Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Art of Growing Up

Pablo Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

He also said, interestingly, “I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.

Interesting because of the theories and observations (summed up nicely here) about why children draw the way they do.

Around 18 months, toddlers love to scribble. They don’t have good control of the crayons they are clutching in their fat little fists, but they will sometimes discover, with great pleasure, that the scribble they just made looks like something.

When they start intentionally drawing, around ages 2 to 4, one of the first things kids will draw are people, except the people won’t have torsos. A person will just be a big round head with arms and legs sticking out, which is sometimes referred to as a “tadpole figure.” Some theorize that it’s not that young children don’t see how a body really looks but that they draw only the parts most important to them: the head and face, which are oversized, also, all ten fingers and the belly button.

Between 5 and 8, kids begin to draw objects according to “schema.” Basically, they develop one way to draw a house, for example, and that’s the way they draw it in every picture.

Things start getting sad around age 9. Kids, who start trying to draw realistically around this age, will, at the same time, become very critical of their own drawings. They start worrying what others think and that their drawings don’t “measure up.” Most people stop drawing at this point.

Picasso also said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

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