Learn to Draw - early drawing experiences




Drawing as Children

A drawing by a three year old

Here's one by a five year old

A six year old drew this one

A 7 year olds' fanciful bug. Note the detail in the eyes.

Later, around six or seven years, as you matured, and your perception of the world expanded and became more complex, you tried to be more realistic in your drawings. Rather than just drawing two dots and a curved line that represented two eyes and a mouth, you began to attempt to depict your subject in a more realistic way. The eye became a compound object with a pupil (a dot), the iris (a circle surrounding the dot), and the eyeball (a circle enclosing the smaller circle). And the mouth may have been drawn smiling as a crescent shape with a grid inside it representing teeth. And now, a nose is added that is a bulb with two dots for nostrils. These became your own personal "symbols" of what an eye, nose, and mouth looked like. In order to create likeness in a drawing of your family, you always drew the same faces but added long hair for Mom and Sister, and drew short hair for Dad. You may have even drawn Mom and Dad physically larger than you and Sister. In the same way you drew people, you drew objects; A chair was two very flat ovals with two lines sticking out the bottom, and a window was a square with a cross drawn inside it to represent window panes. These "symbols" that you drew over and over again got stored in your logical mind as what you would draw if asked to draw. Rather than draw what your visual mind ACTUALLY sees, your logical mind says "I see a chair - here's my symbol for a chair." and you draw the chair you drew as a child.

Around sixth grade is when you decided that symbols just aren't gonna cut it anymore. You'd try and draw what you actually see, but your conditioned, logical mind, kicks in and overrides your creative impulse and spits out yet another symbol, or even better, a modified symbol that does somewhat resemble the object you want to draw. Your creative mind sees your symbol drawing and says "This does NOT look like what I want! I can't draw, so I will never draw again!" And so that was the end of your learning. And from then on, when asked to draw, you squirm and draw another symbol at the sixth grade level of learning regardless of your age. Unfortunately, also around the sixth grade, is when public schools stop requiring art classes. Art now becomes an elective that you don't have to take if you don't want to. The children who do end up taking art classes are the ones who are comfortable with drawing. These children may have even stopped drawing "symbols" and started to access the creative side of their brains and started drawing what they see by breaking it down into lines and shapes.

What we will try to do with this website is to get you to use your visual mind and suppress your logical mind. We are going to break your habit of drawing symbols and allow your artistic, visual mind to draw what it actually sees. Hopefully, you will be able to let go of your sixth grade artistic mind and re-learn your art skills. But this time, maturing in your skill without giving up. These beginning exercises are meant to show you how to suppress your symbol oriented mind and begin to draw what you see and what you feel.

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