Happy Drawing for Children: how to notice and overcome creative crisis?



Have you ever thought why drawing is a kind of binary - you either draw a lot and deeply enjoy the process or you don't do it at all? We all dance a bit and sing sometimes, and do some other kind of artistic activities from time to time. Seems that explanation lays into very radical decision made at some point in our life - I can't draw. Period. In most cases we come to this decision around the primary school age or a bit later. And by the age of fully responsible adulthood there are just few of us left who still enjoy drawing. That's why the myth of super talent necessary for drawing and painting is so powerful. The truth is - drawing is a skill like any other creative activity. If we keep drawing we develop this skill. And here is the secret of talented artists - they just kept drawing for years while others didn't.. Good news is - it is possible to notice the moment when kid decides not to draw. And it is possible to change this decision even after longer time of not drawing. Most artists say that drawing skill can be developed at any age the same way we can learn to play piano. And not everyone should be professional painter or be a part of Opera orchestra. Drawing, playing piano or doing any other art activity can be beautiful lifestyle  component giving immersive experience and making our everyday life more colourful.


If your kid loves to draw then you can start to explain the phenomena of skill development to him or her at very early age. You have to calm down bursting emotions of little artist if something doesn't turn out as imagined. At first kid has to master fine motor skills - to hold a pencil or crayon., to get the line where desired, to change pressure, to get paint where desired. Since developing these skills requires long time kids learn to draw in symbols - so typical characteristic of children drawing. And then at some point we want to start to draw realistically. This requires patience, observation skills and noticing the cause and effect. This is a big transition step in drawing development and many of us have found it too difficult to master. If your kid stops drawing then most probably his or her expectations are higher than actual drawing skill level. Little artist is disappointed and seeing so many adults not drawing at all (remember binary character of drawing) he or she decides to join this majority! If nobody helps to overcome this crisis, the idea of not being talented appears and wins slowly. The other reason why we stop drawing is because of receiving negative critique by somebody who is an authority to us. Those can be teachers, parents, siblings, friends. These are situations when you have to talk to your kid (or yourself), if possible involve the person critiquing the artwork and try to solve the crisis situation step by step. The main argument - drawing is a skill and it takes time and effort to develop it.


Primary school age is when we learn to evaluate ourselves and our work. Self-criticism is also a skill that we have to master and quite often we are too harsh to ourselves. We learn to criticise other's work as well, but our social skills might not be developed to the level that we don't hurt each other. Therefore it is possible that kid develops belief of being not talented. And it is not just about kids. There are many adults who are conscious or unconscious masters of starting creative crisis for others.


Primary school is the moment when kid doesn't want to draw in symbols any more but there is nobody who teaches how to draw realistically. That' s why we have developed this drawing course. We want to inspire kids to observe the world around us and start drawing as we see it. Every video lesson encourages kid to look around and draw his or her world (not to copy the picture in video).


Your role is to be inspiring adult in this process - to observe and to help to overcome creative crisis. To encourage kid to keep trying, not to stop and not to give up. The main argument is already mentioned "drawing is a skill" approach and that all famous artists have spent many hours drawing and fine tuning their skill. Later we can develop our style and draw imagined worlds, but before that we have to learn to draw the world around us the way it is. This will build necessary experience and skill for further artistic development. Don't worry if there are no artists in your family. That serves just as a proof that so many adults have stopped in their drawing development, haven't spent enough time and effort to it. And little artist can be the first one in family to prove that it is possible to become a proficient artist just by keeping doing it.


One of your main tasks is to turn this learning process into happy experience. Then we will be willing to return. We have to create a happy place when we draw. Be happy yourself, treat yourself and little one with some snack. Draw when kid is in good mood and not tired. Talk to your family how important it is not to criticise little artist but help him or her to see drawing progress. If kid manages to understand, for example proportion measuring, enjoy the progress, remind it to kid during the next drawing session. Celebrate little successes and be honestly proud. You can set up a small gallery where you can change the artwork. The last one and most successful should be always "on the show". If the kid is willing to give his art as a present to grandparents or friends, do it and be publicly proud about it. You can scan the best work and turn them into greeting cards. But avoid "commissioning" artworks - drawing should not be an obligation.


Some kids are overly self-critical, they can become angry or unhappy if something goes wrong. In such case talk over, try to understand what exactly is the reason of disappointment. If possible, correct it. Or maybe you can offer to try one more time. In most cases kids are impatient and want to do everything quickly. Encourage kid to take time to observe carefully, not to rush and you will see immediate results! That's why it is important to provide a peaceful and slow environment. Ideally there should be nothing that is fighting for the little artist's attention. Make sure the little one is well fed and happy. And enjoy this time as something special yourself!

We have launched new online sketching course for children:

https://riga-sketching-school.thinkific.com/courses/minisketchers



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