The world can be a crazy place these days. Ignoring the disturbing news of cultural upheaval and catastrophic disasters can be difficult, to say the least. Times like these make me think back to when I was a kid, and how easy it was to escape the world’s problems by hiding out in my bedroom and drawing pictures all day.
Things haven’t changed much for me as an adult. Except that now my secret hideaway from the world is the Scribbles Institute studio, and I usually have eight or ten students who join me during drawing sessions. And because we combine youth and adult students together, the vibe at our sessions is playful and productive. I encourage this environment as we strive to reconnect with the spontaneous creativity of childhood.
Cathy Malchiodi, in her book Understanding Children’s Drawings states that “children use art to integrate not only their inner experiences and perceptions, but also to link their experience of the outside world with the inner self, helping them to discover and affirm themselves and their relationships to people, environment, and even society.” Seems that is pretty much what adult sketchers are immersed in too.
Malchiodi continues that “throughout childhood, all children follow expected, progressive changes in their drawing” as they pass through predictable stages of development. Up until 9 years old, kids can be content with rudimentary, symbolic representation of the world around them. But then they develop a critical awareness of realism which begins the inevitable struggle to “make things look right”.
This is the stage where many children stop drawing. Revisiting this stage as an adult, and rebuilding your skills, can have a profound impact on your drawing, and the way you see the world.
Feature image at top of page: Kristen and her daughter, Zoe, in deep creative mode during Thursday’s Drawing Lab