on Drawing with Kids using the Monart method really seemed to strike a chord. It has been one of my more popular posts lately,
both in terms of comments and readership.
The kids and I have continued with
the Monart method outlined in Mona Brookes' book, Drawing with Children, with
several small lessons and drawing sessions each week. Sometimes we sit down and
do a formal lesson (actually just part of an official lesson since they are
rather long—we're making each stretch out over a week or two) and sometimes
we just have a super informal joint drawing session (although elements from the more formal lessons have a way of sneaking in…).
the two, there is definitely more of an emphasis on drawing in our house!
I are now well into lesson 2, but I'm going to backtrack in this post and
share the rest of lesson 1 with you as well as answer some of your questions.
that some of you are following along with your own kids, and that many of you
purchased copies of Drawing with Children since my last post! My plan is to share our
experience with the book and provide the tools and inspiration for you to help your kids learn specific drawing
skills, if you are interested.
Also, while I've decided to start with Mona Brooks' book, I will
incorporate other ideas, methods, exercises, and books throughout.
I want to address one concern that some of you have regarding creativity. Some parents are concerned
that by teaching specific skills and especially using some of the copying
techniques that Mona Brooks suggests, that their children's creativity will be
stunted. I have to admit that this was a concern of mine for a while, as well.
However, after reading and thinking, this is what has swayed me:
- Mona asserts in her
book that giving children the tools to draw accurately actually gives children
the confidence and skills to portray what they see and to share their creative
ideas with the world.
- Kids who have these
drawing skills are more likely to continue to draw and to do art beyond age 8
(the age that many kids stop drawing because of lack of skills, confidence, and
the de-emphasis in schools on art in the later grades).
- It is completely
normal for kids to use their accurate drawing skills in one situation yet use symbols and stick figures for quick and creative
drawing play. Kids know the difference and one doesn't interfere with the other.
Each lesson is begun with a warm
up exercise that involves drawing the 5 shapes and lines (dots, circles,
straight lines, curved lines, and angles) in various combinations and patterns.
unlike the first skills level test that involved copying the shape combos
exactly, these are very free form and everyone's version is completely unique and
The warm up exercises go something like this:
- Choose two fine-tipped markers and draw three straight lines on the paper, in any direction, starting and stopping at the edge of the page.
- Choose three broad-tipped markers and draw five dots of any size, with at least two of the dots intersecting lines.
- Choose one broad-tipped marker and draw an angle line starting and ending at the edge of the paper.
- Choose a fine-tipped marker and fill in at least two of the empty spaces with a pattern of straight lines.
Maia and I have been LOVING this part! As has her friend Stella, who joined us for one of the exercises. And even Daphne has really gotten into it.
do a warm up exercise, we segue into one of the drawing lessons. This first one
was a simple bird.
drawing lessons are very step-by-step, which can feel wonderful to someone who doesn't feel like they have a clue how to draw, or can possibly feel a little stifling to someone
who is experienced at drawing and confident in their skills.
it's important to remember the main point here, which is to learn:
- Ways to connect specific
shapes and lines into a recognizable figure.
- Show a child how to draw
something, such as a bird, that they can then replicate so that they "own" that drawing in a way and have the confidence to recreate it.
- Provide the basic steps to draw
something that can be built off of and provide the basis for variation.
- As children learn the
step-by-step instructions for drawing a few different specific things, I think they'll
start owning the whole process and that the drawing skills for these specific
items will start to spill over into other items and areas until they are using
those skills to draw anything they like, any way they like.
Maia, who has plenty of self-confidence (usually) and a 7-year-old's sense of humor, scratched out her first "by the book" bird and decided to create a silly bird with a very long beak, tiny body, a cherry on top, singing "ainty dainty doodle," and eating a banana, all the while still following the drawing instructions as written.
I don't think I need to worry about her feeling stifled by drawing instructions any time soon.
My own bird drawing seems somewhat tame in comparison. :)
How about you? Have you tried any of the drawing exercises in Drawing with Children (or another drawing book)? What do you think?
Follow along on the Drawing with Kids series:
- Drawing with Kids using the Monart Method
- Drawing with Kids with the Monart Method :: Lesson 1
- Drawing with Kids :: Lions! (Monart Method Lesson 2)