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Drawing for Children: 8 Myths

Updated on August 4, 2008

8 myths about drawing for children debunked


Drawing with children can be one of the most satisfying and fun activities for children.

Unfortunately most children shy away from drawing due to bad experiences they may have had or because they can't draw as well as their friend or because they have the same misconceptions about drawing that so many of us do.

As I am very involved in art and in teaching arts and crafts for children in an educational way I have taken upon myself a project involving children and drawing.

There is a wonderful book out there about teaching children to draw by Mona Brooks and it is Drawing with Children and teaches what she calls the Monart method. Since many parents and other adults don't have the patience to go through the book slowly and learn the techniques to teach their children and students, I am in the process of creating videos that will help those adults that can't learn very well through books to learn how to teach children to draw.I am using a few different sources but will base the videos mostly on Mona Brook's techiniques.

In going over the material in the book Mona Brooks discuses 8 myths that people have about drawing that usually impedes kids attempts to learn how to draw.

Below are the 8 myths.

  1. The ability to draw is inherited: Even though there are definitely those that are born with certain skills that cause them to be natural drawers, drawing skill can definitely be developed.
  2. There is a right and wrong way to draw: Obviously that is all personal opinion. Just go to a museum and see all the different ways artists have chosen to depict their reality and you will easily see that there is no right way to draw.
  3. Drawing is for has no practical use:This is probably one of the reasons so many school budgets have cut the arts so drastically. However many administrators have begun to see that art provides the kind of thinking and problem solving that is so vital to a functioning individual that they are starting to rethink the funding of the art programs.
  4. Art should only be for those that show talent and may plan to become artists: If we believe the answer to myth #3 than obviously if the arts is vital for children development than all children should be exposed to it'd benefits.
  5. Children should acquire drawing techniques through trial and error: Nobody believes that about learning to play the piano so why should it be that way with art. If we teach children the general concepts of shape and leave the detail to them they will have guidance that will last a lifetime.
  6. Abstracts artists are not real artists: Many of our most successful abstract artist like Picasso and Matisse were in fact highly proficient realists. Abstract art is just a different kind of art.
  7. Real artists draw from imagination: This was something that I really always thought. That any artist just thinks about what they want to draw-and "voila" they judt draw. Well I have learned that artists do loads of research before drawing and have stacks of pictures and often real life models of the object they want to draw before they even begin to put pen to paper. Then they add their imagination.
  8. Real artist are always pleased with what they produce: All you have to do is read a biography of Van Gogh to see what angst he went through with his paintings. But most artists just don't see the work they don't like as a failure it's just a step towards the one they like.

If you have the patience I strongly suggest taking the time to go through Mona Brooks's wonderful book "Drawing with Children"

I would love to hear about some of your expereinces positive and negative in drawing with children.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting. Can't wait to purchase the book. This is my first year teaching art in a public school in NY. I am really interested in doing therapeutic open ended art activities with them since I teach in a high risk/high needs area. I strongly believe in focusing in the process and not the product. Even though its exciting to see the things they come up with. the children never cease to amaze me. I hope to inspire them.

    • faigekobre profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from NY

      Thats great that your son has a Dad who cares to give him the time to help him develop his creative side.

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      My experience with drawing with my son has been a positive one, because I can take a step back and see how much he has improved from the first time he put pencil to paper and now he likes drawing and I often think that If I did not take the time to sit down with him and do some drawing time every week, then he may not have an interest in drawing monsters and other stuff that is a creative outlet for him.

      Plus my son, having a dad who loves to draw too made it easier for me to concentrate on drawing and learning with him.

    • faigekobre profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NY

      There certainly is some element of inherited talent that many artists do have, however its a real pity that so many of us who can really use art as an outlet for creativtiy leave it to the artists when we can all gain from a little instruction that would help free our own creativity.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      What an interesting topic. My husband worked at a Western Fine Art museum for the last 6 years. One of their recent events was called a "quick draw" where they invited women artists who were exhibiting at the museum to create art for sale within a 2-hour period. Watching the national-caliber artists was a fascinating experience. They used so many different techniques, but none of the artists just "dreamed something up." Most of them came to their subjects with props and people and even live animals to use as models. After the event the art was auctioned off, and I overheard more than one of the artists tell their buyers "I can fix that for you if you want!" ;) Art is certainly a learned skill.


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