One of my long-time teaching gigs is a beginning drawing class for highschool and early-college-age artists. Although open to anyone, generally they are students who are planning on applying to art college. Besides giving them info on observational drawing, I help them begin, continue, or round out their portfolios.
I've been teaching this and similar classes for a long time. In the last few years I've noticed that the level of skill that students are bringing to my class has leaped forward exponentially.
For example, take a look at this drawing from last session's beginning class:
It's not just me, right? It's amazing! This kind of drawing has become more typical than atypical.
Every semester it astonishes me, the level of work coming out of these people (average age 17). I was nowhere near that level of skill at their age. Where is it coming from? I'm flabbergasted.
But then, I remember what I tell my students, explaining why I work them (and myself) so hard, expect so much out of them:
Yes, class is all about them. Our goal: great drawings, fabulous portfolios, exploring art in new ways. But really, I tell them, bottom line it's all about me. Their wonderful drawings make me, as their teacher, look good.
Is it just me? Sorta. I like to think so, anyway.
Student drawing used by permission.