Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Draw Like A Child

Sometimes I practice drawing like a child, but I’m not satisfied. Once a little training and self-consciousness enter the creative process, the result isn’t the same.

Picasso is said to have claimed that as a young man he could paint like a master, but it took him a lifetime to learn to paint like a child. Matisse said that the artist must look at everything as though seeing it for the first time, like a child. Artists like Miro, Kandinsky, Klee, and Chagall seemed to have a keen ability to do this.

Here’s one of my daughter’s early drawings. She usually drew horses wearing dresses, but this is a rare study of mermaids and fish:

Who wouldn’t want to swim with them?

When children make art, their perception of the world is expressed in feelings. Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process is healing and life-enhancing. Maybe what makes children’s art so appealing is that the enjoyment of the creative process itself is apparent in the end result.

One contemporary artist that demonstrates this quality is illustrator Gustavo Roldan. I especially love his crazy bird drawings in Una Lluvia de Pajaros (Rain of Birds). I read that author/illustrator Mo Willems likes to keep his drawings simple enough for kids to recreate, to inspire them to make up their own adventures. He even posts some of these adventures on his blog - how cool is that? But although his own drawings are child-like, you can tell that they are drawn with a practiced hand.

My husband tried to convince me to use my girl painting, above, for my profile picture. My kids vetoed the idea. I guess they’re old enough that self-consciousness has colored their appreciation for art as well. Or maybe they just thought it was an embarrassingly bad drawing. I wasn’t totally opposed to the idea - she does resemble me a little. I think I’m a little taller, though.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

You look like quite the cheery girl in your picture!
And your daughter's mermaid and fish are terrific! I'd love to see a horse wearing a dress!
I just love children's art. For years we used my kids' artwork as our Christmas cards.
Fun post!
PS I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Rena said...

I love your artwork and think your girl painting is awesome. I love how your arms come right out of your head. Seriously. I have a quilt that my daughter's kindergarten class made and each child drew/painted themselves on one of the squares. I love that stick person look -- :)


adrienne said...

Becky - can't wait to go blog-hopping!

Rena - a quilt of kid's drawings - what a cool keepsake!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Hi there,
Thanks for your note on my blog! I was excited to get my first comments from you and Becky on the blog tour.

I am enjoying your slideshow of artwork right now. I love it. Favorite is the pig. Next the two geese, then the cat on the fence.

I love our kids' art projects. I haven't tried to imitate their pieces. Interesting. Drawing like a child. Fun!

Thanks again.

adrienne said...

Sara, thanks for the kind words about my paintings. No doubt your kids are great athletes - I'll bet they're awesome artists, too!