Drawing is a skill that children can learn. In the many years that I’ve been teaching art to children, I have come across only two children that could draw in perfect perspective from observation or from memory, Fergus and James. Most children learn how to draw with practice. When they are very young children draw mostly from imagination. They draw their feelings and their ideas in an abstract way. Later on, children start looking for other things to draw. It is at this point, that children will need the guidance and support of teachers at school and parents at home.
There are many ways and many instruments to draw with. Children normally draw with traditional tools like pencils and crayons. In our classroom we encourage children to draw with different drawing materials like charcoal sticks, dry pastels, inks, paints, colour pencils, graphite pencils, felt pens and crayons. Our drawing tools are different kinds such as: bits of string, sticks found in the garden, paint brushes, mechanical pens, bamboo pens, yarns, and lengths of fabrics for outdoor drawing. In both cases it is matter of using the imagination and giving the students the freedom to interpret ideas and to develop their own techniques.
The drawings above are charcoal drawings done by elementary/primary students from 5 years to 10 years of age. To produce these drawings, the students had a mini lesson and the idea was to place themselves in a room behind a table. They used mainly black charcoal and bits of brown dry pastels. All the drawings are different interpretations of the idea. Younger students placed themselves in a room showing the objects on the table they chose and details of the room, like the brick walls, book shelves and cupboards. Older students choose a closer view, and engaged in a more accurate depiction of themselves including details like their uniforms and hair style against a simple background.
- A3 size piece of white cartridge paper per student
- Willow charcoal (natural Charcoal) Medium Strength per student
- 2 sticks of dry soft pastel in different colours optional as the drawings can be done entirely in charcoal
- Hair spray or Fixative to fix the drawings.
Soft Pastel Drawing
This next group of drawings involve ideas like Identity and the Self. Students had a mini lesson to help them with technique, the application of dry pastels and to bring their focus onto themselves. The drawings are done on cartridge paper tinted with a light grey Tempera colour to create a better surface for the application of dry pastels. This is called tooth in art. Tempera paint applied with sponge roller is the best, as Tempera dries opaque. Students used a limited number of colours and they were encouraged to apply the colours in an expressive way, using little rubbings and most of all expressive lines.
In the background, some students included views of what is important to them; their gardens/back yards, their neighbourhoods and their pets like cats, dogs and birds.
- 1 A3 size piece cartridge or Kraft/brown paper (primed with light grey Tempera) per student
- 1 stick of Willow (Natural) Charcoal per student
- 2 or 3 sticks of dry pastel, limited colours
- Grey Tempera Paint and a sponge roller to prime paper
- Hair spray or fixative to fix the drawings