A new book from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and the University of Miami and National Endowment for the Arts is aiming to help you learn to draw.
The book, Drawing and Writing: Principles of Drawing in Children Through Preschool, Kids and Teens, was launched in June with the hopes of helping students learn to make more effective, complex and realistic images of objects and figures. Its authors, Laura L. Martin and David W. Oakes, recommend a combination of exercises and formal methods for learning to draw through the ages.
While many parents have heard the stories of their children being left behind by their friends or classmates who can draw pictures that look great, there has been a disconnect between educators’ expectations of children and their ability to actually draw. Drawing is now an important part of the school curriculum, according to the book.
Martin and Oakes also recommend using a two-dimensional drawing and a two-dimensional story to encourage the reader’s ability to form and manipulate shapes and lines. Using a combination of word-and-picture prompts, the authors ask students to create a picture — or stories — about what they have and what they want.
The book also includes drawings that students made based on word fragments.
“A lot of times it’s easier for parents to say the word than it is to actually draw something,” Martin said, “and I think we think of kids drawing to solve problems and solve difficulties in their lives.” But drawings are the real solution to most creative problems, she added.
Drawing is a skill that can be taught at any age, said Maryanne Demas-Rosen, a senior professor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Education.
“Even though there are some children who are a little slow or are more focused, in general, there will be lots of other kinds of children who are fine with doing this at a young age because it’s such a natural way of engaging,” said Demas-Rosen, who has done a book on preschoolers and toddlers in general.
The book and videos are aimed at elementary schools but can be used as needed by younger grades, she said. Demas-Rosen said she is working with teachers and academics to find resources and to share some of her research.
“I think this book is going to be a tremendous resource for parents of preschoolers,” she added.
In addition to drawing in preschool, Martin and Oakes recommend “p
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