Art is subjective, but art is art. Even in the early stages you never know when you'll stumble across the next Picasso... or a serial killer. Art teachers really do have an interesting job when it comes to determining which child has a gift for the Louvre or for Dateline NBC.

Redditor u/redmambo_no6 wanted to hear from the artistic group out there about the things they can't unsee by asking.... Art teachers of Reddit, what's you "Draw anything you want" story?

The Craft....

the craft GIF Giphy

Not my story, but seems to fit here.

When I was in school to certify to become a teacher, we had a former principal as a professor for one of our courses who was trying to illustrate how difficult it can be to manage parent complaints and how to approach those situations with administration.

His example was how he had been called into a conference once with an angry mom and the elementary school art teacher. The mom was furious because the teacher had asked the children to close their eyes and draw whatever came into their imagination. His assumption was that a student had drawn something inappropriate. Nope.

The mom was mad because summoning an image in one's mind was "witchcraft."


After the banal....

I've had some really funny ones but this one is not and reminds me whenever I think of it to consider kids circumstances. I worked in a low income high immigrant population school. This girl was amazing; outspoken, kind, great grasp of English. She drew a picture of her brother and her. I asked her who else was in the picture since there appeared to be part of a 3rd person. She calmly replied "That's my brothers head; he was killed in our village right before we went to the refugee camp." I look her up and down and say something sympathetic (masking my horror).

"Yeah they came into my village grabbed all the boys and were going to take them away. My brother and his friend tried to run so they cut off his head. I was standing right there. Would you like me to draw you a picture?" I said no thank you. I asked where her little brother, also in art class was, when this happened. "Oh we dressed him up like a girl. He makes a cute girl!" I should mention before the above exchange we were talking about One Direction or something totally banal.


Let's Redraw....

Ummm GIF by memecandy Giphy

I just remembered - a poor little guy who drew a self portrait. He drew with meticulous detail and when it came down to drawing his pants he drew the zipper so carefully but it looked like a penis. I was flummoxed about how to tell him that people might see something there that he didn't intend.


The Butterfly....

I got in trouble once for drawing a pooping butt. Little did my teacher know, but the drawing was actually a poorly drawn butterfly that ended up looking like a hairy pooping butt and when asked why I put the details I did like the legs and antenna and Proboscidea coming off the segmented body, I said "I dunno, don't they all look like that? I saw one a recess and thought it was pretty and wanted to draw it." Thinking of the butterfly of course. Nope, I ended up having to see the school counselor.


wham' or 'crinkle.'

In early middle school, we did a project where we used cardboard draped in colorful paper mache to make a sound-word, like 'wham' or 'crinkle.' I was really into knights at the time, so I made the word that was the sound of someone unsheathing a sword.

That word was 'schlong.'


Be Cool.....

gave my high school kids a poetry assignment. They could write about anything that was school appropriate and have one curse word that wasn't a slur or the f bomb. It had to include so much figurative language, etc.

Girl turns in "ms. [My name] is a b***h", a poem about how she's tired of writing poems and that she's annoyed with me for assigning so many

Includes all requirements. I gave her a 96 (a few errors) and the next poem she writes is "ms. [My name] is a cool b***h" about how she was sorry she was mean.



john ritter horror GIF Giphy

I have a "design your own monster" Halloween lesson. Most kids draw cute ghosts or cool vampires. One 7th grader drew a sad clown hanging by a belt from a ceiling fan. He had issues.



High School 1977. Not a teacher. While everyone else was drawing Pink Floyd rainbows and peace signs all over everything the biggest burnout in the class made a wide metal bracelet with intricate triangular designs cut out of it. He turned it in and got a great grade for the first project he ever bothered finishing and some well-deserved praise for his effort.

Teacher handed our work back and first thing he did was grab a pair of pliers and bent all the triangles outward making it a thick metal spiked bracelet. I found that devilishly, disturbingly clever.


on the plate....

cat falls GIF Giphy

As a kid was told to do a drawing that was gonna be put on a plate, drew my cat doing a poo. I was asked multiple times if I wanted to redo it, I declined the offer. So most of my life I ate off a plate with my cat on it doing a poo as it was my plate, and still do.

My siblings had similar plate with a car and a rocket ship, mine is clearly much better.

Was around 5 or 6 at the time and totally worth it, still have the plate.

Edit picture


To the Earth....

Student here. My art teacher was somewhat crazy. She let us draw anything we want and to get 100% all you had to do was tell her it "had a deep connection to the earth" or some other nonsense. I drew a jellyfish and told her it represented wisdom because it was immortal.


