On Art And Learning – And the Art of Learning

I don’t like to brag, but, well, okay you talked me into it. I’m pretty good at drawing. There – you dragged it out of me. Happy now? Wanna see?

{A quick sketch of this image by sight, to show Princess a few pointers}

One of my favorite classes in school was art class. LOVED art class. I don’t remember ever really being encouraged in art at all, though. Maybe I just blocked that out. (I do remember my brother being encouraged in high school to pursue drafting or some area that would put his good art skills to use – he was also a better artist than I was.. But I digress..)

One of the things that I’ve brought with me from my childhood is a desire to encouraging my kids in their interests (as much as I can, resources allowing) and help them advance and grow in their areas of interest.

I don’t mind the thought that those interests may fade and my children may move onto other things. I wouldn’t consider one season of soccer or 3 years of piano lessons (for example – my kids have done neither of those) to be a “waste” because every interested pursued, every skill gained contributes to the whole of who my children will be when they grow up. Every success adds to their confidence in trying something else new.

I want my kids to have the confidence to try new things.

That was something I didn’t have a lot of while growing up – it’s one reason I’m NOT sitting here bragging about how good I was in sports or how awesome I was as a cheerleader (because I never tried!)

But I did try art. It may have helped that art was required up to a certain point in school so I was familiar with it and then chose to take two years of extracurricular art in high school. And I had so much fun. I wasn’t the best but I learned a lot. And now I’m actually putting what I learned to use! Can you believe it?

Princess has always loved art. It was the first thing she did when we started “doing preschool.” As long as she had a pair of scissors and a glue stick she was happy. Lately, she’s been gravitating towards paper and pencil a lot. A friend bought her a set of nice pencils and a nice sketchbook for her birthday this past April. (The sketchbook has long since been used up!)

In the last month or so she’s moved from doodling and drawing whatever comes to mind to trying to improve her drawing and making things look more realistic. Imagine my smile when I first showed her how to shade a ball to make it look round and she gaped at me: “How did YOU know how to do that?!”

Oh yes, babe, MOMMA CAN DRAW.

Since then I’ve been teaching her things here and there and then sending her off to practice. I’ve taught her how to search for tutorials online for specific things and how to search for pictures to look at for reference and so she’s learning how to learn more about drawing at the same time that she’s learning how to draw.

It’s not uncommon to find her done with a school assignment and quietly working away at a tutorial on youtube. And I love watching her get better. And I love that she’s teaching herself how to draw. And I LOVE when I get to step in and draw with her and share this with her.

Today I flipped through her used up sketch book and it was neat to see the improvement from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. You can tell when she started using the tutorials!


She’s no Picasso, I know. At least – not yet. *wink* It’s still amazing to watch how quick she picks it up. I better watch out, though, she’s going to pass me up before too long! (And I will enjoy it. And SMILE.)

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June 24, 2010 12:44 am

That is great! The before and after drawings are wonderful. I have a little artist who wants to learn to paint and draw. I was amazed when she started telling me all the shapes in my face one night while putting her to bed.

It’s amazing to see how each little one is so unique.

June 24, 2010 2:00 pm
Reply to  Renae

Renae – Yes, it’s sweet to watch them develop their talents. My youngest also likes to draw. At this point he’s not really interested in perfecting his skills, he’s more interested in covering every inch of paper! But it will be interesting to watch his talents grow as he does. =)

June 24, 2010 6:20 am

I used to love to draw, and to write…but somehow I got it in my head that if I wasn’t the BEST at it, it wasn’t good enough. So I quit. Sad, huh?

June 24, 2010 1:51 pm
Reply to  Jeni

Jeni: It IS sad – and unfortunately, I think kids get that a lot, about a lot of things. This just helps us develop a “well if I’m not going to the best I might as well not bother” mentality, which unfortunately carries over into our adult lives and jobs. =(

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