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This drawing is from a storybook that my granddaughter made for me as a gift.
This drawing is from a storybook that my granddaughter
made for me as a gift. It's one of my prized possessions.
Rob Court : Respecting Children's Drawings

Respecting Children's Drawings

By Rob Court

Drawing by Rob Court's granddaughter.Children can have tremendous respect for drawing. They're usually in awe of ANYONE who draws a picture for them — anytime, anyplace. For example, they'll pay close attention when the basic shapes of a cartoon character are sketched on a place mat at a restaurant. Children respect the simplest of drawings by parents and teachers, as well as the intricate renderings of accomplished artists. But do children get serious respect for their drawings?

When a child hands you a drawing, they are sharing important information. They may be excited about their accomplishment of scribbling a few lines and shapes. Or, with what appear to be random scribbles, they may be expressing an important event taking place in their mind — real or imagined. With today's fast-paced lifestyle, it's easy to take children's drawings for granted and forget to spend time with our little sketchers.

Sharing drawings is an excellent way to open a vital channel of communication. Spend a few minutes to read a child's drawing. Ask them to tell you what's going on in their picture. When a child shares a drawing, you are viewing a snapshot from the inner workings of their mind. If you view drawings with genuine interest, you'll share ideas and information at the deepest levels of trust. You'll learn about the importance of drawing as you help children to improve their artwork, and you may even rediscover your own childhood thrill of drawing.

It's a privilege when a young artist draws a picture for you. Often they've put a lot of time and imagination into their picture. For some kids, opening up their imagination and allowing a parent or teacher to peek inside takes a lot of courage. For others, drawing is a primary mode of communication and they gladly give page after page of wonderful pictures. Some will even provide verbal narration with the elaborate visual story taking place before your eyes.

Through their innate desire to draw, children can illuminate meaningful stories that teach us about art and life. The very least we can do is offer guidance, encouragement, and respect so that they may continue to share their visual stories with the world. •

© 2010 Rob Court. All rights reserved.

Rob CourtDrawing coach, Rob Court lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is the author of 30 drawing books and works with students in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. More »