In the Art Class video series, master artist Pat Knepley teaches the basics of art techniques in a series of lessons that might be used with children as young as six or seven up through the teen years. Knepley’s engaging personality, step-by-step instruction, and high-quality production values for the videos make this series an outstanding choice for class groups or individuals learning art. The videos are available as downloadable files or via streaming.
The course teaches the basics of drawing such as how to make different types of lines using a pencil, how to draw what you see, perspective, placement on the paper, contour, scale, point of view, ground, proportions, shading, shadows, drawing people, and drawing faces. You might select lessons based on the ages and abilities of students, but it is probably best if you use them in order. The lessons are grouped under the headings The Basics, Shape & Space, Value & Color, Color Blending Techniques, Proportions for Composition, Texture & Form, Perspective for the Landscape, Balance & Foreshortening, and The Portrait.
Many lessons use nothing more than a basic #2 pencil and paper. However, Knepley also teaches the use of pens, markers, colored pencils, pastels, charcoal, and crayons. Students learn color theory and color blending as they learn to use the various media. This selection of art media keeps both the cost and the mess in check by omitting paints. (A complete list of supplies needed for each volume is available on the publisher’s website.)
The course's 36 lessons each run from about 12 to 20 minutes. Knepley’s experience working with children is evident as she provides detailed instructions, points out pitfalls to avoid, and takes care to explain how to use unfamiliar art media. The video recording was done with at least two cameras since shots vary from Knepley’s presentation to close-ups of objects and other angles to observe the artwork in progress. The professional filming and editing make this series more interesting to watch than others as well as more effective for teaching.
Knepley also serves as Director of Children’s Ministries at a church, and her passion for teaching children about God translates into at least one scriptural object lesson included within each art lesson. Some of these object lessons stretch a bit to make scriptural connections, but many will stick in children’s minds.
Check the publisher's website for free lessons that you can try before buying. Knepley also has a follow-up series titled Art Projects.