2 Eggs and a Box

When I was in high school, our art teacher, Dick, announced that we were going to have a final exam.  This was a bit of a surprise because we hadn't had any tests or quizzes at all that year and it left us wondering what unforgivable artistic offense we had committed to have one thrown upon us when report cards were looming.   

When we arrived in class for our exam, Dick didn't say anything, but had the exam requirements on the board:

Draw two eggs and a box.

We all dutifully found rulers and mapped out our boxes in proper two point perspective, and drew the most carefully ovoid forms that we could.  We made sure that the light source was obvious and consistent throughout the drawing for which we had no model.    Meanwhile, Dick was busy working at his desk, not paying us any particular attention.  That was unusual for him, and cemented more in our minds that we had failed him somehow.  

As the hour ended, and we all dropped off our painstakingly rendered eggs and boxes, and Dick sat back and regarded us all quietly.  He then held up the drawing that he'd been working on at the same time.  It was a picture of a mailbox with two eggs- sunny side up- one on the floor, and one dripping down the side.   In crayon.

He never used the words "think outside the box", and if he did, I don't remember it at all... and that's the point.  Telling kids to "think outside the box" is meaningless - helping them do just that is what we should be trying to do everyday.  

I wonder how that would work as a first day exercise.  


  1. Aaron Smith said...
    Yesterday at our faculty meeting our VP asked us to each draw a pig. It was for a warm-up style activity that supposedly said something about our personalities, but that's besides the point.

    A friend of mine drew a cow instead. I'm still jealous I hadn't thought of that first.
    dsgran said...
    What did the pig say about your personality?

    That sounds like a joke in need of a punchline. :)
    Aaron Smith said...
    The whole test was most likely a "feel-good" sham, as one of the criteria was "If you gave the pig 4 legs, you're artistic."

    I'd like to think that the 2-legged pig drawers had creative sides, as well...
    dsgran said...
    Of course, especially if they drew them somewhere around besides where you'd normally see them- like coming out of their ears.
    Kelsi said...
    I found this blog post very interesting. I am going to school to be an art teacher and I think that helping, not telling, students to think outside the box is just what we need to do as educators. Thank you for sharing.
    dsgran said...
    One of my professers in grad school said that "telling kids to be creative" is like telling them "be smart". Nice sentiment, but meaningless in any practical way.

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