Art Insider's Guide to High School The Tattoo

How to succeed in art class

Entrance to at Christelijk College Nassau-Veluwe in Harderwijk, The Netherlands (By Carolina Nelissen/YJI)

ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands – Sitting alone at lunch, falling down the stairs, getting lost. When entering high school as a freshman, these will be just a few of the thousand worries going through your mind.
The first couple of days, you probably won’t have a mind lucid enough to be concerned about something as secondary as the actual classes, let alone that you’ll even start to think about art classes as an obstacle.
Well, you may want to think again when you’re desperately trying to keep your hopelessly deformed clay figurine from collapsing.
As a freshman, I thought of art class as some sort of extended lunch break, where I’d be able to relax and talk with my friends.
After only one class, I realized I’d been gravely underestimating this part of my education.
‘Just putting something together’ turned out to be much more difficult than it sounded, at least for me.
Some of my classmates seemed to have been sawing, drawing and designing since the age of three. They’re the lucky ones. For others, art class can be hell.
I had no idea how to handle a fretsaw, so I ruined about five of those fragile blades before I even started to saw anything.
Believe me, when you see all of your artistic attempts turn into an unrecognizable mess, it’s pretty hard to believe why anyone would choose to do this as a hobby.
It wasn’t long before I got extremely frustrated with the entire art thing and I figured art just wasn’t for me – but that was before I discovered the very essence of art.
It isn’t really about what it is, but more about what people think it is.
When I nervously approached the teacher’s desk with my cardboard wannabe ‘bird,’ I noticed him glancing suspiciously at my masterpiece. When he remarked that it didn’t really look like a bird and that the separate pieces didn’t fit together, I managed to keep a straight face.
With a smile, I told him I’d done that on purpose, because a bird seems to be so one with the air when it’s flying, you almost feel you can see through it.
That totally hit the spot, and I got a good grade.
From that moment, I really started to like art class and eventually I even took an extra course outside of school.
I still don’t know how to draw lifelike images or how to handle a fretsaw, but I enjoy it a lot anyway.
So, if you’re one of those freshmen who has made the mistake of underestimating art class, don’t worry.
Just try to figure out a creative way to get away with it. Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you.
Art class is about more than being technically perfect. Once you discover that, you can relax and enjoy the process itself.
If something collapses, don’t panic. Try to find a way to make it work.
If all else fails, make something up. Pretend like you did it with a plan.
This way, you might even come up with something really great one day.
Let’s not forget that some of the most important things in this world have been invented by accident.

Caroline Nelissen is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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