Drawing With Children: Real Artists-The Myth

Posted in Art ideas

Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes has been a great inspiration to our family. Most people who purchase this book skip through the introductory chapter called “Before You Draw”. I think that this section of the book is the most important section of the book because it deals with the many myths that most people have about drawing. Parents need to read this section!

One myth that I especially like to share with my children is myth number 8. (page 12 in the book)

Myth: Real artists are pleased with most of what they produce.

Mona Brookes has a wonderful illustration in the book showing how to help your child work through this myth and I highly recommend you go through it with your children if you own the book. The bottom line is that most professional artists are just like the rest of us and they have some pieces of work that they are unhappy with. If children understand this idea, they will not be so quick to give up on drawing and think that they can’t learn to draw. Everyone draws things they don’t like but if you have the right thinking it will not discourage you from drawing it over again.

  • The reality is that everyone produces art they are not satisfied with and they can make changes or start over.
  • It often takes several sittings to finish a piece of artwork.
  • If a child doesn’t like their drawing, parents should not feel the need to talk the child into liking it.
  • When a child doesn’t like a drawing, help them find something they can improve on next time.

dragon A
This is a first draft of a drawing my son is working on for a project in Artistic Pursuits. It is an illustration to go along with the story of St. George and The Dragon.

If you can get your child to understand this myth, they will begin to see learning to draw as a process and hopefully they will not give up.

Harmony Art Mom

Ideas or Filling a bucket

Link to image

“When a child is very young, it doesn’t seem to make any difference what philosophical idea we had when we educated them, whether we had the notion of filling a bucket, writing on a blank slate, molding a lump of clay, or nourishing a life. But as the child grows, we’ll come to find that the only things that are assimilated into who he becomes are the ideas that fed and nourished his mind. Everything else is tossed aside, or, even worse, becomes an obstacle that can even harm him.”
Charlotte Mason vol. 6 page 108-109

This is a quote to ponder. I started reading Charlotte Mason’s writings pretty late in the homeschooling game. I have had my moments where I doubted my early choices with my first two children and homeschooling. On further reflection, I realize the validity of this quote. I always included good ideas and principles in my homeschooling. It didn’t so much matter the materials I used or the way I used them if I offered up good ideas on a regular basis.

“A child’s inner life needs ideas in the same way that his physical body needs food. He probably won’t use nine-tenths of the ideas we expose him to, just like his body only assimilates a small part of the meals he eats. He’s very eclectic–he might choose this or that. We don’t need to be concerned about what he chooses, we just need to make sure that he has a variety of things offered to him, and in abundance.” Charlotte Mason vol 6. page 109

I can do that.

Harmony Art Mom

Picture Gallery in Your Mind

I was reading lindafay’s blog Higher Up and Further In and loved this blog entry titled Snapshot from My Window. The idea to take a mental photograph of a scene is something that I have been pondering over since reading about it in Charlotte Mason’s book. She invites mothers to have a whole “gallery” of pictures in her mind from stored up memories to share with her children. She says this habit of keeping mental pictures is a means of comfort and refreshment when we need a little “mini vacation”. Here is the portion that explains it better than I can:

Seeing Fully and in Detail
In the beginning, children will need help to get them started. So the mother might show how it’s done by saying, ‘Look at the trees reflected in the water. What do the leaves standing up remind you of?’ until children notice the main details. She should memorize a couple of mental images and impress her children by closing her eyes and describing it from memory. Children are such little mimics that they will copy her example, even using variations of her own minute details in their own versions.
Children will enjoy this game even more if the mother introduces it by describing ‘a wonderful gallery I’ve seen,’ and then she goes on to describe individual pictures of different landscapes, children playing, an old lady sewing–and then she explains that these pictures don’t have frames and aren’t painted on canvas. This gallery goes with her everywhere inside her mind, and, every time she sees a pretty picture, she studies it until she can make a mental image to add to her collection. So now, these pictures are hers forever, wherever she goes, to look at anytime she wants.
Volume 1 part II Outdoor Life For Children CM in Modern English

We are going to give this a try in our family. I think it is something that would be enjoyable both for my own pleasure and to teach my children the joy of really looking at and remembering a scene in our life. P9080077

Here’s another thought on this from Charlotte Mason:

Imagine what a treasure they will find when, years later, they’re able to pull out memories etched in full detail of the beautiful scenery from their childhood home! The sad thing about most peoples’ childhood memories is that they are too vague and blurry to bring much enjoyment. Why? Not because they were forgotten, but because the details of the scene were never thoroughly seen.
Volume 1 part II Outdoor Life For Children CM in Modern English

I hope you give it a try too.
Harmony Art Mom

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