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Do You Need a Degree to Teach Others to Draw?

By Yann, published on 21/02/2019 We Love Prof - AU > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > How to Become an Art Teacher

Are you mad for art of any type? Do you spend your days drawing, sketching and painting? Or are you more of a hands-on artist: moulding and shaping materials to create appealing yet functional works of art?

Is it your greatest desire to communicate your passion for art by teaching other aspiring artists on how to draw, paint or sculpt?

If you simply can’t imagine your life without painting or holding charcoal in your hand all day long, you might have already toyed with the idea of offering painting or drawing workshops.

Especially in these lean times, you may have thought of making your education in art pay for itself by giving lessons.

There are, of course, many ways to do so.

You may seek out an art teaching post in a school – primary, secondary or higher might be your choice. You might also give private lessons, independent of any institution.

Some artists earn their livelihood through a combination of both situations: teaching art during the day and tutoring in the discipline evenings and weekends.

The times are hard after all, and the whole starving artist stereotype is decidedly unattractive to most.

Even after retirement from teaching, dedicated art teachers have a hard time letting go of the brush: for many, tutoring jobs make for satisfying alternative jobs for ex teachers.

If your thoughts have revolved around how to make your particular brand of art profitable, have we got some news for you!

Take a look at this table; it shows the required qualifications for teaching art at all levels, including independently, as a tutor. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that not all teaching situations require high degrees!

Qualifications for:TutorPrimary school TeacherSecondary School TeacherBeyond Secondary Level
DBSadvisednecessarynecessary---
Teaching Experienceadvisednecessarynecessarynecessary
Portfolioadvisedadvisedadvisedadvised
Bachelor Degreeoptionalnecessarynecessary---
Master's Degreeoptionaloptionalnecessary---
Doctorateoptionaloptionaloptionalnecessary

From that overview, your SuperProf now goes in depth about everything you need to teach students who share your passion and desire to create works of art.

How to Teach Art: What Qualifications do You Need?

Let’s get the good news out straightaway:

The UK has no laws and does not require any certifications to tutor in any subject.

That being said, there are a few caveats:

  • You should have at least some academic knowledge of your subject matter, as well as practical experience
  • Especially if you intend to tutor children, you should submit to a DBS check. It is a good idea, in all cases, to obtain one!
    • However, if you are younger than 16, a DBS is not necessary
  • The general rule of thumb is that the tutor should be at least one year more advanced in skill and learning than their pupil.

What that means is: if you are in school for your BA Hons in Art, you may competently tutor A-Level candidates or students preparing to sit their GCSEs in Art.

To give private lessons in drawing, watercolour, portraiture, life drawings or still life with no degree is one thing. Your experience, however… your ability to render a subject: that is what matters!

In the film Billy Elliott, the dance teacher taught her classes with a lit cigarette in hand. Didn’t that make you wonder about her ability to leap, pirouette and execute vigorous dance steps?

Perhaps because the village was impoverished and there were few enrichment activities available, that dance teacher was able to maintain her credibility. Besides, it was a different era!

These days, you would have a difficult time earning the trust of your students if you could not wield a paintbrush with any skill.

You may think that lining your studio walls with artwork you created would be sufficient to establish your artistic credentials but some people might believe those renderings had been painted by someone else… especially if, in class, you never pick up a pencil or brush! 

That is why, although you are not required to have formal education in creating art, it is best to earn your credentials.

You don't have to wear a beret to be an art teachrer! There are few requirements to tutoring in art; even the beret is optional! Source: Pixabay Credit: mnievesmc

What Can You Teach?

Billing yourself as an art teacher does not compel you to know everything about every branch of art. For example, if your medium is photography, it is not likely that anyone would want you to teach them how to sculpt.

However,  there are some shady areas between the media and there is nothing wrong with you exploiting them.

Let’s say your medium is watercolours. You could give private lessons in watercolour painting to help your students to progress, even if their medium is oils, acrylics or gouache.

