Say NO to Stick Figures!
I love having my students draw in class. But I HATE stick figures.
Stick figures aren’t really designed to do anything other than stand there. If you want to make them walk or run, or do much of anything, they aren’t designed for it. Furthermore, they aren’t easy to customize. You can add hair. That’s about it.
This becomes a problem for my students when I have them doing something creative in class, like sketch notes or a sociogram. They have to find a way to not only represent different characters, but also different things they might be doing such as fighting, arguing, going from place to place.
My students will inevitably ask, “Can we use stick figures?” The cynical side of me says they’re just being lazy. But I also think they lack confidence in their drawing abilities. When they were in elementary school, they all believed they were artists. As they get older, the doubts start to creep in. So does the evaluation. They want to take the safe path instead of trying to stretch themselves with their drawing abilities.
However, if I’m having my students do creative work I also want them to practice craftsmanship. I want them to work hard at getting better at all aspects of the design process, from layout to neatness to ingenuity. This includes drawing better people.
Drawing Better People
I created the above visual that shows a better way to create stick figures for student projects. These people are easy enough for students to draw and are suitable for a variety of poses. I also provided some instruction on how to create better faces (noses and eyebrows are the key) as well as how to draw hair (the easiest way to customize characters.) I’ve also included four hand shapes that students might use because hands are always tricky.
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