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honoria in ciberspazio

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Critical tears
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Sometimes my students do something that makes me cry. I try to find ways to develop student writing skills by giving them information on the Feldman method of critique: Describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate. Students really just want to say "good job, your shading looks awesome," but for that they get no points. I let them choose one of the 4 categories of Feldman for each comment but this student decided to do a full 4-part critique. Here it is, sniff, sniff!

Student Critique of a peer in Life Drawing week 4 of the course.

The drawing I'll describe is the final composition for the self portrait of D sitting.

The body is drawn darker than the chair. There is more important to body of the man than the chair. The drawing takes up a majority of the paper. There's very little white space left in the image. He appears to be nude and using the chair to cover himself up and he's crossing his arms and using his left foot to balance himself.

The artist used charcoal, graphite and white paper. The graphite was used to draw the outlines and basic shape of the character, the rest of the image was traced over and touched up with charcoal. Some of the facial expressions are still done in graphite. The chair was not traced over and that's why it's a lot lighter than the body.

The interpretation that I get from the drawing is that of a man who's looking and studying an object outside of the drawing; maybe looking outside his window of his studio loft. Thinking about will happen tomorrow or the day after. There's a look of uncertainty and doubt in his face and his arms crossed the way they are adds to the feeling of wariness.

I want to say that I learned a great deal from this drawing. The use of graphite to sketch out the drawing and than go over with charcoal was really nice. Also, I saw that you don't have to make everything dark. Leaving the chair in its sketch graphite state adds more emphasis to the body and reduces the chair to a prop and not part of the drawing. So next time I draw something similar to this I'll try to use these 2 techniques that I learned.

Reply from facilitator:
This 4-part critique reflects the deep and professional analysis that will serve E well in the professional world. In the near future this is the quality of writing needed to complete your portfolio.

Did you know that every image in your portfolio must have a narrative?

As you do good work that you save, also save the critiques such as this one that other students give to your drawings. When it comes time to assemble your portfolio you will have a great set of ideas from which to craft your narratives.

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You rock. While excellent, my art teachers never taught the Feldman method.

Did your teachers teach any other methods? Did they encourage students to critique or reserve critiquing for teachers?

We always critiqued and they strived to get us to provide constructive criticism but unfortunately we worried more about hurting other people's feelings rather than making better more challenging art. We walked on eggshells.

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