Selecting the right brush is critical to painting with watercolours and the longer bristles make painting a challenge. Student painters could learn brush control, selection and maintenance from you, as well as mixing colours.

Giving drawing lessons can help you pass on your knowledge and help students to master artistic techniques such as hatching, shading, rendering…drawing basic shapes, learning to draw people or more complicated techniques such as portrait drawing or still life drawing.

By demonstrating through your accomplishments and explaining drawing techniques or basic painting concepts to your students, you will find and impart confidence, in yourself and to your students.

All of that sounds great, but you have to have the opportunity to do it!

You may entice students to lessons, in your home or theirs, by offering a free introductory session – in oil painting, watercolours, sketching, collage, oil pastels.. whatever your medium is.

Superprof has a battery of tips to help you find students for your art lessons!

Besides your artistic talent and gift for imparting knowledge, your personality and teaching style are sure to win your students over!

Your participation in associations or artistic projects wouldn’t hurt, either.

Get qualified to teach drawing and painting classes with a diploma Is it necessary to choose between a qualified art teacher or an amateur to make a painting course? Photo on VisualHunt.com

Becoming an Art Tutor with Superprof

Every Superprof art teacher (or tutor of any other subject!) is provided a page where they create a detailed overview of their education and experience, explain what they have to offer and even show artistic realizations.

Admittedly, the best tutors have some demonstrable type of formal education in artistic disciplines; at least one of the following:

  • A high school diploma in literature with an option arts
  • A Fine Arts School training
  • A preparatory school certificate denoting entrance to top art schools
  • A two-year technical degree in visual creation
  • A Master’s Degree in Art
    • some may even have a teaching certificate!
  • Passion and the experience of drawing or painting practice.

To reiterate: no art degree is required to give independent art courses or tutor in art. However, you should have some declaration of your teaching ability and activity.

Also, most important: you shouldn’t forget to register as an independent teacher with HMRC!

It’s true: even independent teachers have to follow the rules.

In the next section, we’ll discuss ways to earn those credentials that could make your tutoring business so very lucrative!

What status do you need to choose to give drawing classes?

What Courses are there to Prepare You to Teach Drawing?

To teach drawing, offer painting classes, organize workshops for drawing or watercolour; it’s better to have a well-furnished CV.

Rembrandt, Kahlo, Gentileschi… all great names in the art world who were apprenticed to prominent artists of their time but never had any formal education in art as a field of study.

That was then; this is now.

To make it as an artist or art teacher today, it’s not enough to have talent. An almost military preparation is needed to withstand the rigorous entrance examinations administered by every reputable art school.

To pass assessments and gain entrance to these art schools, it’s recommended you follow an artistic programme.

This experience alone can add value to the profile you establish to advertise private lessons in drawing and painting, artistic techniques, or even tutoring other art school hopefuls for their preparation of applied arts entrance examinations!

Furthermore, such a preparatory school will give you all the necessary knowledge to land you a place in an artistic study programme and help get your portfolio ready for your entrance interview to whichever art school you apply to.

These programmes are very structured and specifically target entrance criteria.

What can you expect from such an artistic preparation programme, and what will you learn?

  • You motivation to study art will be challenged and your artistic aptitude will be tested.
  • You will be given assistance in preparing your artistic portfolio that demonstrates your versatility as an artist
  • Through their curriculum, you will prepare for the entrance examinations by drilling in select aspects of art.
  • You will lay the foundation for broader studies in art theory and techniques
  • You will gain basic understanding of artistic expression (visual expression, sculpture, drawing, volume, computer graphics, etc.)

Such courses are a hot commodity currently! The biggest names of preparatory classes of applied arts are:

After going through preparatory school for entrance to top schools of art, hosting private workshops and teaching painting and drawing to individuals will be a piece of cake!

