Drawing is the the fundamental basis of all art forms including painting; drawing an object lets us understand it, know it and learn more about it’s structure, not to mention how light falls upon it and plays tricks with our perception. Picasso used to say, ‘ I do not paint what I see I paint what I know.’ ‘Knowing’ an object well allows us to depict it in a way that might not look like a photographic representation, but perhaps in a more abstracted, more creative way, yet still retaining the fundamental essence of what that object is.
If you want to be a little more creative with your drawing your children produce, or perhaps you want to push their drawing more towards an individual, abstracted response, why not try a one of these ideas.
Start by taking an object, maybe an interesting vase, and get the children to make a quick large sketch of it on A3 paper, now change the position of the vase so their view point changes and get them to draw it again, BUT get them to draw it directly on top of the previous drawing. Do this a number of times from different angles, how extreme you want to make the viewing angle is up to you – experiment. After they have completed say five sketches, get them to look at the mass of lines they have drawn and ask them to select just a few by making the lines bolder line. They should end up with a drawing that sums up the experience of moving around the object, seeing it from all angles in its full glory. The drawing should also be a great basis for an abstract painting.
Another idea that can produce interesting results is a variation on the idea above. Give the children an object they are not familiar with and get them to hold it behind their backs – they are not allowed to look at it. Ask the children to hold the pencil on a sheet of paper and to close your eyes. Ask them to roll the object around in your fingers. This is the difficult bit – ask then to draw what they feel with their eyes closed. This idea is all about how the brain visualises purely tactile messages into a visual image. It may be better to try this with older children, but done properly, it can produce some very interesting results. Be open minded about the result and try lots of objects – experiment.