From around the age of 18 months, tots love to scribble!
Bit by bit, their drawings evolve to be more complex and thought-out. However, drawing is more than just an amusing activity – it plays a big role in a child’s development.
As the years pass, children learn to properly use a pencil and drawing becomes easier.
- So, how do you help the little ones to progress artistically?
- Why is it important to let children draw?
Colouring books are a good place to start, but there really is nothing better than a simple sheet of A4 and a selection of wax crayons to get them thinking creatively.
So, what are the benefits of drawing lessons for kids?
The Evolution of a Child’s Drawings
During the first months of their lives, babies develop at an astonishing rate, as they learn to:
- Support their head
- Roll over
- Sit up
- Stand up
But it’s not just their gross motor skills that improve; the way they use their hands also becomes more controlled.
In their own time, each child learns how to grip objects, move them and put them into their mouth, and this is all before they learn to hold a pencil and start creating their own works of art!
This step is essential to any child’s development.
Between the ages of 12 and 18 months, children are already capable of holding a pencil. And naturally, they start scribbling with anything they find!
Scribbling helps children practice their fine motor skills and learn to control and coordinate their movements.
From the age of 2, these scribbles start to take form and begin to look like proper drawings!
At this age, children stop making spirals and through practicing their pencil drawing, their shapes become more precise. They also get into the natural habit of drawing from left to right. As their muscles and imagination develop, children learn to move their art tools according to their vision of what they wish to draw.
At the age of 4, art becomes more intentional for children, as they begin to act on their creative vision of a final piece. This is the point at which children start to attempt representing what they know in real life in their sketches.
They start with the basic shapes that make up people, then go into further detail to draw faces.
Children’s drawings evolve most dramatically during their primary school years, as they learn how to draw people and how to draw faces more realistically.
Their first attempts at drawing people usually begin with child-like circles (to represent the torso, which has a face on it) and sticks (for the limbs).
After this stage, the child adds a second circle which represents the head, and they may even add other details such as a neck, hair, eyes and feet, but it isn’t until the age of 6 that they begin to draw their stick figures wearing clothes.
These steps in the evolution of drawing are common among the majority of the population, and show a progression in a child’s ability to reproduce what they see. Over the course of a few years, they go from sketching the idea of how something looks to them, to understanding space and representing real people more realistically.
Before the age of 7, children may struggle with proportion in their drawings. This is due to their under-developed perspective on the real world, and is the reason that children may start drawing houses with the occupants inside, as if the walls are transparent.
So, scribbles turn into simple shapes as children learn to outline what they draw, and their free drawing becomes far more detailed as they learn about shading techniques, cross hatching, figure drawing, shadows, perspective drawing, digital drawing, rendering, textures, drawing freehand, negative space, realistic drawing, expressive emotion, charcoal drawing, cartooning, acrylic painting, realism, ink drawing, drawing portraits, still life drawing and gesture drawing.
How Drawing Benefits Kids
Would you like to know what happens in drawing lessons, and possibly even sign up to a sketch workshop?
Offering children age-appropriate drawing materials and step-by-step drawing tutorials for creating their own art (such as graphite and colored pencils, charcoal, crayons, oil pastels, watercolor paint, pen and ink) will encourage them to learn to perfect their technique and develop as an artist.
Drawing and painting promote:
- Cognitive Development: The child uses their own knowledge to aid the creation of their artwork, meaning that drawing stimulates observational skills and helps in the development of their brain.
- Coordination skills: By drawing geometric shapes, children learn to control the pencil as they aim towards a specific goal in how their picture should look.
- Fine motor skills: As a more specific part of coordination, the child learns to draw things in greater detail and can fit more elements into a limited drawing space.
- Developing their personality: The child learns to express themselves through their art as they test different methods and find out what works best for them. You may notice these variations as their work evolves, and notice certain trends when they’re upset or particularly happy, as this could be expressed in their art.
- Developing their creativity: Drawing is a way to not only represent real-life people and objects, but to bring your imagination into reality. Children’s drawings usually have fantastical stories behind them – and if you’ve ever asked a child about what they’ve drawn, you’ll be well aware of this. What children don’t always realise, though, is that some people may see a different scene in their drawing to the one they intended. Listening to the opinions of others will broaden the child’s creative outlook and understanding of their own artistic skills.
- Expressing their emotions: Art provides an outlet for children to express themselves without using words. Their creations are, therefore, likely to reflect their emotions and their state-of-mind through their use of colour and their choice of scene.
Drawing is great for a child’s development as well as for their parents, who may use drawing as a way to better get to know their child through trying to understand why they express their art in such a way and how confident their child is.
Promoting Your Child’s Development through Drawing
Have you been encouraging your child to get creative by showing them how to use different media?
If so, this can only be a good thing!
It’s important that children feel able to experiment with different methods of creating art – after all, art is a form of play for kids, so they will be far more likely to want to get involved if you give them colourful drawing tools to work with. There are even some digital drawing resources out there for the little ones.
Bear in mind that drawing should always be a fun activity, and if children don’t want to participate, their decision should be respected.
Children shouldn’t have to draw things they don’t want to just because an adult tells them to do so.
In general, very few children get bored of drawing, however, should this happen, there is no reason to worry.
Parents should also let their children draw whenever they want to. Here are a few other rules you should abide by when it comes to encouraging your child to draw:
- Let them choose what they’d like to draw
- Admire their finished work
- Write the child’s name on their work
- Ask them to describe what they have drawn
With a healthy level of encouragement and support of their ideas, you’ll quickly see their art develop.
Learning to paint is complementary to drawing and is equally as valuable. If their interest in art continues, you can think about taking them to drawing lessons.
Youngsters love channelling their inner Van Gogh and drawing with a paintbrush.
They enjoy painting with their hands, sponges and potato stamps even more!
Building models also helps to develop children’s manual skills.
It’s not difficult to see how creating art through drawing, painting and sculpting helps your child to grow in creativity and confidence.
The Beginnings of Writing
Simple drawing is an essential step towards learning to write.
As they move through their sketchbook and their drawing progresses, children learn to create different types of lines. They begin with 2-dimensional shapes before moving onto curves, waves and spirals – which all help pave the way towards writing the alphabet.
Shortly after their drawing skills develop this way, the artist learns to write capital letters and their name.
Further down the line, after having mastered the capital and lower-case alphabet, children move onto cursive writing.
This is why it is so important that the child is taught how to correctly grip their pencil. As long as parents and teachers are attentive to this, the child will be able to easily learn the right movements to form letters.
Children in the UK usually learn to read and write at the age of 4, and this is an interesting point in every child’s learning.
Some children almost abandon drawing once they learn to read, whereas others hold onto their passion for expressing themselves this way – it’s down to the personal interests of the child.
As children get older, they learn progress from drawing lessons for beginners, start to perfect their drawing techniques and to produce even more complex and successful works.
So, drawing lessons and art instruction can be an exciting and fulfilling extra-curricular activity for many children!
Take an art class with Superprof's great drawing class London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and all over the UK.