Saskatchewan

Whiteboard wonder: Regina teacher's art project a pandemic present for his class

You could say that Andres Araneda "draws" inspiration from his students. The Grade 5 and 6 French immersion teacher at Regina's Ecole Wascana Plains School marked the end of a unique school year by drawing himself and his students together on his classroom whiteboard.

Andres Araneda used one marker to draw himself and his 22 students on whiteboard

In this screengrab from a time-lapse video, Wascana Plains School Grade 5/6 teacher Andres Araneda draws each of his students on a whiteboard in his classroom. He completed the project with one marker. (Submitted by Andres Araneda)

You could say that Andres Araneda "draws" inspiration from his students.

The Grade 5 and 6 French immersion teacher at Regina's Wascana Plains School marked the end of a unique school year by drawing himself and his students together on his classroom whiteboard.

The detailed caricature-style drawings were completed with the use of only one whiteboard marker, Araneda told Saskatchewan Morning host Heather Morrison.

Because of pandemic restrictions, his class was unable to get photos done at the beginning of the year. This project was a replacement for that.

The finished product. Araneda's students followed along with their own drawings as they watched him draw on the whiteboard. (Submitted by Andres Araneda)

"I usually draw whiteboard drawings for my class all the time, and this year I thought, 'Why not finish the year with a nice portrait of everyone together?'" he said.

Students in Araneda's class also followed along with their own drawings as he drew the portraits on the whiteboard. 

"They were just so curious to see the process and how I usually shade and stuff like that," he said. "They had a lot of fun with it."

Araneda said it took a whole year getting to know the students in his class in order to bring out their personalities with ink. 

"I was actually talking to them before school and I said, 'I'd love to do something like this when you start school, but I don't know you guys yet,'" he said.

"Having the whole year with them ... it just helps me capture their spirit."

Araneda has many artistic talents, including spray painting and sketching, and is also passionate about cooking. (Zoom)

Araneda says especially this year, it's important for him and his students to have a memento to remember the school year by.

"Sometimes that's the only thing that we really have to really look back on when we grow up."

Araneda's art goes beyond the whiteboard. He's spray painted murals, made designs on shoes and has sketched cartoon characters and animals. 

"I've been drawing since I was walking, I think," he said. "I like to get creative."

A portrait of a dog named Rico that Araneda created with watercolour paint. (Submitted by Andres Araneda)
Araneda also sketches characters from popular movies and cartoons, including the characters from Shrek. (Submitted by Andres Araneda)

Aside from art, Araneda also has a passion for cooking and even appeared on the Food Network series Wall of Chefs as a competitor last year.

He says this whiteboard art project is a culmination of lessons he's given his students all year — encouraging them to believe in themselves and try new things.

"Always allow yourself to explore your own creativity because that's when you grow the most and learn the most," he said.

Andres Araneda is now heading into his summer holidays. But before the school year wrapped up, the teacher at Regina’s Ecole Wascana Plains gave his students a special goodbye gift: a drawing to take the place of the class portrait they never took this year. Andres joined Heather Morrison to explain. 6:03

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Morning

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