Monday, November 17, 2008

Merit Badge of the Week: Art

Art merit badge has the distinction of being the shortest named merit badge.

Since I cannot draw a straight line, even with a ruler, let us say I never considered this one when I was a Scout.

Many Scouts can tell you that there are 8 basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and white . "Brown" is a fancy name for "dirt". Any 8 pack of Crayolas is more than sufficient.

Despite this limited selection, art surrounds us. From pictures posted to your refrigerator, to movies, to comic books, to photography, to music, to a limitless list of things crafted out of other things, art is everywhere.

Artists even help design products so we will want to buy them--think iPod.

Despite my efforts to personally avoid the Art merit badge, it remains wildly popular. It has a lifetime total of 1.1 million, and 27,112 new badges issued in 2007. (BSA Fact Sheet)

In the Art merit badge, you will tell a story with a picture; design a logo or something useful; create 4 different images of the same thing with different mediums; visit art; and learn about careers in art.

The latest Art merit badge requirements from the BSA:

1. Tell a story with a picture or pictures or using a 3-D rendering.

2. Do ONE of the following:
a. Design something useful. Make a sketch or model of your design and get your counselor's approval before you proceed. Then create a promotional piece for the item using a picture or pictures.
b. Design a logo. Share your design with your counselor and explain the significance of your logo. Then, with your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, put your logo on Scout equipment, furniture, ceramics, or fabric.

3. Render a subject of your choice in FOUR of these ways:
a. Pen and ink
b. Watercolors
c. Pencil
d. Pastels
e. Oil paints
f. Tempera
g. Acrylics
h. Charcoal
i. Computer drawing or painting

4. With your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, visit a museum, art exhibit, art gallery, artists' co-op, or artist's workshop. Find out about the art displayed or created there. Discuss what you learn with your counselor.

5. Find out about three career opportunities in art. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Resource List:

  1. Always start with Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet on Art from This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. How to write a comic strip.
  4. Google helps you with free 3-D software: SketchUp
  5. has good notes on storytelling.
  6. About painting with acrylics--lots of links.
  7. About painting with watercolors--tons of links.
  8. About painting with oils--scads of links.
  9. About painting with pastels--more links.
  10. Artist's magazine online.
  11. How to draw with charcoal and pencil. Um, the piece of paper is drawn, too...
  12. Details behind careers in art--U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related BSA merit badges: Architecture, Basketry, Cinematography, Photography, Pottery, Sculpture, Theatre, Wood Carving, and Woodwork.

Do you have a resource for the Art merit badge? Please let me know via email or the comments below.

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