Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ArtAchieve - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
In mid-March I learned I had been chosen to be a part of the crew that would be reviewing for ArtAchieve.

I reviewed the Entire Level III of their program awhile back, and this time I was being called upon to review Entire Level IV.
Level IV contains ten lessons:

  • Lesson 1: The Ukranian Face with Hidden Surprises;
  • Lesson 2: The Chinese Horse: Drawing the Entire Horse;
  • Lesson 3: The Albatross and the Galleon Ship;
  • Lesson 4: The Hawaiian Heliconia;
  • Lesson 5: The Bangladesh Monster;
  • Lesson 6: Draw Like an Ancient Egyptian;
  • Lesson 7: The Convent in L'viv: Shading Angular Objects;
  • Lesson 8: The Stained Glass Nativity Window;
  • Lesson 9: The Rooftops of Zabreb;
  • Lesson 10: Drawing People with Degas.
When you first open a lesson you are presented with four options: 
1. Power Point Presentation;
2. Warm-up;
3. Print-out of the drawing of the project; and
4. Video version of the lesson.

Power point presentations begin with a page explaining how each lesson meets The National Standards for Arts Education and National Standards for Visual Arts. It also tells that Level IV lessons are suitable for art students in Grade 6 and above (it also says Grades 6-8, so it is a little confusing to me).

The presentation then introduces a photograph of the real art piece that each art project is inspired by, and goes over the art piece point by point to bring things to the student's attention. Next the presentation introduces a line drawing and tells the student what he will be doing in the lesson (drawing line drawing and then what medium will be used to finish project).

Needed supplies are listed. Next the student is led through a relaxation exercise to prepare to draw. The student is instructed to play soothing background music while completing the art lesson. The student completes a warm-up exercise that gives practice drawing lines and curves that will occur in the day's lesson. A set of "Rules for Drawing" is discussed.

Finally the student is walked through steps to complete a line-drawing of the presented lesson picture. 

It was difficult to decide where to start. It took me awhile to figure out the best way to compare all the Level IV lessons to decide which one would work best to start. From the Level IV lessons page you can click on any lesson to read more specific information about each project, a list of needed supplies, and really fabulous Cross Curricular Connections. The Cross Curricular Connections would make it very easy to do entire unit studies when you do these art projects. I would recommend to ArtAchieve that they link to these pages where the lesson links to the Power Point and Video lessons!

The first project we did was The Rooftops of Zagreb. First, the warm-up.

Next set up the work space.

Then worked through both the PowerPoint presentation and the video lesson, and the creation of the painting.  I like the way it turned out. The instructions on combining warm and cool colors really makes the colors pop!

The estimated time to complete was less time than it actually took. For this home school that was true for every lesson.

I don't know or understand the ArtAchieve reasons or philosophy for the warm up steps. Maybe we are just impatient artists, but after doing many of the warm-ups, by mutual agreement, we stopped doing them. The concept of rubbing hands together, covering eyes with palms and breathing deeply is a somewhat standard relaxation technique, but it still seems somewhat mystical and "New Age". And we didn't like practicing what we were to draw. But then, our youngest student is 17, and the practice drawing is probably good for younger students.

The next project we tackled was The Albatross and the Galleon Ship.

I like the way the salt method created water effects, but other than that it didn't turn out particularly well. We also had an unexpected confusion - the instructions said to take out about eight oil pastels, but then the video only had the white one used. So I guess there is a section of the video that should be redone, because it only used fine-tipped black marker, white oil pastel, salt and water colors. And then the video said to add additional highlights but didn't give instruction on how to do that, so the above painting doesn't look as nice as the one in the video lesson.

Another project completed was The Hawaiian Heliconia. It was fun learning how the water color pencils work, and learning how to do a water color wash in the background. The drawing was done in pencil on this one, and that started causing a lot of smearing because of the type we had chosen to use, so care had to be taken to draw without resting the drawing hand on the paper. The resulting painting is very nice.

We are eyeing next The Bangladesh Monster or The Convent in L'viv.

The projects in ArtAchieve Level IV include pen drawing, pencil drawing and shading, water color, water color pencil and other mediums and techniques. If you need an art curriculum to use in your home school that won't require a lot of expensive supplies, this might be the program you are looking for.

To see other ArtAchieve product reviews, please click the button below.
Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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