Approaches to drawing


Children will often experiment with the concept of space on paper: things becoming hidden, going up or down, in front or behind, sometimes using the front and back of the page in a vivid play activity. When discussing their work with them it is important to discuss content, as well as the kinds of lines and shapes they make, so that they feel they are communicating. Imaginative themes from stories, poems and songs may be introduced as they progress.

Once children develop a schema, or personal set of symbols for what they want to express visually, they will need more directed looking as they try for more detail and more realism in their drawing. This occurs typically around the end of the infant cycle, when they are still most interested in their own everyday lives of family, friends, home, play and playthings. Drawing themes could be chosen that variously emphasise texture, pattern or the human figure engaged in some activity. Their sense of context will by now have become more important to them: where they are, what they are doing, who they are with. They will, typically, use a baseline on which to place figures or objects.

Occasionally ‘fold-over’ drawings are used to express the concept of space by showing figures (or objects) arranged in a circle, or on opposite sides, upside down on one side. Imaginative themes can be introduced by lively discussions that evoke the visual qualities and narrative line of stories, poems, songs, television programmes, computer games or films.