One lesson from our Drawing With Children studies that I'm really pleased to see Syd grasp is that copying is perfectly okay.
I don't think Drawing with Children specifically mentioned our exact method, but if Syd (Will still rarely chooses to create art, although she did some drawing as part of plans for a butterfly garden a few weeks ago, and was noticeably at ease with it) mentions wanting to draw something in particular, such as the horse that she requested last week, I encourage her to look through our large collection of coloring books and choose an appropriate image to copy. The clean, dark lines in coloring book drawings lend themselves really well to the methods that we've been learning.
Fortunately, we've got a few really good coloring books of horses, and they were enough inspiration for Syd to sit down several times over the course of a couple of days and complete not just one, but many very detailed drawings of horses. Here are some of them:
Just as Drawing with Children suggests, Syd copied what she needed to copy but used it creatively--in all these pieces, she copied the horse itself, but added everything else from her own imagination. I especially like the tack that she adds; because of horseback riding lessons, Syd was able to tell me every single piece of tack that she put on her horse drawings, how to put it on, and what it's used for. I love that you can also tell, just from her art, that she learns English, not Western, riding--can you see where she illustrates that?
I sometimes have doubts about the horseback riding lessons that the children take--they're so, so, SO expensive and must be budgeted for so carefully, and it's not as if the children really have many chances to ride outside of their classes--but the children love their lessons and love the horses that they ride, I can see that the riding is good for their bodies and their hearts, and it's a life skill that I hope will be always useful. Will occasionally speaks of when she'll be old enough to volunteer with PALS, and at Girl Scout camp orientation both kids carefully noted the children at the corral taking their riding tests in order to qualify for "wrangler" camp--next summer, that could be them, if they wish!
Their riding instructor and I have spoken several times about the possibility of offering Girl Scout workshops at PALS; the program head and I have spoken about offering ongoing homeschool classes; and the head instructor and I have spoken about starting a Pony Club that would be inclusive of both recreational and therapeutic riding students. I'm hopeful that in the near future, these expensive yet valuable horseback riding lessons can become part of a larger context of equine enrichment for the kids, and ideally also for a slew of brand-new horse-loving friends.