INTERVIEW WITH AN EXTRACURRICULAR ART TEACHER

I have been further defining the problems of the target group:

  • The target group is defined by need for speed. They need to focus on drawing itself and simplify any supporting actions.
  • Detest looking up stuff online because it takes so much time when having little experience or vocabulary to guide in searching.
  • Don’t get as much done as they would like because of the time constraint and due to getting distracted by challenging parts of drawing while lacking straight-forward solutions.
  • Generally poor self-esteem regarding their own art.
  • Comparison-mindset and lack of appreciation and understanding for their own work and for the progress or in-between stages of creating.
  • Generally young people, inspired by pop-culture rather than high-culture.

These problems are more widespread due to the social media era, because target group is surrounded by a massive daily feed of artists and work that seems superior to their own. The rich media feed has potential to be inspiring, but it becomes a burden for people in the target group, as it makes them unable to enjoy their own work. They have a pressure on getting likes and comments on social media and suffer from constant comparison to work of others and the feedback they get. Social media-mindset and pressure reflects on their personal drawing. Creativity suffers from the internalised pressure and coming up with ideas becomes difficult. People are insecure because they feel they cannot draw, as their perception of their skills is not truthful but overly negative and selective. My research indicates that the best way to help them is not by providing conventional art education, but by getting them to draw more and more casually.

Although the point of the application is not to provide tractional art education, I contacted an extracurricular art teacher to gather insights on how to get people familiarised with new media and techniques, and how to overcome insecurity especially when being surrounded by multiple people.

These are some key insights I gathered from the interview:

  • Being present is important, and small hints help people to continue and overcome frustration.
  • Providing specific advice for a specific problem quickly helps to re-engage. It doesn’t have to be a full lecture, just a couple of verses.
  • Breaking new things into simple steps that are easy to follow is useful.
  • Allowing free doodling with the new technique in an unexpected way keeps people engaged.
  • Having the media and assets ready for the next media or technique is important.
  • Showing that every approach and sketch has value helps people to see their progress and accomplishments.
  • Explaining a technique quickly in a few minutes maintains people’s attention and doesn’t take time away from their drawing practise.

Based on this I concluded that it’s important for my application to keep track of the media the user has available before selecting the prompt, provide short and snappy tutorial introductions and keep track of the user’s accomplishments. The following are features that aim to encourage the growth-oriented thinking over negative self-deprecation:

  • Asking users to submit information on what they liked about their own work and whether they liked the prompt subject and media.
  • People get frustrated with details which stops their drawing process. The app provides supplementary materials and breaks the prompt into smaller pieces to enable the flow.
  • Timeline allows users to see their productiveness — “I don’t draw enough” is something many people feel no matter how much they draw, especially if they work in a full-time job. Showing the work they have done visualises their accomplishments.
  • Developing a social side: encouraging people to share their less perfect work with others in a safe environment.
  • Learning by doing — the app doesn’t focus on improvement but gives tools for exploring new techniques and media.
  • “Great!” – encouraging screens to create a friendly tone of voice.