Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Drawing with Children: Draw Me a Lion

The kids are well-used to the instructional style in Drawing With Children by now, so it's a simple thing for them to get set up and settle down to a lesson.

In this lesson, we were to follow the author's written and illustrated instructions for drawing a simplified lion, and then place it into a scene of our choice, including embellishments and creative details, and filling the page.

Syd and I got started on the lesson first (Will was outside reading, but promised that she'd join us later). I gave Syd a photocopy of the completed lion to refer to, but asked her to listen to me read each step aloud before she began it:

I used the book, itself, for my drawing (which I can't believe I didn't get a photo of, as I was really pleased with it), and then Will came in, ready to draw, just as I was finishing the lion part, so I gave her the book to read as she drew, while I worked on my scene:

I can't get over how much Will's attitude has improved since we've begun these lessons. Before we started Drawing with Children, she rarely drew, and would readily tell us that Sydney was the "artist" and she wasn't. I just knew that if she kept that up, she'd stop drawing completely before too long, and grow up telling herself that she couldn't draw.

When we first started Drawing with Children, Will fought me over the lessons. She cried, she pouted, she didn't want to put forth any effort, and she had a terrible attitude. I made some modifications to the lessons (letting her read the instructions herself rather than listening to me read them, letting her start a drawing over when she thought she'd made a mistake rather than "making it work," etc.), but mostly just encouraged her and forbade her to judge or compare anyone's art.

Now, Will is happy to complete these lessons. She comes to the table without fuss, works contentedly and with focus, adds detail and embellishment to her work without having to be prompted, and is proud of the results. Below, for instance, she's created a stylized lion, in front of a background made to resemble zebra stripes:

Syd drew a realistic lion on a sunny savanna--the sun's direct rays are brighter than the blue sky background:

Will still doesn't do any drawing in her free time, but she will frequently paint on a Buddha board if I leave it out temptingly on the coffee table. As we move into a more casual spring and summer schedule, and as Will perhaps moves into a more kid-led, independent method of free schooling, I hope to strew more art activities of all kinds around her, and encourage her to once again become as comfortable with creating art as she was when she was just little.

P.S. After we've done our lessons, I like to check out others' experiences with the same lesson. Here are some other interesting takes on the lion lesson:


Tina said...

I am so happy to hear that Will is more comfortable with drawing. I remember growing up with the "label" of being the athletic one our of the three of us girls. I loved sports, but I also loved to color and draw, but that got squashed when my younger sister became "the artist" in the family.
Only took me 20+ years to get over it :0)

Great job to both girls on the lions!

julie said...

I was always labeled as "smart," and I was a bright child, but I was also never challenged in school--everything academic in grade school just came very easily to me.

So when I finally maxed out in college and needed to actually study and focus, I was shocked to realize that I had never learned any study skills. And they're still not great, alas.

Tina said...

Oh, I wish I could use that excuse! I was most definitily not labeled smart. I like to tell the hubby I am just smart enough to realize I should be smarter. I remember throwing a fit the first time I had to do a book report (I already hated reading, now I have to write a report about it too!!!). I ended up going to the opposite extreme and almost failed senior year because I spent the year reading everything the school (and public) library had to offer.

I am doing my best to keep all these negative connotations out of Emma's life. Of course, it helps if I don't grumble every time I have an assignment to do...


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