Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: Creating a Masterpiece

Wow! Did my kiddos love these Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. Designed by Sharon Hofer, this art program teaches technique and helps students to have their own success. Sharon has over 20 years of teaching experience, and let me tell you ... it shows!

My husband is/was an artist and went to art school. I always hoped he'd teach my kids art, but the time just isn't there. My Abigail loves doing art and is showing some of her Daddy's talent. But how to teach it?
Creating a Masterpiece is the program that can do it. And while this particular review is for Drawing Program there is much more there too!

"The teaching style must be simple enough for a child to follow. I want to encourage them to take pride in their work and help them feel like a real artist, instead of doing simplistic crafts. Too often many art programs expect too little from the students." -- Sharon Hofer

We used this program in our daily homeschool lessons with children ranging from 8-14. Here were some things we loved about the program:
  • The program is very easy to use! Simply log-in, go to the right page, and begin!
  • Sharon puts an emphasis on quality. This isn't crafts. This is fine art. These are things you may want to frame. 
  • The kids were proud of what they created. Some of our kids love art. Some don't. But all had at least one project that they felt proud of their work.
  • Of the six children who did this program in our home, three really like art. Two don't like it at all. And one can go either way. The three who enjoyed art, begged to do this program every day we homeschooled. Gabe, the oldest of the kids (who was the one who can go either way), often took the program and morphed it a bit to do it but do it his way, and he really enjoyed this. He definitely used his own interpretation. And my two sons (who are not fans of art in general) both had some success and times that they enjoyed what they were working on. Not every time but often.
  • Sharon focuses on young children and teens -- not adults! (Although adults can definitely participate!)
  • While we only did the basic drawing program, Sharon provides many other learning opportunities on her website including: wood burning, alcohol inks, bust sculpture, faux stained glass, block printing, rubber stamp printmaking, portraiture, and much, much, much more!
  • Lessons take from about 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how long the kids want to spend on a project. She encourages them not to go fast.
  • Drawing Videos is something that kids can do on their own. I often had one of my art-lovers just jump on and work on a project by themselves. 
  • Kids as young as 4 can start this program. While we focused on our 8-14 year olds in our homeschool program, young children could absolutely jump in and try as well. 
  • Multiple aged kids can sit down at one table and work on a project together. This is perfect for a homeschooling environment!!
  • There were only three supplies needed! So many art programs require an extensive list of purchases. This one didn't. All we needed were: 
    • Pencils
    • Colored Pencils
    • Charcoal
We decided to do only pencil and colored pencil projects during this review period. (We are going to continue with the program and branch into charcoal over the next few weeks/months.) I have a ton of samples of projects that our kiddos did during this time. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Lessons in Colored Pencil: Tabby Cat; Abigail age 8
Lessons in Colored Pencil: Tabby Cat; Visiting friend Bailee age 9
Lessons in Pencil: Giraffe in cartoon; Gabe age 14
Lessons in Pencil: Hoot Owl; Analise' age 10
Lessons in colored Pencil: Tabby Cat; Kari age 10
Lessons in Pencil: Simplicity; Abigail age 8
Lessons in Pencil: Hoot Owl; Abigail age 8

Lessons in Pencil: Hoot Owl; Kari age 10

 "I believe that the students will rise up to the challenge if the teacher expects the most from them. At Creating a Masterpiece we are confident that every student regardless of their age or artistic ability will be able to produce beautiful artwork as they work slowly and methodically through the program." -- Sharon Hofer
There are a total of 29 projects in this Unit. Here is a screen shot of how this program looks when you open it up on the Creating a Masterpiece website:

However, keep in mind that within the project itself, there are multiple lessons that go farther and farther within each project. You can see this below with "The Rose":

Our overall opinion: this is incredibly well done. NOT rinky-dink. Thorough. Easy-to-follow. Fun.
We had three minor complaints with the program. 

(1) One of the main ones was that each activity includes multiple videos. This means that you have to get up and start the next video after one finishes. This isn't a major complaint, but all the kids commented that they wished that the video was just all one big video. Here is a screen shot that includes an example of this "problem":

(2) The second complaint was that there were two different projects that were missing part of the video. We have emailed the company and received a notice that they were out of the country and wouldn't be able to respond until they get back (which hasn't happened yet.) So this was a little frustrating. However, I am hopeful they will be able to rectify this. Update: They have already fixed this on their website! Great customer service!!!

(3) While Sharon's website discusses how inexpensive this program is (and I think it is!) $199 is still a lot for most families. Now this is for as many children as you have. So if, like us, you have 6 children using the program the works out to under $3 per kid per month. It's definitely a good deal. However, it is still a substantial purchase for homeschooling families. Again, I think what you get for the money is worth it, but it's a big commitment. 
I encourage you to check this program out for yourself! There is a FREE sample program that you can do right on the website to give it a try. Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece: art at your fingertips!
Learning to Draw {Creating a Masterpiece Reviews}
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