Drawing with your children, continued

Published by Lori Pickert on March 17, 2008 at 06:17 PM

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The best reason for drawing with your children occurred to me only after I wrote the last post. (Of course!)

If you don't draw with your children, then you are getting out the materials, sitting down with them, talking about the goals of the drawing exercise, and then .. what? If I was drawing — and trying something new — it would make me nervous to have you sit and watch me! I would wonder how you thought I was doing, if you thought I was doing a good job, if I was doing it right or wrong. I would know you were watching me, and I would realize you were judging my work.

When I bake with my children, we put on our aprons, get out the bowl and measuring cups and ingredients, divvy up the tasks, and we get to measuring, mixing, stirring, spooning, etc.

I don't step back and have them do everything because I'm worried about intimidating them with my awesome baking skills. We work together, side by side, cheerfully, as a team.

This is the same kind of cooperative environment that I am suggesting for making art.

I'm not sitting and watching you draw (with an implied judgment). I'm just sitting here drawing, too, concentrating on my own work. We may show each other what we did, and we may talk about what we like and don't like and how successful we thought we were (talking about our own work), but I'm not here to critique a child's work.

Draw with them, but don't draw for them. We'll talk about that next.

So, again — draw with your children! Show them that's it about the fun of acquiring a new skill, not about you judging their efforts. Get on their level and draw alongside them. It's fun!

6 comments

Comment by michelle gragg on March 17, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Hmmm...I like this looking at it through their eyes. I was also really liked the idea that was shared in comments about pulling out art books and talking about style. I never thought about that! Your baking analogy reminds me of when we did observational drawing and Lacy asked why our pictures looked different. And we talked about perspective. For my four year old it was enough of an answer. Keep it coming lots of processing going on here!

Comment by MamaBird on March 18, 2008 at 01:27 AM

like the parallels you drew to cooking, and the language of drawing with not for. looking fwd to your next musings...

Comment by Jill on March 18, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Thanks, Lori. I like this--it makes a lot of sense. I had never done this with the kids until we did your observational drawing lesson. I'm sure that it took off some of the pressure, but there was more. I think that by doing it, I was communicating that it was important and not just a kid activity. If they see me stop my stuff and sit down with them, then I'm sure it says to them that there is something good, that it's not just kid-stuff, or a "babysitter". This sounds weak (I don't have my wits about me this morning), but maybe you can weed through it to see what I'm trying to say.

Have a GREAT day!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 18, 2008 at 02:49 PM

thank you, michelle .. more to come! ;^)

thank you, mamabird :^)

jill - i agree completely that when we sit down and do something with them, we are sending a message that it's something *we* find worth doing - not just a task we're setting out for them to do. and, frankly, i think if we work beside them we can more fully respect how much effort they put into their own work. - you have a great day, too! :^)

Comment by molly on March 19, 2008 at 03:02 PM

very good, once again. I think i'll go tape a big piece of paper to the kitchen table and get out the markers. just a 'chill out' drawing session. i need that right now because i'm having a home schooling (personal) breakdown. ugh.

now, those nice drawing boards in the picture???where do I find THOSE??? love them!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 19, 2008 at 06:02 PM

thank you, molly. :^) i e-mailed you about your breakdown - lol.

aren't those nice drawing boards? ;^) they are just pieces of fiberboard cut into generous squares at the hardware store. (cheap!) we use them for drawing (you ca use binder clips to hold paper if you need to) and also watercoloring - you can prewet your watercolor paper and let it dry (taped down so it doesn't curl - i'll blog about this at some point) and then take it out in the garden on one of these boards for some en plein air art making. :^)

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