Be prepared for your drawing courses with all the competences required A set of brushes to follow a private lesson in plastic arts. Photo on VisualHunt.com

MANAA and Private Drawing Courses

You might ask yourself: what is MANAA?

MANAA is a designation of readiness for higher studies in art in France. MANAA programmes prepare art school candidates for university studies in applied arts; a course of study whose curriculum covers an entire year.

By the end of an intensive 12 months of work, you will have amassed a stunning portfolio packed full of diverse examples of your artistic ability.

We’re not joking when we say this course is intensive: you will be required to produce at least one work per week. Such a stringent requirement would call for you to spend at least three hours per day working independently.

This foundation course’s curriculum is the very epitome of artistic diversity: you would study computer graphics, the history of art, artistic expression, sketching, outlining, learn perspective and more!

Wait a minute, this school is in France! Why taunt UK art students with such an enticing programme only for it to be out of their reach?

Foundation Art Courses in France

Who wouldn’t want to study art in France?

This country is home to some of the most renowned fine art museums in the world: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Gallerie Nationale, Musée Picasso… these names represent just a few establishments you could visit to see masterworks!

What about Montmartre? Paris’ famed 18th District enjoys a long and rich artistic history. Painters such as Marie Cassatt, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh sojourned there; Renoir even painted his famous Bal au Moulin de la Galette there, using that famous windmill as inspiration!

Were you to study art in France; sign up for MANAA’s foundation course or preparatory class in Paris, you would have occasion to walk those famous streets and idle time in those museums – provided your work is done for the day.

Of course, Paris isn’t the only city with schools that host MANAA courses…

You should know, however, that MANAA itself is not an artistic preparation programme; you will be better prepared for the entrance examinations of applied art schools with a MANAA credential on your CV but you will still have to audition/interview.

The MANAA acronym stands for ‘mise a niveau aux arts appliqués’, French for ‘put at the level of applied arts’… a roundabout way of saying that, once you’ve completed your course, you will be at the right level to tackle any art school entrance interview or audition.

Even if you don’t take your art education any further, the advantage of MANAA training is that it gives legitimacy to your endeavour of giving drawing courses. Two things that you will certainly gain through the MANAA programme:

  • Having learned the techniques of drawing and painting, you can pass on tricks to your students.
  • And by having some knowledge of art history as well as the big artistic movements and artists’ big names such as Caravaggio and David LaChapelle, you can help young people to create their files for entrance to MANAA or prepare for their GCSE or A-Level ordeal.

If you love immersing yourself in an artistic environment, no matter what your medium – be it plastic arts or graphics creation; fashion design, or to move on to a school of fine art, a MANAA foundation course or preparatory class an excellent springboard that will boost your value as a teacher of art.

Where can you find these classes?

In fact, they are held all over France: in Lyon and Bordeaux, Nancy and Nice and, of course, in Paris.

You can take a look at Ecole de Condé, which has teaching facilities all over the country or, if the south of France appeals especially, you might prefer matriculating with Esma.

Both schools offer MANAA foundation courses as well as preparatory courses and, best of all, they welcome international students!

Have you pondered what guidelines to set your tutoring rates by?

Learn painting techniques in a private class What if you learn watercolour in a personalized painting workshop? Photo on Visual hunt

What Diplomas are Required to Become an Art Teacher in a School?

Are you currently studying art in school and planning to teach the preparatory course in art for students in their final year of high school?

Does your fascination of painting, sculpture, drawing and other techniques of the plastic arts compel you teach in a formal institution?

Your devotion to teaching art comes not a moment too soon! According to a recent report, two-thirds of all primary school art teachers attest to a sharp decline in provision for art education and half of them aver that the quality of the curriculum has gotten worse.

Add that to the fact that there is already a desperate teacher shortage across the UK in all subjects; the end result is a generation of students who have trouble conceptualising; students whose global perspective is unintentionally narrow… a situation that, in just a few years, will severely impact our economy.

