Approaches to drawing

Drawing from close observation

Through opportunities to work and rework their schemas, their drawings will become more analytical and they will aim for more realistic effects. At this stage (about third or fourth class) they will need a programme that places greater emphasis on drawing from close observation and on more developed ways of suggesting spatial organisation on a page. Overlapping shapes, figures and objects would now be a typical way of organising space and suggesting depth on a plane.

Working from observation will also help them later when drawing themes from memory and imagination. A wealth of invented pattern and detail should be encouraged in their drawings of imaginary happenings, places, machines, buildings or monsters. Because they are now generally at a peak of expressiveness, it is important that they develop confidence in their work at this stage.

Towards the end of the primary cycle, children would have developed  sensitivity to drawing media, and a keener sense of observation. With experience, they will use line quality and texture for more subtle suggestions and will express themselves more purposefully. It is essential that they continue to work from direct observation so as to progress beyond the stage of symbols.

Figure drawing from close observation, especially of each other engaged in different activities, can help to sharpen observation and to develop beyond the repeated use of symbols for human beings. Attention should be drawn informally to the underlying form and proportions of the figure and to the negative shapes created by the arms or legs, before drawing details of clothing or gear, for example.