When a child first uses a writing tool and makes a mark, his journey to visual language development has begun. It should be fervently fostered and appreciated.
Many adults believe that to be able to draw you need to have a gift or natural talent. But children can learn to draw, and it should be part of every school curriculum. Drawing is as important as language and maths, and it is an essential part of a full education.
Once he starts to do representative drawing at about age 5, he can learn to analyse what he sees and draw it.
It isn’t a copy – it’s a representation. This important distinction highlights the fact that there are no mistakes with drawing.
Children’s hang-up that their drawing is not as good as it should be, often prevents them from exploring the subject in more depth. They don’t want to make mistakes.
Mona Brookes, author of Drawing With Children asks her pupils this set of questions –
- “If an artist does 5 drawings, how many do you think they will want to frame and show people?”
All groups consistently answer, “One or maybe two”.
- “Out of 5 drawings how many do you think they will dislike enough that they will not want others to see them, and will want to discard them or start over?”
The consistent answer again is, ”One or two”.
- “What do you think they do with the ones left over?”
Small children say, “ Give them to Grandma,” or “Save it in my draw”.
- You can let children know this fact:
When an artist draws, he doesn’t always like his attempts, and it will be the same with them. Children are very relieved to learn this. They have learned about mistakes by tolerating ticks and crosses in judgment of their attempts.
Once they know that it is okay to dislike something in their drawing, they accept that it is only – dare I say it – a “mistake”, and it isn’t a problem. It is very easy for them to realize they can make changes, or start again, without risking their self-esteem or feeling like a failure.
Let them be the judge of what changes to make, and if they are not happy with the result, don’t try to convince them otherwise.
Parents should be unconcerned about what the marks on the paper look like. The young child draws symbolically and talks about the picture he is making, using the drawing as a communication of his ideas.
The exciting thing about drawing is that it has so many possibilities. It can change at any moment and move into other dimensions. The lines can go anywhere, tones can change, and he can alter things that don’t seem right. The artist’s judgment becomes more educated as he gains more experience. He is then able to find answers and produce work that avoids the rules of right and wrong. It is a way of expressing a personal plan, and just as he makes towers with blocks, he can construct his drawing.
By encouraging drawing you give him a valuable tool to tap into his creative imagination. Regular attempts at drawing train his mind to view mistakes as an essential part of the process. This mindset is crucial for innovation to occur.
What a good lesson for life!