Drawing With Children-At What Age?

A reader asked:
At what age should I go through Drawing With Children (by Mona Brookes)?

I have found with my own children and teaching art to children in this age range that it is at about nine years of age that they really have desire to learn to draw and have it look “real”. They seem to step up from the stick figure sort of drawing to trying to make what they see into something they can express on paper.

You can certainly get the book and start offering some of the ideas for instruction with your children at an earlier age if you are ready to do so.

Something most people don’t realize is that this book really is for the parent and not for the child. It helps the parent learn how to set up an environment that promotes creativity in their children and then step-by-step how to help your child learn to see shapes and elements in everyday objects. I found it inspiring as an adult and this book is really what started my journey into offering art within our family and then helping other children as well. Drawing With Children sparks something that you forgot you had inside….the artist living deep within each of us.

In our family we started using Drawing With Children progressively when the boys were 7 and 9 years of age. I think the timing was just right. We were also working our way through Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad book and I found them to be quite complementary. In fact, just recently I noticed that Mona Brookes wrote the Foreward in the Mark Kistler book and she highly recommends both systems for young artists.

Want to see some sketches from over the years of working in Drawing With Children?

Here are some drawings that show the progression through learning to make things realistic.

This is a great beginning, showing that the shoe is not flat but lots of room for improvement.

Things are still a little flat but the proportions are right.

I’m starting to see a little 3-D in his sketches.

This was done when he was fourteen. He is starting to use shading and foreshortening in objects as a way to show that the object is not flat.

He did this one in the spring for a Sketch Tuesday assignment. I love that he gave us a reference point with the hands holding the little animal. He is also showing some overlapping as well and that is a great way to show three dimensions in a drawing.

This one he did a few weeks ago. He is almost sixteen now and he spends several hours a week perfecting his sketching skills. He prefers pencil to any other medium, that could change next week. I have to say that he sketches a lot and rarely do I get to see the finished product. He is very particular at the moment, but this drawing he framed and it is hanging in his bedroom. 🙂

Learning to draw is a process like learning a new language or playing an instrument. It progresses in spurts and you never know how it happens. Offering a program like Drawing With Children helped me to learn how to help my kids with their drawing skills. In the process, I found that sketching is a relaxing hobby and try to fit it in every week. I know that many of us grew up thinking that we had no talent in art but if you can spare a few minutes a week….you may surprise yourself. Helping them learn to draw is a gift that you can give your child that will last a life time.

Confidence in teaching art comes with time. I highly recommend that you read the introductory pages of this book before you start trying the art lessons suggested. You may need to correct some wrong thinking about drawing and art in general so you don’t start off on the wrong foot.

cat drawing with children B
Step by step plans for using Drawing With Children in your family on my Squidoo page. All lessons are printable.

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