I am very excited to share the following guest blog post by art teacher, Anne Kukitz. As a classroom teacher, I often wondered, “What would an art teacher think about the artistic advice I am giving my students?” Below is Anne’s answer to that very question.
Fact: Visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text.
Therefore, visuals can be a super effective form of communication. Since tribal times, people have used visuals to communicate with one another when spoken language was a barrier. Today’s world is heavily reliant on visual culture and knowing how to communicate a message or idea, visually, is an asset to 21st century learners.
As an art teacher, there are a few common mistakes that I see repeatedly in student visual displays. With a few suggestions, you can help students to create more aesthetically pleasing and coherent work.
- Use a ruler
It is hard to draw a straight line. Which is why we have these wonderful instruments called rulers. Use a ruler to draft light guidelines for words and to create clean straight lines for visuals. The human eye naturally reads in straight lines. Be sure to draw your guidelines lightly so that then can later be erased.
- Size matters
Encourage students to use size to emphasize the main idea of their visual. Use large letters for your title line and highlight sub points in smaller text. If you are creating a visual for viewers to see from a distance, use an appropriate font size. Print/draw a couple of example fonts and view them from an ideal viewing distance to find what works best for your project.
- Plan: Rough drafts aren’t just for writing
Plan out your visual before you begin to create it. Often times, students begin a final draft before they consider all of the information that they want to add to their project. Create a small template worksheet and have students arrange information using simple geometric cutouts before creating a final work.
- Less is More
Urge students to include only pertinent information. A cluttered visual overwhelms the viewer and makes it difficult to pick out “the meat.” Suggest that students chunk information and then organize them symmetrically.
Correct spelling and grammar will make a visual easier to read and understand. If a viewer has to take additional time to figure out what the artist is trying to say, they are less likely to continue viewing. Proper planning (see #3) will help avoid forgotten words and common misspellings.