Recently a friend attended a local free art class. The educator explained to the children that with the advent of cameras there was no need for realistic drawing any longer. What?? I am still trying to get over this! The point of drawing has much more to do with the development of the artist than it does with the specific drawing outcome (although, hopefully skills increase). I believe there is a place for "process art" and "interpretive art" but many of us have never received basic instruction in drawing. So, why draw in the age of cameras??
1. Drawing forces you to observe closely. This is something we want our children to do - drawing slows you down enough to actually do it.
2. Drawing encourages you to use a different part of your brain. Honestly, this is one reason I resist it. If you are an adult wanting to start out I recommend Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain or You Can Draw in 30 Days.
3. Drawing encourages a different kind of expression. Our children are constantly asked to use their words. Allowing them to use images, to draw, can be a helpful break. I am always amazed at the drawings my 1st graders do in Sunday School to go with the story we are telling.
4. Although doodling isn't quite drawing it can be very helpful to students. Doodling can help you focus and bring your thoughts together - it is not mindless and it isn't a distraction for many of us.
Resources to help with drawing:
Ed Emberly books are my favorite. They aren't "high end" but they help you break down an object into its shapes and parts. Each book has tons of different ideas for how to draw things.
If you want to join history and drawing you should check out the 8 book series Draw Write Now or the 5 book set Draw and Write Through History.
I have had more than one artist friend recommend Barry Stebbing's program. It focuses on color, art technique and the basics of shape and line. There are videos as well as drawing books to work through. It starts with young children and goes through high school. You won't find fun artsy activities - but you will find the basics art skills introduced and practiced.
Mark Kistler also has a variety of `books and videos available. You might remember him from his days on PBS. He also has a series of you tube videos you can watch.
Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes is used often. I had trouble actually implementing it but it is worth considering. Here is a series of blog posts that can help you use this approach more effectively.
Drawing is a way to observe, discover and enjoy life in a different way. I encourage you to take 15 minutes this week and try drawing something. Take time to notice its shape, texture, and lighting. Take time to slow down and observe with your child.