The Hands....

One kid had to have a meeting with the principal, her parents and the art teacher because the art teacher decided that because this second grade girl only drew people without hands, the little girl felt powerless.

All these adults question this child about the meaning of her drawings. She tells them, "Hands are too hard to draw."



canadian what GIF by CBC Giphy

Parent here, not an art teacher. In Kindergarten, my son came home with a packet of finished assignments he got back from the teacher. One was a paper having them draw a body part with the prompt "Here are my...". Example given was "feet". What did my kid draw? Butt cheeks. Drawing of the back of a person with two giant (well-drawn, I might add) cheeks.

My husband and I laughed our own butt cheeks off when we saw it. We kept the paper. For Posteriority.


That Day...

When I was in 2nd grade our teacher told us to doodle on the back of a quiz if we finished early. I decided to draw a house high in the sky with a long staircase leading to it. To emphasize its height I drew clouds but it needed more... I decided to add in an airplane. Later my teacher called me to her desk and I got in trouble because the plane looked like it was heading towards the house and this was right after 9/11 happened.

Still have no idea what I was thinking.


'class police'

I'm a teacher but I don't teach art. I was teaching a class of 7 year-olds who are usually a blessing, but there's just one kid who has some real problems. He can't speak English at all. Even after me spending a year trying to teach him and all his classmates progressing well, he just refuses to engage with any teacher and is extremely distruptive, often crying and screaming. I think he has special needs, but that's not handled well in China.

Anyway. After battling and battling with him to no avail, assigning him 'class police' roles, everything I just gave up this one day and gave him some paper to draw on whilst the rest of the kids learn without him distracting them.

He drew a picture of me with a large PP and lots of knives in me with blood and wrote my name in perfect English. It was eerie but I just felt sad and concerned what had happened to this boy The school gave him no support and I only saw him for about an hour a week. I left the school shortly after (unrelated) and wonder how he is now.



art GIF by iamnaomidesign Giphy

Former student here. We were supposed to do a bit of abstract artwork for a course assignment. My work was a framed square cutout from an old T-shirt I had previously used to help re stain an old table. Not only did I get an A on the assignment, but I entered it into a silent auction later that semester and someone bought it.


"I will be back" 

When I was in the first grade they had everyone in every grade draw something. It could be anything. I drew an evil snail that had gotten snatched up by a bird. And I had a voice bubble that said "I will be back" or something like that, coming from this evil snail. In the foreground I drew my family. That was it. That was the whole picture. Flash forward to like 6 months and my really bad drawing was chosen as #1 in the first grade. Then the school had an assembly where they showed the top drawings from each grade. So I go up to the front with the other "winners" and the principle goes through each one and says a little something about it.

Eventually they get to my drawing and I quickly realized why I was chosen. They thought the bird was a plane and the evil snail was my dad leaving to deploy. Important note is that this school was on a military base. My dad had never been deployed and was in fact depicted on the ground with the rest of my family. But I just stood there and accepted the award. And I never told another living soul because I was so embarrassed/guilty.


"The Hooker"

When I was around 8 or 9, I got into drawing cars, and simultaneously into drawing tribal decorations (probably not PC, but you know, the type a lot of people get as a tattoo), so I drew a car with tribal decal and because of the hook-like shapes in the tribal decal, I (in)appropriately named the car "The Hooker". When she was done laughing, my mom took the time to explain the world's oldest profession.


Homeward Bound

Reminds me of that time I got suspended in kindergarten for drawing a crappy stick figure gun. I tried to save myself that day by saying it was a water gun since it was so crappy you couldn't tell the difference but they weren't having it and little plava27 went home that day.


The Center Ring....

Not a teacher but in middle school we got an assignment in art class to draw a still life of fruit. I thought the idea was totally boring and decided to put a creative spin on it. I drew a bunch of different fruits all sitting in the seats of a colosseum watching an apple kill an orange in the center ring. I failed the assignment, and my teacher even pulled me out in to the hallway to tell me directly that she didn't like me or the work that I produced. Didn't let that crush my dream though, and I kept making my assignments weirder and weirder to piss her off.


The 9th....

studying hand-made GIF by Philippa Rice Giphy

In 9th grade as an end of the year project we could basically draw whatever we wanted and we had a week to do it. Me being the little car nerd I am drew the entire drivetrain and suspension of a chevy K5 blazer.


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