Friday, April 22, 2011

See the Light Art Class DVD

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Now that you've read about my experiences with the special Holiday See the Light DVDs, it's time to tell you what we think of their regular DVD art class.  The TOS Crew was sent the first Volume in See the Light's 9 Volume DVD course. Each DVD includes 4 lessons, and the first three Volumes each have a "bonus" lesson, for a total of 39 lessons.

PhotobucketPat Knepley is a pleasant and encouraging instructor. She naturally integrates Biblical truth with art classes~ "Creativity comes from the Creator, " "Tool Kit for Life"  (Bible~ memorization). This is something that is hard to do without being "Preachy", but I think she accomplishes it fairly well.

This first set of lessons is very basic, so while my olders weren't as challenged, they did produce some good drawings. Photo on 2011-04-22 at 22.13Photo on 2011-04-22 at 23.53 #2
My 3 year old was very excited to be shown very specifically two correct ways to hold a pencil and get two very different results. The step-by-step instructions meant that while his "apples" weren't "perfect", he was able to accomplish something of which he was proud. :) (Notice the two different styles of shading on the colored in apple?)


PhotobucketWhen looking at the curriculum syllabus, it is fairly obvious that the lessons are progressive, which is why bundling the entire curriculum makes sense. Offering them individually would be a nice touch for those who have moved beyond the basics, but would appreciate the ability to target certain areas. However, at this point in time the company does not have that option available.

One thing my kids picked up on that could be considered a "con"... in the 4th lesson of Volume 1, which is to "Draw what you see", it is very obvious that the shoe being "drawn" by Pat Knepley has already been sketched out. They weren't very impressed with that, given the concept of the lesson, and were quick to point that out to me. hmmmm.... I think that could be discouraging for kids... "Oh yeah... she's got it sketched out already, easy for her to say". Not a "deal-breaker" for me, but worth mentioning.

One benefit to "See the Light" is that it is an actual class being taught by a real instructor. This is very different than the 2-dimensional step-by-step instructions and photos that are common to many "how to draw" books, which is the only other experience we've had. It's also a great option if taking live classes just isn't a possibility, whether due to personal circumstances or location.

Another benefit~ The majority of the supplies are fairly common, so the out-of pocket expenses  (Beyond the actual course) should be fairly minimal.  If you don't already have the basic drawing tool kit, you should be able to pick most of the items up fairly inexpensively at any number of craft stores. (Many of them offer weekly coupons with 40-50% off a regular priced item)
Basic drawing tool kit
#2 pencil
drawing pencil
charcoal pencil
black sharpie
colored pencils
pencil sharpener
crayons (24+)
eraser (White or kneaded)

Photo on 2011-04-23 at 01.52
Eldest's on pink paper
The bonus lesson DOES make use of chalk pastels, so if you don't have those, you'll want to think about picking some up.  My daughter appreciated the bonus lesson found on the first Volume, as it was demonstrating how to make a chalk drawing similar to the drawing presented during the "Artful Worship" segment on The Crossmaker DVD, which I reviewed earlier.

While the drawing was rather messy (Not her favorite thing), and she's a perfectionist (uh-oh), we both enjoyed doing the lesson.

Photo on 2011-04-23 at 01.45 #2
Mine on white paper
You can see in the top two pictures the trouble we ran into because we were using regular-sized construction paper. With most of the instruction we were able to correctly scale our drawings, but when it came time (At the end...) to draw the crosses, the method described didn't work well for our smaller-sized paper. See the smudges where we "kind of" erased the crosses and started over? Since I was playing with two drawings at the same time that Eldest was doing one (Different color paper backgrounds...I know... over-achiever....;)), I was able to catch that on the last picture, and there is not the same "Smudge" that marred the others.

The final analysis on drawing with chalk pastels is that it is hard, but fun! :) Excellent!

Photo on 2011-04-23 at 01.45
Mine on brown paper
Eldest mentions that using mom's OLD pastels wasn't very helpful when we were supposed to  be able to make thin sharp marks, and perhaps it would be worth it to use a new box!

I can't give a definitive opinion about the higher level DVDs, not having seen them, but based on the instruction in the first one, I am fairly confident that they will maintain the same standard. Here is a little "preview" snippet from Pat Knepley, that may give you a better understanding of the curriculum as a whole.

Now for a few more details:
  • Volume 1: The Basics (This is the one we received, which you can currently request from the Seethelight Website for free, OR you can watch the first three lessons online )
  • Volume 2: Shape and Space
  • Volume 3: Value and Color
  • Volume 4: Color Blending Techniques
  • Volume 5: Proportions for Composition
  • Volume 6: Texture and Form
  • Volume 7: Perspectives for the Landscape
  • Volume 8: Balance and Foreshortening
  • Volume 9: The Portrait
The Nitty Gritty~ 
9 Volumes  on DVD  $99.99 for the entire course ~ yours to keep and use throughout your homeschooling years
A Monthly subscription $10.00 that "unlocks" 4 new lessons, following the curriculum progression each month~ you have access to all lessons you've unlocked as long as your subscription is maintained
Age Range~ The site says "Kids of all ages"~ clearly, my 3 yo got something out of it, listening and watching and drawing along. Very good for a beginning artist of most any age, however, based on the teaching style, I would say that it is most appropriate for Elementary-aged students.

As always, I hope that this review has helped you determine where and how to best use your homeschool budget! To see what other TOS Crew members had to say, please visit the TOS Crew Blog, and scroll through the main post to get to the linky.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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