I think that at the age of 5 a learn to draw book might be a bit much. I think a book will make it like a chore. just give them some crayons and paper, maybe even some finger paints, and let them have at it. It doesnt matter if the kid can draw well at 5 only that they are having fun. there will be plenty of time to criticize proportions and perspective when they are 7
I draw a lot with my cousin (he’s now 7). I’ve been drawing with him since he was 3. At such a young age, I think kids need to just be encouraged, not taught. They can pick things up pretty well through osmosis, and I know that’s how I learned when I was a kid, drawing with an older neighbor. Just drawing together, they’ll pick up on things you are doing. No need to “teach”, but you doing some simple drawing exercises will help.
Draw stuff from real life, have a sketch day at a museum. Draw something on request. My little cousin has already somehow picked up perspective and draws planes and trains in orthographic projection (top view, side view, front view). Plus he’s now doing callouts and different viewpoints (ant view, bird view) and action lines showing movement. Have no idea where he’s getting it from
I’ve never been too big a fan of most drawing books from kids. They just show shortcuts (ie. draw three circles, then connect them with lines to make a bird), and encourage copying and drawing by rote, not real sketching or thinking of the “why”. I’m sure there must be better books out there, but I’ve never seen any.
Best you can do is just encourage. I buy my cousin a moleskin notebook and some professional drawing tools every year for his birthday. I think he likes how I take drawing seriously and for fun, not just like most adults who give kids a crayon to shut them up.
Another exercise I like to do with kids is to do drawing storytelling. Simple sideview drawings that I just makeup while telling a story. Ie. There is a car, that has a robot arm attached… it is made to lift up an elephant, to help it escape from the zoo…meanwhile, a plane is flying by with a giant ladder attached …
(all while simply illustrating what I’m saying. Makes no sense but shows drawing as a way of thinking and is really fun, plus they can add things in at any time since the drawing is so simple and it’s not about making serious art so there is no intimidation).
I think this is a good way to go. I should’ve said that she really responds to a structured environment, so I thought a book would be the way to go. Also she really enjoys a reading program call “Reading Eggs” http://readingeggs.com.au/ which is self-paced, she does it when she feels like it, so it is fun rather than a chore- I’d like to foster her drawing in the same way.
She does this at childcare with a whiteboard- lots of opportunity to rub out the picture of the fairy WHEN THE DINOSAUR CAME HOME!! and so on.
I had a long talk about kids and teaching the other day. On one hand it would be great to teach your child everything you know, on the other hand you will bypass the child’s own natural learning process.
There might be avenues they pursue that are important in their overall development. By teaching them too early you can bypass that. For instance, he natural jump from stick figures to the use of simple geometric shapes.
Is it better to let the child learn by observation on his own or to show him that you can use rectangles or triangles etc. to build the shapes??
Also, what is the age where you intervene? I’m self taught by books and videos but learned to draw very well on my own. I always wonder what I would draw like if I took classes as a kid.
I wish I could remember some of the names of the drawing books I liked as a young’un. One of my favorites was Ed Emberly’s “Make a World”. I liked the intense visual richness of the pages. Yes, it was rather formulaic, but it showed another way to do things, in little doodles, with a lot of the ‘storytelling’ like rk describes.
Drawing books don’t necessarily have to stunt a kid’s creativity. I was very interested in drawing as a kid, considered it part of my identity, and dove into everything related to drawing. This was in the age range 4-8. I think just as we find it helpful to look at portfolios, presentations, processes, and other’s work, kids can get inspiration and ideas from good drawing books.
As long as there isn’t a “right-way” to do things, kids can expand their minds with what is possible and become even more psyched to draw, by looking at good books or references.
I used to think that all kids need is crayons and encouragement but they get really frustrated if their drawings don’t come out right. In the art center where I teach kids really love those how to draw books, where they copy each step until they get a satisfactory result.