As art educators, we often get asked by parents and caregivers to comment on the artistic capability of their child. Time and time again, we hear questions like, ‘how are my child’s drawings compared to the other kids’? ‘Why won’t my child draw more realistically?’ ‘Is my child a good artist?‘
You may think we’re about to lay down some tell-tale signs to determining whether your little one is an artistic prodigy, but we’re going to help you discover so much more.
Art is for every child!
If your children show an interest in some form of art—which, let’s be honest, all children do—the most important thing you can do is nurture their development by equipping them with a toolbox of skills so they can test what works for them. Some great ways to develop those interests and skills include art classes, museums visits and plenty of blank sheets of paper! Additionally, supporting open-ended thinking and freedom of expression is critical, so it’s helpful to remind children, and sometimes even yourself, that there is no right or wrong when it comes to art.
For instance, urging children to draw a perfect circle or the most proportionate face tells them that there is only one right way, inhibiting them from finding creative solutions to express a range of ways. This creates anxious, in-the-box thinkers, but we believe in helping children to think outside the box! We want them to ask questions, find answers, then ask more question, and to feel comfortable and confident on the sometimes scary road to self-expression and imagination!
Here are some questions you might have:
Can I help my child by drawing something the right way on his/her artwork?
First, in order to allow them to feel ownership over their artwork, don’t make marks on their canvas; instead, use your own! Second, the way in which you help kids with their art should depend on their developmental stage. They may be ready to learn certain “rules” of art (i.e. perspective, realism, etc), or they may just want to move their arms around and scribble!
Shouldn’t my child know his colors/shapes by now?
A child’s ability to recognize colors and shapes often happens sooner than his/her ability to communicate. Just because they use the blue paint when you suggest the yellow doesn’t mean they don’t know the difference between the two. Remember, art is a great outlet to practice language skills, but isn’t always the right place to test objective knowledge!
If I praise my kids when they makes good art, won’t it motivate them to create more?
Possibly, but extrinsic motivation drives kids to seek more praise and approval, rather than explore their innate creativity and curiosity.
What qualifies as good art? Is my child a good artist?
We think that’s a qualitative question! Who gets to say what “good” is, anyway?? The real question should be, is my child a creative thinker and does he/she have a big tool box filled with age appropriate skills?
At Philly Art Center, our interest lies in the fundamental skills that specialized art education provides, and our aim is to develop thinkers, problem solvers, and creative members of the community through age-appropriate challenges and an emersion in the arts.
We also support each kiddo socially, cognitively, physically, and emotionally throughout the journey, because art has its benefits on every aspect of development—from communication and motor skills to conceptual analysis and self-expression. Through creative studio practice, artists gain confidence in their abilities to solve their own way over, through, or around a problem!