawing course has a total of 55 topics, Pen & Ink has a total of 15, Watercolor has a total of 52, Acrylic has a total of 24, and 3D Design has a total of 30.
When you log into your account you will see a bar that shows your progress, and then below that you will see the course you are signed up in, plus a link to click to look at the materials needed. There is quite the list of materials needed for all of these courses combined. Thankfully we were able to start with just a sketchbook and PrismaColor markers in the Drawing Course. She was quite particular on which materials to purchase, which I can understand the thought process behind needing quality art supplies.
The lessons build upon one another, so you are not able to move to the next one until the current one has been marked complete. Personally, I would have loved to have been able to have moved between the different courses without having to complete the previous one. Thankfully we were able to mark them complete without actually watching the video, so I could move ahead to check out all the courses. Though, I did feel like I was cheating a bit, and it was a bit time consuming waiting for each to load before being able to mark it complete.
The majority of the review period was spent in Drawing Part 1 and a little of Drawing Part 2. Then we sort of skipped to Pen & Ink because the children wanted to try something different.
I appreciated that Sally decided to start by teaching the students to see like an artist, and to look for circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines in the world around them. This seemed to match well with the sample video that is available on the site, where you get to use those different shapes to create a picture. (I won't tell you what it is, as I don't want to spoil it for you, but you can watch that video and try it out right on the main page without having to join.)
Sally described circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines to us.
For the first week using the program, Harold and Hannah explored the house and yard, going on a little scavenger hunt each day, looking for those parts that make up everything we see. There were worksheet pages we had to download where they could define and practice each, and then draw their own masterpiece using that specific shape. For example, here is Hannah's Circle Creation.
The next week was spent taking our knowledge of circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines a bit further. Plus, we were able to work with the markers we had purchased for the course. So far this has been my favorite part of the course because I got to doodle.
The instructor showed us what it was she wanted us to do.
And then we got to drawing and coloring.
Here are my circle, dot, and curved line doodles:
These are Hannah's circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines.
We then had 4 projects to complete that combined the different shapes.
Project #1: We were to draw 3 circles, 5 dots, and color any way we wanted to
Project #2: We were to draw curved lines all over the page, letting them overlap. We weren't to take our marker off the paper. Then we were to color it.
Project #3: We were to cover the page with circles, turning some into dots, and then draw curved lines. Again we were to color them how we desired.
Project #4: We were to start at one end of the paper, draw a small line, let the marker sit to form a dot, then go in a different direction, and repeat til we hit the end of the paper. Then we were to do it again and again, overlapping the lines.
Here's a look at mine:
And here are Hannah's:
Harold used smaller paper so he was able to fit a bunch of his on one page.
I definitely appreciated that Sally gave us the option to use the size paper we were comfortable with. Harold didn't want to make his pictures very big, so he just used the 1/8 of a page size. I prefered using paper the size of 1/4 of a regular size sheet of printing paper. And Hannah used both sizes.
Drawing Part 1 finishes off with some lessons on primary/secondary colors and overlapping.
In Drawing Part 2, Sally had us practicing little details over and over again in a grid. First we were to trace, then we were to follow dots, and then we were to draw them without any guidance. As we couldn't find any blank grids, I just had the children practice tracing and following the dots.
Sadly, the children were not fond of these lessons, and neither was I honestly. As I had looked ahead to become knowledgeable of the different courses for this review, I realized the entire month of lessons was going to be repeating different lines and curves over and over. After several days of the children struggling with trying to follow the dots, I decided to move on to the Pen & Ink section.
I am thankful that I did, because they had a lot more fun and I even got Tabitha to try it out. She is quite the artist, and wasn't interested in trying out the beginning lessons, but when she saw that watercolors were involved, her interest was piqued.
I did notice that the Pen & Ink course seemed to go hand-in-hand with the Watercolor course, seeing as watercolors are used for the two Pen & Ink lessons.
The first was a tiny 3"x2 1/4" project. The art itself was contained to a 1 inch square, while the rest was a frame.
The other lesson in Pen & Ink teaches us to make a transfer by first drawing it on tracing paper, flipping it to the reverse side and tracing it again in pencil, and then transferring it to the watercolor paper and tracing it again with the Sharpie marker.
I know Hannah is really looking forward to continuing on with the Watercolor course. Harold is greatly anticipating moving on to the the 3D Design, especially because our clay and other supplies arrived the other day.
Though we weren't a fan of Drawing Part 2, we have really been enjoying the rest of this art course. I do wish she could make it so you could go to the other courses without first having to work through the others. I would also love to see more drawing lessons that were more like the sample on her site. We had spent a lot of time focusing on circles, dots, curved lines, and straight lines, and I would have loved to have incorporated that more.
Don't forget to see what my fellow Crew Mates tught about Beyond the Stick Figure Art School by clicking on the banner below.