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Drawing for Kids: Encouraging the Reluctant Artist

by Jean Van't Hul
May 17, 2016
Drawing for Kids - What to do when children are reluctant to draw

Updated May 2021

When I asked for your questions and problems in a recent newsletter, several people emailed asking me about drawing for kids and specifically on how to encourage the reluctant artist.

There are two sides to this issue.

Some kids just don’t seem that into art, especially drawing and painting. If you have one of these kids, my post on “What to Do When My Child Doesn’t Like Art” might be helpful.

But sometimes, a child does like to draw and paint but gets frustrated with their skill level and/or compares their work to that of a sibling or adult or even to their own vision. And that frustration can lead them to say that they can’t draw and can lead them to avoid drawing.

If this describes your child, I have a few tips for you!

encouraging the reluctant artist pinterest

Drawing for Kids: Encouraging the Reluctant Artist

First, please don’t ever let your child hear you say that you can’t draw or that you’re not creative. These kids of ours learn so much from us!

Second, try to make drawing fun and lighthearted. Play art games where the focus is on connection and on drawing for the fun of it.

child drawing with kwik stix (1)
Photo by Rachel Withers

Here are some drawing games you can try:

girl doing double doodles
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Some other drawing activities to consider that are more about the process and less about the finished product are:

frames drawing
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

If the child seems to want it, consider teaching some drawing skills or use a how to draw book. I like these two:

You can also move away from drawing altogether for a while and focus on other process-oriented art activities such as collage, action art, printmaking, suncatchers, clay and playdough modeling, toothpick construction, and photography.


Drawing Prompts and a New Book!

Another great way to encourage reluctant artists is through drawing prompts! Drawing prompts help children draw and think more creatively by inspiring them with interesting and challenging art prompts and questions. And guess what – I have a new book full of drawing prompts!

Invitation to Draw offers 99 open-ended drawing prompts, each one proposing a question to investigate that encourages children to free associate and problem solve. A blank cake provides the chance to decorate a dream confection, an empty house inspires stories about who lives there, and a grid of triangles supplies the chance to explore abstract art. What might be hiding in that tree? What sort of robot can you design? The possibilities are endless!

child painting on floor
Photo by Rachel Withers

More Drawing Ideas for Kids


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