My daughter recently reached the last page of her journal. After a little over a year of once-a- week journal drawing, she has drawn her way through the entire journal. The journals are actually sketch books and once a week we set aside time to sit and free draw. My hope is to eventually follow the Waldorf method of drawing and form drawing once she reaches the appropriate age and to continue to set aside time for drawing.
Because my previous drawing post (Children's Developmental Stages of Art) is the most popular post on my entire blog, I thought I would share some photos and characteristics of drawing for 4/5 year olds, as found in the pages of my daughter's drawing journal.
The 5 year old child draws in the Preschematic Stage (this stage occurs between ages 3-7). The preschematic stage begins with the child having a conscious creation of form (around age 3) and the drawings at this stage are tangible records of the child's thinking process.
The first representational attempt in drawing at this stage (early in the stage) is the attempt of a person. The first person is in stick form, with a large head and lines extending out (the development of the sun and cross shapes in earlier drawing). This picture also shows the use of early emergent writing. During this stage, around age 4 and 5, the child begins to write letters. Mock letters are created and transform later to real letters. At times the child can be unaware of the creation of the letters. Typically the first letters are letters of his/her name or that of family members.
Later in the stage, the stick person is replaced with a geometric shaped body with arms and legs attached. Typical of the preschematic stage, this drawing shows how the child has not yet defined order in space with the use of a baseline. Drawings in the preschematic stage are not yet "grounded." The figures float in the space of the page. As the child continues to develop fine motor control, he/she adds more details to the drawings such as hands, fingers, eyes, mouth and other details. The child also draws what he/she views as most important about the object-hands, arms, hair, etc. In this drawing (my daughter drew herself and her father) it can also be noticed that my daughter has drawn herself larger than her daddy. In this drawing stage, the child will typically draw him/herself larger than others demonstrating the undeveloped understanding of size and dimension in drawing. In the study of child development, drawing the self larger displays a healthy view of development.
Also typical of the preschematic stage is the use of stacking. Shapes are found stacked one on top of the other. The use of color, at this stage, is used for enjoyment, creativity and emotional preference not based on logic.
During the preschematic stage a child also begins to color within lines. Because of evolving development more forms are found in drawings and symbols change as the child searches and develops new concepts.
As early emergent writing continues the child also creates "letter strings." Invented words consisting of clusters of letters together. At this stage the child sometimes asks "What did I write?"
This drawing (Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz) is one of the most recent. A trend that I've noticed as move closer to the Schematic Stage is occasional purpose in drawings. Sometimes my daughter draws with purpose, announcing "I'm going to draw...," while at other times it seems to be more of an expression than a thought. At this stage of drawing it is best to let the child decide what to draw. Given the tools to draw and freedom they will develop the skills naturally.
Looking back through these journal drawings it is exciting to see the change in development. Finding so much growth, emerging skills and creativity gives me a great appreciation for the young child's development. It is so easy to overlook their growth that having a visual reminder, like artwork, helps me to really see how quickly and naturally it can all take place.