Trivium Pursuit

Teaching Art

Do you have any suggestions on how to go about teaching children to draw? I have three young children — my oldest is 6. Whenever we sit down to draw together, my oldest daughter (whom I would say is a perfectionist) wants her picture to look just like mine. Then, of course, she gets frustrated, so I don’t draw my own picture with her. Does a child’s drawing abilities just develop on their own, or should I be using aids to teach her to draw, paint with watercolours, etc.? Our library does not seem to have much in the way of books for her age to teach drawing, etc. My oldest daughter mainly draws people and animals. She just always seems to be drawing the same things in her pictures and cards. I’d like to help her expand what she can draw. Am I just trying to start my daughter too young? If so, what is a good age to begin teaching drawing, etc? Blessings, Kathryn in Ontario, Canada

No, you’re not starting too early. Perhaps I can share with you some of the things we did in the way of art in our home when the children were small.

1. I always had prints of great pieces of art plastered all over the walls (I still do). I wish I could have more but am limited by wall space. I’ve obtained these prints from a number of sources: garage sales, library book sales, art museum gift shops, post cards, prints from the internet. Periodically I’ll move the picture around, adding new ones and taking down those that have been displayed awhile.

2. I tried to give the children the time, the space, and the materials to work on their art. They need plenty of uninterrupted time to develop their creativity with art, with plenty of uninterrupted space to spread out their projects for lengthy periods of time, and plenty of good quality art and craft supplies. Art supplies need to be readily accessible, not put up on a shelf so that only Mom can get them down.

3. Many of the great artists learned to paint and draw by copying the masters, and that’s exactly how our children learned. On my walls I have numerous copies of paintings by Renoir and Monet that were done by the children over the years.

4. In their early years the children did much of their art work with colored pencils, graduating to paints later on. Buy good quality colored pencils.

5. Wallpaper sample books are very useful, as are matting board scraps. These can be used to make greeting cards which are a great way to practice new art techniques.

Laurie

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