Master artist Pat Knepley teaches the basics of art techniques in a series of classes that might be used with children as young as six or seven through the teen years. Knepley’s engaging personality, step-by-step instruction, and high-quality production values for the DVDs make this series an outstanding choice for class groups or individuals learning art.
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 volume titles give you a general idea of the content of each set of lessons. Volume titles in order are The Basics, Shape & Space, Value & Color, Color Blending Techniques, Proportions for Composition, Texture & Form, Perspective for the Landscape, Balance & Foreshortening, and The Portrait. On the first volume DVD, there’s a bonus lesson for drawing crosses on Calvary hill using pastels, although it seems to me that it might be better used later on in the course when students have more experience.
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 the cost and the mess both in check by omitting paints. (A complete list of supplies needed for each volume is available on the publisher’s website.)
Each volume has four lessons, with each lesson running from about 12 to 20 minutes. I appreciate the detailed instruction. Knepley’s experience working with children is evident as she points out pitfalls to avoid and takes care to explain how to use unfamiliar art media. The video recording was probably 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.
You can purchase individual volumes, but purchasing the set saves a great deal of money, and I expect you’ll want to continue once you begin. Knepley also has a follow-up series titled Art Projects.
I first reviewed the DVD lessons in 2013, but in 2015 I learned that Knepley has created three new lessons (that start with beginning drawing skills) that are available free on the See The Light website. You can also access some free lessons by Jim Pence that she makes available through her blog.