10 ideas to get your child drawing.
'All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.'
I love drawing, always have. As a child, my eccentric grandmother encouraged me. She always had a drawing space in her house, paper and a large selection of bright felt tip pens. I would draw for hours; it was as if I daydreamed through my drawing.
Years later, I assumed my son would love drawing as much as I did. Didn’t all children enjoy drawing? It came as a shock when I realised he didn’t like it. He is very creative, has an amazing imagination but when it came to drawing he disliked what he produced. He thought that all his drawings were "rubbish" to use his own words. He was frustrated with his efforts, thinking they did not look real. I felt really sad that he had this self-awareness about his ability and he was only 4 years old at the time.
I started teaching art at secondary school and realised that this was a common problem amongst many children. So many of them judged their work harshly, often feeling they had failed. How can you possibly fail at drawing?
I wanted the children I taught as well as my son to enjoy drawing without having any expectations of the final result. To just enjoy the process of mark making. Through research, trial and error and talking with experienced art teachers I tried and tested many different methods.
These are my top 10 ideas:
1: Create a space in your home that encourages drawing.
It does not have to take much space; just a little area where you can keep art & craft supplies and your child can easily access them on their own if they wish.
2: Make drawing or creating a regular event: provide materials and opportunity.
I like to get my children drawing while I get supper ready.
3: Experiment with different materials; this can include different textures and types of drawing tools.
Try drawing on differently textured paper like cardboard, tracing paper, tissue paper, blackboard, leaves, rocks, or on the pavement outside.
Use chalks, coloured pencils, wax crayons, pastels, charcoal, felt tip pens or ink pens. Draw with twigs or feathers dipped in paint. Create drawings using flowers/leaves/spices and glue. The possibilities are endless.
4: Draw outside.
Children love the adventure of going into the woods with their art materials to get creative.
5: Create a still life.
Ask the children to touch the objects, suggest they feel with their eyes closed then talk about their experience. Get them to describe the shapes, colours, textures, then draw.
6: Experiment with different techniques of drawing.
Try continuous line drawings; look at an object and draw it as slow as a snail without taking your pencil off the paper. Try drawing with pencils in both hands at the same time. Or draw a portrait without ever looking down at your drawing.
7: Draw to music or sounds.
Play different types of music (classical, folk, rock, pop) or sounds (rain, water, winds, drums) and discuss the marks being produced. How do they differ?
8: Encourage and appreciate without defining or influencing the artwork. Most children’s drawings are emotional rather than logical.
Take a moment to really appreciate your child’s drawing, discuss the content, ask questions, get them to talk about the work they have produced.
9: Introduce/show different types of drawings by artists and different cultures.
I had so much fun showing my son all the different outcomes that drawings can produce. We looked at Aboriginal art, Native American art, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso etc. It is interesting to listen to your child’s opinions and thoughts.
10: Display your child’s artwork.
Appreciate the amazing artwork your child makes, it shows you value what they create.
Not only is drawing a fun activity for all ages but it teaches you so many things. It helps you think outside the box and solve problems. It inspires and challenges the imagination to create unique outcomes. It encourages self-expression, concentration and cognitive processes. Once you enjoy drawing it’s a pleasurable activity you can do anywhere.