Even more troubling: that report also divulges that nearly half the teachers employed as art instructors confess to lack the skills and experience to teach effectively!

Can you see from this why you are so desperately needed in the classroom, no matter where in the country you live?

More than a creator of insignificant projects room after classroom of kids, art teachers afford their students a cognitive bounty.

By exposing them to different cultures represented in art that expand students’ worldview, these learners can explore the basics of perspective, of drawing, and of the mechanics of drawing, including fine motor skills necessary for a multitude of professions.

In conjunction with these lofty yet ponderous facets, such teachers also have to integrate and master pragmatic educational concerns, such as:

  • Managing a class of young students
  • Creating and grading examinations, classwork and homework
  • Creating a syllabus; organize an art teaching programme to last an entire school year
    • This would entail merging original curriculum with the school provided (or mandated) teaching modules
  • Maintaining a lively, engaging, encouraging atmosphere for the duration of class and for every student group you teach
  • Manage your stock of art supplies (drawing paper and/or canvases, brushes, tubes of paint, glue, clay and other materials)

If, after all of this, you are more resolute than ever to lead a classroom and open young minds, you must need to know the steps to becoming a certified teacher!

To teach art in a public or independent school, obviously you must have an education in art yourself.

Private school teacher requirements are a bit different than public schools; some private schools are happy to engage a talented teacher who does not (yet) have a teaching certificate. 

For a teaching post at the primary level, a Bachelor degree would be sufficient. However, should you aspire to teach in a secondary school, most likely you would be required to hold a postgraduate certificate.

Logically, to teach art in a college or university, you would probably be called on to furnish a doctoral degree.

In addition to your personal development – your successful completion of one or more art degree programmes, you will be required to earn a teaching certificate – your PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education).

Along the way, you should gain some teaching experience – a facet of this endeavour that begs the question: how can you get experience if you are not yet certified to teach? Good question!

While still in school, you might ask your teachers or lecturers if you may lead a session or two. You may also consider tutoring as this is a valid example of teaching experience!

Please note that you must document your tutoring experience. In this case, the best proof of your ability as a tutor/teacher would be student testimonials… and Superprof’s tutoring platform provides a utility for students to legitimately and publicly praise their teachers!

If your ambitions are to teach in an art school, don’t despair!

Indeed, becoming a certified teacher of art is challenging. First you must ensure your own development as an artist – and that education doesn’t come cheap.

After finalising your education in Art, you have to undergo a completely different training programme, one that will license you to teach in any public or independent classroom in the UK.

And then, you have to promote yourself: highlight your creativity, cultivate an engaging your profile, show off your artistic accomplishments (projects, exhibitions, works, etc.) and demonstrate that you have experience teaching your subject matter.

You can increase your expertise as an art teacher giving drawing and painting courses Professional painter working on a XXL painting. Photo on Visualhunt

And then, it is simply a matter of finding the right teaching position.

You may already have a few schools in mind or your graduate teacher may have recommended one or two. Perhaps s/he may even give you a letter of recommendation!

Being uniquely qualified to pose such questions, you may challenge your students to discover why Manet’s Olympia caused such a furore or how Cubism got its start!

Of course, you know the answers to those artistic trivia questions.

Edouard Manet’s canvas caused a scandal; it’s nude model brashly looking out to her audience. The second question, the start of Cubism as an art movement came with the painting Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, rendered by Pablo Picasso in 1907.

Wouldn’t these topics make for interesting starts to your lessons – with appropriate audiences, of course! 

Are you relieved to know you can give private lessons in drawing and art without having any diplomas in decorative arts?

Hopefully, you now also realise that every step of artistic development you undergo, including MANAA if you so choose, adds values your professional artist profile!

Simply put, every art diploma will allow you to increase your rates as a drawing teacher and to gain more students in your courses.

Artistically yours.

Now discover everything you need to know to teach your students how to draw!

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