Drawing towards excellence

Advanced Drawing students Morgan Lashley, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Alex Sines, Mack Nelson, and Tea Guerra focusing on their work

Syble Heffernan

Advanced Drawing students Morgan Lashley, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Alex Sines, Mack Nelson, and Tea Guerra focusing on their work

tea coloring page printout
Sample coloring page printout designed by junior Tea Guerra

You walk down the hallway until you reach the end, and head through the door of the final classroom. Inside the iridescent room, you are met by tile floors, durable black tables littered with pencils and sketches, counter tops covered in art supplies, and displays lining the walls.
Students fill the tables, pencils in hand, and eyes focused deeply on the off-white paper at the base of their fingertips. There is very little chatter or distraction, and it seems as though nothing could draw the student’s attention away from their work. Welcome to the North Platte High School Advanced Drawing class.

Advanced Drawing is an elective class offered to students who show passion for and promising ability in drawing. “I love to draw because I can make it personal and I just really enjoy it. I always carry a sketchbook around even when I’m not in art class,” said junior Mack Nelson.
Art teacher Joy Petersen elaborated on the speciality of the class. “The students are generally upperclassmen and are focused on their work. They are driven and self-sufficient. They’re starting to develop their personal styles and I love watching them branch out from a group to individuals as their confidence grows,” Petersen said, “The best thing about the class is that I learn as much from them as they do from me.”

In regards to drawing talent at NPHS, this class is the cream of the crop. “I like how this is class is more in depth and it’s not just learning how to draw. It’s more fine tuning and learning your personal style,” said Nelson. “I’ve always been okay at drawing, but I can already tell a difference in the development of my drawing style after just the first couple weeks,” said junior Tea Guerra. This class offers students an opportunity to express themselves “I like how much freedom we get. We get assigned a project and can do it however we want and put our own twist on it. We get more freedom to express and create than in a general art class,” said Guerra.

Another benefit to this class is that it provides a chance for students to give their minds a refresher from everyday stress. “In some ways it’s my most demanding class, but it’s so nice to have a mental break and be able to just draw,” said Guerra.

This month, the Advanced Drawing class tried a project that just came about this year. The class received the opportunity to design coloring books containing pages of their own work. “We were iffy about it at first because we didn’t know a good theme, but we ended up deciding to do a melting theme. The melting aspect tied all the pieces together as a cohesive unit,” Guerra said.
“The coolest part of the coloring book project is the collaboration. I love watching the students work in a large group making decisions, critiquing each other’s work, and fostering relationships. There is pressure added to a project when you are part of a group,” said Petersen.

When asked about how this class has enhanced their high school experience, students were very enthusiastic. Nelson said she wasn’t going to continue with art after middle school, but ended up being put into a class freshman year and is very thankful. “I’m always the one to do anything creative when it comes to projects because everyone knows I like art. I couldn’t imagine high school without continuing to draw,” said Nelson.“If I wouldn’t have taken this class I wouldn’t be able to draw as well and wouldn’t have the desire to just sit down and draw what I see. This will be an enjoyable skill to have in my future after high school,” Guerra said.

Whether they’re making coloring books, sketching figures, or freehand drawing, there is no denying that these students are overflowing with light, creativity, and lifelong talent.