Art Teachers see a wide variety of artwork by students, but these are by far the ones no teacher ever wants to see.
Don’t Draw a Flag Just Because It’s Pretty
“When I was in first grade we were told to draw our favorite flag, so I drew a Nazi flag. I did really well. It took up the whole page, I used bright bold colors like I knew it had, and I even remembered how to do it by memory. Well the teacher came over with a bewildered/scared look on her face and asked me where I saw it. I answered, ‘I saw it on TV last night and I thought it looked pretty cool. I think they’re the bad guys though.’ Years later I realized that the look on her face afterwards was relief.” Source
“I worked as a therapist in an elementary school. In art class, one of my kids drew their dad beating them. Then on the next page, it was a stick figure self portrait with the whole page colored blue to represent tears. So, that was wonderful…” Source
What Are They Watching on TV?
“I teach English to Japanese kids. Text book had them draw their ideal pet. A 10 year old drew a human chained up in a cage, with an electric shock box attached to them with wires. Taught him for a few more years until he graduated from my class to junior high school, he had really matured into a sweet charming boy by then. Or he was a psychopath who had mastered the skill of manipulating those around him.” Source
The Eyes Have It
“My cousin loves to draw, when she was about 4 years old she showed me a paper full of eyes. I asked her what was she trying to convey, she said ‘Eyes, I see many many many eyes in my room at night’. GOOD F**KING BYE” Source
Don’t Feed the Artwork
“As a kid, when I really liked the way a drawing of a person (I always drew people) turned out, I would draw food near them so they wouldn’t get hungry and die. I would go back and check to make sure they were still on the page and feel glad i had the foresight to draw in a basket of oranges or whatever. If I didn’t especially like a drawing and didn’t give it food and saw later that the figure was still on the page, I knew that was just because i hadn’t drawn them well enough to make them ‘real’. I think this is the first time I have ever articulated this.” Source
Sometimes, Kids Are Just Weird
“When I was a kid (like 8 or 9) me and my siblings would draw bubble letters of our name (HUGE, on that old-timey connected printer paper) and inside the letters we would draw stick people being forced through torture chambers. Like, dying in acid pits, and acid rain, and dying on spikes, and eaten by ants, drowning, etc. At the time it seemed perfectly normal. I even hung these masterpieces up on my bedroom wall. My parents didn’t say anything about it. Looking back, I can see how that might come off as disturbing, but I actually had a great childhood with very loving parents. I just happened to enjoy killing stick people.
Long story short: Kids are just weird sometimes.” Source
Makes Sense to a Child
“Not disturbing, more confusing. 5 year old presented me with a photo of a full on naked, bald man. Only place of hair was his nipples. When I asked why, he responded ‘so he won’t be cold’. I couldn’t argue with him, but could only recommend that he give him clothes too just in case.” Source
Art as an Emotional Outlet
“Not a teacher but I am the legal guardian of my nephew now for reasons that will become obvious. I used to pick him up regularly from his infants school as his mother, my sister is a waste of space. One day his teacher pulled me to the side and pulled out a picture he had drawn, took me a moment to realize what I was seeing before it focused into a picture of a woman with blood around her and needles scattered around. Teacher was very concerned and I mean borderline calling police and social services and not letting him leave with me. I asked my nephew who is about 6 at the time what is this about, he explains this is what his mommy looks like most nights, I break down crying the teacher breaks down crying I call social services myself from the headmasters office they place him in my care as a temporary measure and investigate. Turns out my sister had started to take heroin via needles and accidentally broke a vein one night hence the blood. 6 years later and I don’t know if she is clean but my nephew lives with me and my family as if he is my own and he has never been happier. His now former teacher is a good family friend and regularly comes around and brings her kids.” Source
Being the Art Teacher Isn’t Easy
“One art class I took there was a student who didn’t get along with the teacher, whose last name happened to be a fruit. In this class sketchbooks were a requirement, so when it came time to hand them in he only drew one thing in his: the same fruit as the teacher’s last name hanging from a tree (by a noose). The kid was confronted but he claimed it was a coincidence.” Source
Art Is in the Eye of the Beholder
“I once painted a picture a a giant psychedelic squirrel holding a human head in its paws like an acorn. The superintendent of our school system bought it at my senior art show for $200 and it still hangs in his house today.” Source
Choosing the Correct Wording Matters
“My aunt is a primary school teacher. Many years ago, a girl in her class drew a picture depicting her on the floor on a rug, and her father standing over her, with the caption ‘we got a new rug, when we got home my daddy pulled it over me and raped me’.
She meant to write ‘wrapped’.” Source
Yikes! A Budding Stalker
“I had a 2nd grader come up to me while I was still a student teacher in the art room. He showed me a drawing that looked like a stick figure in a cave. I said ‘it’s great! Why don’t you tell me about it?’ (Kids react better to that than ‘what is it?’) His response? ‘It’s me watching you sleep!'” Source
“My class of kindergartners were drawing pictures to put in a care package for deployed troops. Well, one girl, yuno (yes, I know who yuno is. Yes, here parents do too. Yes, that was intentional), drew a picture of a family crying over a tombstone with a caption saying ‘don’t feel bad, it’s almost over’. Holy h*ll kid. I almost put it in for humor, but I decided to put it on ‘the wall of little horrors’.” Source
“Art teacher here. I had a Kindergartener draw a bunch of long triangles with handles and red spray coming off of them, looking like the way a 5 year old would draw a knife or a dagger. And lots of blood. I asked him to tell me about his drawing and he got all shy and wouldn’t say anything. I kept his drawing and showed it to his babysitter who picks him up from school and relayed my concern. She scoffed and said ‘Oh that’s just a rocketship. He draws them all the time’. Turns out the red was fire, not blood. What I saw as the handle of a knife was the booster engine of the rocket. I should have known, the kid is obsessed with rockets…” Source
“The actual finished product — an eight-foot wide knit octopus — wasn’t the scary part, it was freaking amazing. It was the manic look in her eye as she described the hours and hours of knitting — on the bus, at the coffee shop, anywhere — that were required to create it. Dat dedication tho.” Source