Term Three Drawing with Children
Term Three at The Art Train 2019
Drawing for Kids
Term Three started yesterday with my afterschool class. Tomorrow I will welcome back my Friday morning class and this Saturday the Saturday morning class resumes, which runs every two weeks.
I run an afterschool class on Wednesday afternoons. Each term has a theme. I run through the 6 elements of art, one per term, then I teach drawing for the final two terms to make up 8 terms of classes. This term the After-School class will be working on drawing and I have been busy putting together some great lesson plans for the girls. I will also be running a drawing class at Samford Sate School as part of the SEEP programme.
My first question to the class yesterday was “how do you feel about drawing” and the expected answer was “I’m rubbish”. Drawing is perceived as a you can, or you can’t skill and even young children will say I can’t. Drawing is an essential skill for making visual art, there are also many documented educational benefits. There are many articles online and I have listed a few at the end of the blog. It is a relief that finally educators and scientists are recognising just how important visual art and drawing are to a child’s development. However, the schools do woefully lag behind, let’s hope that changes soon as the role of creativity comes to the fore in education.
All children draw love to make marks on paper as young kids. Scribbling with crayons is recognised by parents as part of a child’s essential development. Then kids start to draw symbolically by using shapes. A head is a circle, a body and limbs lines. A house is a triangle and a square. The windows and doors are rectangles. As parents’ we encourage this, and the drawings go on the fridge. Then somewhere around 7 or 8 a child will realise that the world isn’t quite that simple, and they simply stop drawing. They become aware and therefore self-conscious. Some children will continue but the majority stop and any talk of drawing will elicit negative remarks. As parents, perhaps due to our own negative experiences with visual art education or insecurity regarding our abilities, we cease to encourage drawing and it just stops. Kids are missing out on something that is truly amazing. The benefits of drawing are many from self-esteem, imagination, creativity, fine motor skills, perception, analysis, concentration, cognitive skills, creative problem solving, hand eye coordination. Drawing needs to be taught and taught well. Drawing is a complex task and can be incredibly overwhelming. it needs to be taught in manageable stages. There are many creative and exciting ways to draw it isn’t just a 2B pencil on paper.
I talk to the kids about learning to read and write. Most primary school kids will remember those first days of endless rows of CCCC and then how they added lines to make new letters, then formed words, then sentences. Even Tolstoy couldn’t have written War and Peace if he hadn’t learned to write first. Then we talk about whether they have joined a music programme and how learning an instrument is going. I point out that no one can play an instrument straight away unless you are Mozart. Kids get it. Drawing is the same, you need to learn how to make the first rudimentary marks before you can draw a good representational image. It takes time. The world is a complex place and making drawings takes skill and a good few tricks.
Images from After School Class drawing unit in 2017