A generation ago – with just a few TV channels, no computers, > and primitive video games > – children grew up in a play economy,
O-k-a-y . … . now I’m really feeling my age.
When I was a little kid I used to watch Romper Room (circa 1955 +/-). The show offered a “play along” kit that included a vinyl sheet (I recall it was tinted a slight green (for some reason)) that was placed on the television screen (held there by static electricity) and some colored grease pencils. The idea was that the show’s host would create a drawing, step-by-step at the easel. The cameras POV allowed the child to follow along by tracing over the lines on the screen. At the end of the lesson you peeled the vinyl sheet off of the television, and there was “your” drawing to show dad when he got home. The first “video game”?
And since all of us here are, by profession “drawers”, maybe you can remember the television show titled, Jon Gnagy’s (pronounced nay-gee) [u]Learn to Draw Show[/u]. It was one of the earliest “how-to” shows for kids. Each week he would create a “picture”, step-by-step to show you how it was done; they were usually about ten minute long segments. And of course, you just had to have his Learn to Draw Set; four “art” pencils (charcoal), 3 sketching chalks, sketch paper, lap top drawing board, kneaded eraser, shading stump, sand pad sharpener. The book, and oddly enough, the shading stomp, I still have.
Toys now are pass fail with 99.99% passing, hence good for ego and egos must at all costs be protected and nurtured.
“Why can’t I get it right” was a common emotion attached to this “toy”, but we all know that repetition, combined with observation, is how we learn to draw. Failure is an excellent teacher, in my view, it teaches perseverance.
I remember this episode, with a timely comment at the end.
And while surfing around looking for Jon Gnagy information I discovered that all of his stuff is still available, so I guess it doesn’t really quality as a R.I.P. product after all. Maybe there’s still hope for kids …