Encouraging Drawing

I’ve taught thousands of kids the art of drawing, yet no one really talks about how to encourage drawing.

Kids come into the classroom, usually very excited about the subject matter and can’t wait to get started.  Setting up a quiet classroom that plays instrumental music helps relax a student and give the brain a quiet focus on the subject matter (playing music with words actually confuses the young brain).  While they are looking at the objects to be drawn and doing the actual drawing, the classroom is quiet.  These are steps to help the brain relax and build quiet concentration skills (which many young kids need).

Once the drawing is completed, I ask all the students to hold up their drawing and turn them so everyone can see.  I respectfully say that “no one’s drawing is any better than someone else’s”.  Because art is subjective in nature, how can I whose drawing is the best?  We all like different things.  However, if a student has done a nice job of coloring or added special items of interest to their drawing, I may comment that I liked what they did in a section of their drawing.   Letting students know that no one’s drawing stands out, gives them the freedom to truly create in a safe environment.

There are some students who need reassurance of their drawing, in this case I ask them “what did they like best about their drawing”?  This is one of the best internal encouraging statements that you can offer.

I remember that in about second grade i was shown how to draw palm trees by an older student.  I got very good at drawing them and put them on almost everything!  After a while I didn’t want to draw much else, because fear began to creep in that those new drawing elements may not be as “good” as my palm trees.

If a parent comments how much they like a landscape or a specific drawn subject, the student will usually want to repeat this over and over to gain parental approval.  The best statement is still “what did you like best about YOUR drawing?”


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