Ok, the toothless kid in the picture is me! Only I was known as “Bubba” then! At that age, I was clueless I would ever be an artist. No idea. In fact, it would be 17 more years after this picture before I would know I wanted to be an artist! I never took an art class in high school or pursued it…but I was making stuff and drawing cartoons often. That really was my “formal” teaching in art. God knew all along that He had made me for a purpose that He knew I would love. I’m so happy that I get to do something I love and am passionate about every day! I still just love to doodle on paper with nothing in mind….
From recent calls and conversations and things that I am reading on the internet from mom’s and dad’s about art and their children, I felt to pass on some thoughts that I hope will be helpful. I know it is really on alot of parent’s minds. They want to know what they can do for their kids who either love art (do it all the time) or have gotten to the point where they don’t want to do it much anymore (and you know it is because they are afraid their picture is not going to be as good as someone elses). What can you do?
God has equipped EVERY person (you included!) with a high ability to create and much of it is geared around the visual part of how He has wired us. It’s like having a computer that is extremely fast and able to multi function and is loaded with software (bells and whistles included)….but it’s potential is not being realized. And if the person that owned the computer knew how that potential would help them and make their life more enjoyable, they would be learning with vigor how to use it. So here are some tips…
1) KEEP LOTS OF PAPER AND PENCILS AND CRAYONS AVAILABLE. Having those things in one place will help them go there more often when those ideas or desire to create happens. I tell kids that I call clean, white paper, “yum yum”. Getting to draw is like eating candy. And they smile and nod because they understand that feeling when they see clean paper.
2) YOUR EYES ARE YOUR BEST TEACHERS. Help them develop their capactiy to see. Remember the computer I refered to above? It can do alot more than it is being used to do right now. We develop little by little…baby steps mainly. The best thing you can do is to make comments all the time about anything seen. It can happen wherever you are…you can do it any way you like… whenever the moment happens.
Example: Your family is walking out the door of the house loading in the van and you look up and see some big puffy clouds….”wow! Look at those big puffy clouds! They look like cotton balls floating in the sky!” Or your kids are eating their sandwich and after a few bites you notice their sandwich looks like the moon….”hey! Look at your sandwich! It looks like Mr. Moon!” Just draw attention to things and it will be like throwing a million seeds out on your child’s fertile mind.
3) YOU interact with them by drawing or doing creative things WITH them. I would REALLY stress this for dads…because it is pretty rare. But your kids seeing you “try” (even if you say, “I can’t even draw stick figures!”), will communicate to them a desire to ALWAYS TRY… even if drawing is not their “thing”. And, you might just really come to enjoy it as well! It might even give you a new confidence to try a hobby you’ve always admired…woodworking or sewing or landscaping, etc.
4) PICTIONARY! If you’ve never played this, I recommend it highly. It is totally taking art into a “communication” game. Our culture has basically taught that “art” is only something that is pretty and hangs on a wall (i.e. “if it ain’t pretty; you ain’t an artist…give it up!”) You might notice that usually the “artists” that play this game will take too long with their pictures and end up losing anyway! You don’t have to have a polished picture to communicate. This game teaches kids how to “put it down quick” in order to try and help others guess what object is trying to be guessed. This helps their problem solving skills and because it is timed, they won’t get bogged down in it being tedious and taking a long time. The whole family can do this together. And who knows, maybe one day it might actually be used in a crisis situation to save someone’s life. It will really instill that pictures are powerful….can say a whole lot…are worth a 1000 words at least!
One last thing to ponder about art….art is something beyond the “doing”. What I mean is that it is more than your hand drawing with a pencil on paper. That is pretty much how people see art. So if they can do the drawing part good, then they are an “artist”. But art is two other things also and these are not stressed enough….how to “see” and how to “think” (about what you see). See? Reseach has shown over and over that when you do art of any kind, ALL parts of the brain are working together. Nothing is left out. If you’ll notice, even the hand that is not actually drawing is doing things to help in the process….move the paper, etc.
Hope these things help….please leave me a comment if this has helped….or if you have questions, you can email me at email@example.com.
If this is the first time you’ve been to my blog, search through the categories on the right and find some fun, simple cartoons to try…you might be surprised what you can do!
Have fun and enjoy being able to create things only you can create in the way you do!