“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” - Pablo Picasso
Drawing plays a wonderful role in the development of a child. I feel giving children blank paper and drawing material daily is very essential to their growth. It allows them to articulate emotions, express themselves without the help of a parent, and learn confidence. In college I learned about children going through different art stages of development. Unfortunately my college books have been lost in the many moves throughout my marriage. I desperately wanted to look up the information I learned. This chart on came close to summarizing some of the information I remember.
Every person goes through different stages of developement while they learn to draw. Each stage is important. Although a scribbling may not be impressive to an adult, a child is doing a lot of learning in that scribble art piece. Also something that I have noted with my children is they jump forwards and backwards at time with the stages. And that the ages are a guideline and going faster does not necessarily mean your child is more artistic. James is probably my most artistic child. Ally went forward fast through the stages while James tended to stay behind longer. This is one area in life, as are probably all, NOT to compare your child to another's and wish they were doing more. It is more important that they do it all on their own and go at their own pace. I know this through watching James and how beautiful even his scribbles are to me.
I simplified the stages into four parts:
Stage two = The scribble stage. This is starts at about two or three. During this stage a child will still scribble, but soon these lines will cross or form together. Primitive circles will soon become people in a sense. Generally a circle with lines coming out for bodies.
|James age 3|
|James age 4|
"The Piano Player"
|James age 4|
|James age 4|
"All of Us on an Adventure"
|James age 4.5|
|James age 5|
"Upside-down and Upside-Up"
"Gum Ball Machine"
What not to do:
- Don't tell them to draw something in particular. (I am guilty of this!) This is hard especially for adults who think of a purpose to everything. Sometimes we are making cards for someone and I want the kids to draw a picture for that person so I will say draw a picture of grandma and you instead of draw something for grandma.
- Don't ask them if they are finished yet
- Don't ask "What is this?" or "What are you drawing?" -- it may not even be a thing!
- Don't tell them what their drawing was (example telling a child you really liked her drawing of a person, when in fact it may not have been a person at all)
- Don't draw, paint or write on your child's artwork.
- Don't show a child how to draw.
- Don't praise, judge, or place a value on the work.
- Don't use words like pretty, beautiful, wonderful, perfect, etc.
- I even read in several places not to give them coloring books! They should be doing their own artwork!
What to do:
- Have an area for them to draw with lots of art material available, keep it out so they can explore often and not just when a parent wants them to.
- While they are drawing be silent, watch, observe, say nothing.
- Call your child an artist.
- Wait to respond. Sometimes just the silence will cue your child to tell you everything that was on their mind.
- Do ask them if they want to tell you about their artwork. Be ok if the answer is no.
- Do ask them how they felt while they were working
- Talk about the elements of art you see in their work -- the elements of art are color, line, form, shape, space, design, and materials. An example of this is "I see you used a lot of black in this drawing" or "I see you used a lot of circles." or "Wow, you made both dark green and light green horizontal lines!"
- Do relate their art back to the world. If they used a lot of blue in their art work say something like "Wow, you used a lot of blue in your art work. Do you see any green in this room?"
- Do ask which art piece from today they like most and why
- Do write on the back which child did the art, the date, and have them make a title to their drawing (trying not to judge or to place a value on it through the title.)
- Do display your children's artwork in the house --particularly have them chose the piece they want to show so as not to place value of one piece of work over another.