schematic - artwork that is not coached may appear rigid and stereotyped. This begins at about age five. Coaching can prevent problems later.
Why art?
to Express and Communicate
to Create Order

Use ideas for artwork from the child's
experiences

  1. Memories
  2. Imagination
  3. Observations  (see below for coaching ideas)
Motivation
for memory topics continue
"I" and "My" topics
"I help rake leaves"
"I feed my pet . . ."
"My truck goes fast"
"Making my cat out of clay?
Use lots of questions to make Passive Knowledge Active (review experiences)
"Can you remember what it feels like?" 
(for texture)
"How many fingers would you like 

on the hand?"
(for math)

"I wonder who could be in this place?"
(for creativity)
"Who do you play with when you . . . ?"
(for imagination)

Materials
For growth, materials
Should have good 
line contrast. 
Maximize use of 
Dark and Bright 
on white
Examples are:
Markers,  Crayons 
Thick Paints
firm bristle brushes 
Clay and similar modeling, wet chalk on dark paper
Wet Sand. 
Blocks natural wood and colored. 
Sorting sets of Color, Texture, Shape.
Puzzles

to> schematic picture

To COACH observation drawing
see note 1 below*

Begin some direct observation modeling and drawing
Teacher uses finger trace along edge of objects, models, etc.
Child practices air drawing to build confidence.
continue to
Ask detailed accretion questions during observation and during experiences.
"Which are the biggest branches?"  "Where are the smallest branches on this tree? How does this angle compare to this one?"

*see NOTE 1 below

NOTE 1:
Teaching Observation Drawing to Young Children

INTRODUCTION:  Often, as well-meaning adults, we teach drawing in ways that stunt a child's ability to learn. By "correcting" them and showing them how to draw something, we are both discouraging them and preventing them from learning how good observation is learned. Children who have not learned that drawing skill is based on careful observation may become very frustrated when they reach the next developmental stage. They may wish they could draw more realistically, but not knowing how to practice effectively, they may mistakenly assume that they are too young or they assume that they lack the talent to draw. If they do ask for help, many adults give them the wrong kinds of help. As they get older, they begin to compare with others and mistakenly believe that they are untalented while others seem more gifted in drawing. They give up because they see others who appear to do better. This is so common that art educators refer to this as the "crisis of confidence". (this article is continued . . . > Teaching Observation Drawing to Young Children For how to coach drawing to young children. It explains what to do and what to avoid. NEXT PAGE

Bibliography

Bartel, M. (2003) "How To Draw an Orchid." - this is a story of me coaching a pre-kindergarten child. http://www.bartelart.com/orchid.html  [retrieved, Sept. 24, 2010]  

Vlach, H. A. , Carver, S. M. (2008) "The Effects of Observation Coaching on Children's Graphic Representations." ECRP, Vol. 10, No 1, Spring. [retrieved, Sept. 24, 2010]

Other Related Bartel Essays

Drawing with Blinders    The Blinder Drawing Game     Drawing with Viewfinders
    How to Teach Drawing

NOTE 2:  

Many authors and researchers in art education have written about the stages of artistic development.  Viktor Lowenfeld made many observations and described the stages in his book, Creative and Mental Growth.  The 4th  edition of Creative and Mental Growth by Viktor Lowenfeld and W. Lambert Brittain. 1964 includes a  summary with charts describing the development stages in Chapter 13. pages 395 to 402. Some of information at the top of this page is based on Lowenfeld's charts.

Lowenfeld thought that some children where less capable of observational drawing.  He never spoke of a "crisis of confidence" resulting from the lack of ability, lack of teaching, or from a lack of practice. He felt that some children were more visual (like spectators) and others he classified as more haptic (more intimately and emotionally involved).  He felt that the more haptic children would feel successful if they were encouraged to do more expressive and emotional artwork. He would not expect them to make realistically representative artwork.  




Of course, in the art world, there are many styles of art, and realistic rendition is not the only criteria on which art is evaluated.  Some very strong artists are not strong in realistic rendition, but can express themselves very well in other ways.

It takes a fairly mature connoisseur to appreciate the true value of abstract work.  Children in the middle grades need to learn this, but one of the best ways to keep them involved is for them to see that they have some drawing ability.  Those things that give us self-esteem are the things we love to do.

Therefore, this author feels that all children should have learning opportunities and experiences that help them learn to create both realistic and emotionally abstract artwork regardless of their individual dispositions, preferences, and natural abilities.  The first because it is a legitimate skill and an important visual mental processing ability even though simple representational drawing is not art. The second because expressiveness and imagination are important for both art and for personal well being and success.
NEXT PAGE

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Marvin Bartel, Ed.D.  Link to Bartelart.com
For permission to make copies or handouts, contact the author 
This page updated: September 24, 2010

Sources:
Many authors and researchers in art education have written about the stages of artistic development.  Viktor Lowenfeld made many observations and described the stages in his book, Creative and Mental Growth.  The 4th  edition of Creative and Mental Growth by Viktor Lowenfeld and W. Lambert Brittain. 1964 includes a  summary with charts describing the development stages in Chapter 13. pages 395 to 402. Some of information at the top of this page is based on Lowenfeld's charts.