What drives us to think so badly of our ability to draw? I am pretty sure that it starts at the beginning of our learning process. The way in which we were guided towards a “more beautiful and correct” way of representation, has led many of us thinking, too early, that we can´t draw.
Drawing is a communication tool, so it is time we start paying attention to this matter.
Parents, teachers and educators in general, face children´s drawings nearly each day. We tend to correct or to give advice to our children rather than to observe and recognize individual style. It is vital that we avoid judgment and negative evaluation, especially during the early years, and rather push our children to explore. Children should be encouraged to express whatever reality they see and understand, and to do that through whatever medium they can express themselves best.
As adults, we have a tendency to approach children´s drawings through established rules that we were taught as children. We tend to follow the traditional canons of beauty.
Picasso used to say that we are wrong in our understanding of beauty: “Academic training in beauty is a sham. We have been deceived, but so well deceived that we can scarcely get back even a shadow of the truth…Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon”
So, who is right, who is wrong? How can we understand the artistic side of a child when we analyze with such predispositions?
Often we unconsciously make suggestions about the drawings that our children produce; the colors, the lack of proportions; the unrealistic details. Further to this, our commentaries can relate directly to the subjective beauty of the thing; “this drawing is ugly” or “this drawing is not so beautiful as yesterday´s one”. Such sentences are enormously dangerous for the creative development of a child.
Where we see ourselves improving our students and children skills, we are actually generating the harmful idea of failure.
As Sir Peter Cook says “I´m more interested in ideas and originality than I´m interested in something that is beautiful”.
Let´s allow children to freely explore and enjoy while drawing!
1 Christian Zervos. “Picasso Speaks: A Statement by the artist” 1935, p 273.
2 Architecture and Beauty. Yael Reisner, p72