Sep 01 2011
A girlfriend popped by last week while Layla was doodling. After Layla was done, my friend looked at the drawing and said, “Shouldn’t the grass be green?”
This is why I haven’t sent Layla to art classes despite hearing rave reviews for schools like Wow Art. I just didn’t want someone insisting she draw or colour in a certain way.
Myth #5: Structured drawing lessons are inappropriate for children. They should develop their ability through free expression and exploration only.
We don’t expect children to play the piano, study dance, or learn a sport without showing them the basic components of these subjects. Why do we expect them to understand the complexities of drawing on their own? Imagine expecting children to write creative stories without teaching them the alphabet and the structure of language. Learning the language of drawing and painting is likewise essential for anyone wanting to pursue those arts creatively.
After reading the intro I thought the author made sense, and yesterday I decided to try one of her drawing exercises on Layla. It involved a simple drawing of a lion, and encouraging a child to reproduce the drawing by breaking down the picture into a collection of shapes.
I asked Layla to start by drawing the eyes. But first she had to pick a starting point on her paper that would leave her with enough space for the entire lion. After that, I pointed out the different shapes to her, but I didn’t correct her shapes and proportions. (The book’s instructions are more detailed, e.g. to place dotted lines or mark a point to help guide your kid.)
I fell asleep after she got the lion outline done, and she spent the next hour or so drawing more lions and filling up her paper.
Later in the night, after Layla was in bed, I tried out one of the exercises in the book and drew a horse!
It’s made me rethink my original stand on art instruction. But for now, we’ll make do with the book.