Let's Draw!: a book for kids

I like to draw. I doodle all the time. I just jump in and do it.

But when L wants to draw, she's afraid to try. "I'll mess it up! It won't look right."

I worry this is my fault. Because she sees how quickly and easily I draw something and it looks like the thing (not to say it's an amazing drawing, just, you know - a horse with four legs and a head). I don't want her to be so afraid that it won't look right that she doesn't try.

Because honestly, drawings that don't look right, can still be full of so many good things that are so easily lost when you are pursuing a correct drawing.

Top: Mommy and Daddy 
kissing at their wedding
Bottom: Untitled
Because art is about so much more that representation. It's about play and process, looking and seeing and interacting, taking risks, moving things with your hands. It's a way of learning and engaging the world.

So what can you do?

I don't know if this is the right way to approach this only-sort-of-important-(but-really-maybe-very-important) matter of creativity to my kids. I was an art major, but I skipped all the art for children classes, so seriously - I don't know how to teach. But here's what I'm doing:

I made L a little art book with few words, and step by step pictures of how to draw basic things: a house, a dog, a bird, a girl, a giraffe, etc. I tried to keep the drawings simple and not at all fancy. I am hoping she'll see that simple shapes go together to make pictures, and that if she can draw these simple shapes (and she can), she can draw anything.

Of course, I also don't want her to think this is the "right way to draw a dog" and just copy it over and over. But I hope - hope - instead it will give her the confidence to put shapes together and make up her own pictures.

The book is more of a reference than a coloring book, so I also made her a blank book to go with it. I showed her how to follow the steps first, but then she did most of these drawings by herself while I chased her sister around the room. She added stairs to her house (so you can get from the door to the window), and connected the sidewalk to the road. She really took it as a prompt, and then didn't worry that it looked a little different from the book, which made me really proud (relieved). So far, I'd say it's going pretty well.

So tell me, (seriously, tell me!) are your kids afraid to draw?
How do you encourage pressure-free creativity?
Check out my book Let's Draw, and tell me if your kids like it.
(It'll be here until July 25th before moving to the shop, so get it now!)
You can find this book in the shop.
Stay tuned for a post on how I assemble my books. I appreciate your comments!

I've started sketching a few more drawing books to come over the next few weeks. Some animals, dinosaurs, and silly faces. Let me know if you have any requests!


Spangled said...

I really like your book! It reminds me of the Ed Emberley drawing books that I loved as a child. They use simple shapes to teach you how to draw things, and there are fun themes, like monsters!

Michelle M. said...

That is adorable! Thank you so much for this free printable!

Muireann said...

I don't have any kids, but look forward to printing this out for the kids I know! I hope Louise is drawing away!