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Drawing With Children
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - June 26th, 2019
Maren Schmidt shares her practical, put-it-into-action advice and insight about children and drawing with them.
Training the Eye to See
Betty Edwards in her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, explains that around age ten our logical “left-brain” style of thinking begins to dominate and overrides our creative “right-brain” type of thinking.
Drawing with Children
Our left-brain thinking criticizes our work, and out of our mouth comes words like: That doesn’t look like a bird. You can’t draw birds. You draw like a baby. How embarrassing.
The bossy left brain thoughts keep picking at our efforts until we lose heart and stop trying, our artistic skills languishing at a ten-year-old level.
We can rescue our artist by shifting to right-brained thinking.
As visual artists admit, training the eye to see is more important in artistic expression than training the hand to perform.
To prepare to work, creative types consciously shift their thinking to the right brain. This switch is aided by using right brain functions, such as movement by going for a walk, dancing, swimming, etc.; using music by listening to instrumental music, singing or humming; changing the lighting to be darker or softer; doodling or resting the eyes for five to ten minutes.
My Favorite Lessons
My favorite art lessons begin as I meet my students at the door fresh from outdoor activity. Soft classical music plays in a darkened classroom. I whisper to my students that it’s art time, and they should take care of getting a drink and going to the bathroom before sitting down with a piece of paper and an art box. I also ask my students to rest their eyes after they sit down.
A few side notes: As part of our artwork, we talked in the classroom about right- and left-brain functions and how the artist inside you should ignore left-brain criticisms.
Also I brought to my students’ attention that everyone’s work is individualistic. ”Does Jimmy look like Bradley?” I’d ask. ”No, so we can’t expect anybody’s work to look like anyone else’s, because it is an individual expression.” Any comments about a drawing could only be about what you liked about the work.
An art box consists of eight wide-tipped colored markers, eight fine-tipped markers and twelve colored pencils with a hand-held sharpener.
Individual Nature of Art
We’d begin with a doodling exercise, adapted from Mona Brookes’ book, Drawing with Children. This exercise reinforces the individual nature of art since every doodle is different with the same instructions.