Whenever I started a new art class, I always gave my students one important rule: Have fun!
If you are a homeschooling mom or dad and are teaching art, this rule applies to you too. I see a lot of parents who become frustrated trying to teach art to their children. And one of the reasons, in my opinion, is that they’re not sure how to critique their child’s work.
After all, when your child brings you a piece of art that looks like it could be at home in the abstract art section of any art museum, and then asks if you like it, what do you say? This is particularly difficult when it’s obvious to your child that this is a picture of something.
Often, you find yourself standing there turning the picture in different directions, just trying to figure out what it is. And you diplomatically try to find a way to compliment your child’s masterpiece without revealing your ignorance of the subject matter.
You usually come out with something like, “Oh that’s so beautiful. It’s the best one of those you’ve ever done.”
If we’re lucky, our child accepts the praise and doesn’t ask the dreaded question, “But does it really look like a… (Fill in the blank)?”
If we’re unlucky, our child asks exactly that question. And then we squirm and try to figure out a nice way to critique the picture without hurting her feelings.
The question of whether to critique or not is a thorny one. If you’re going to teach art to your children sooner or later you are going to have to critique their work. But how do you do that when you’re not an artist yourself? More important, how do you critique a children’s artwork without hurting their feelings and discouraging them from even trying?
But before you even get to the matter of critique, you need to keep the number one rule in mind: Have fun.
I’m convinced that most children who quit drawing do so because it’s not fun anymore. Very young children love to draw and scribble and make enough paintings to plaster the average refrigerator several times over. But once those children get into elementary school and have to learn “art,” for many the fun goes away. Something that came naturally and was fun has now become work.
God made us in His image, and that means that creativity is part of our nature. When God finished His creation, he said, “It is very good.” Remember that when your child brings you a picture she’s drawn, she is feeling that same sense of satisfaction. In her eyes, it is very good. And that is not the time to enter into a discussion of the proper way to draw a horse (or whatever!).
The time for critique will come. But first comes the joy of creating something and delighting in that creation. Let them have fun.
By the way, are you having fun yet?
Take your art to the next level with See the Light videos:
Cartooning is a great way to have fun while drawing, and this stand-alone DVD from See the Light’s master artist, Pat Knepley, will challenge your creativity as you learn to draw cartoon vegetables, animals, people, and even create your own comic strips.
Looking for the digital download version? Go here!
This DVD is available for a limited time only, so grab it while you can!
The Basics of Drawing, will help your children hit the ground running as they learn the basics for creating a good drawing. Lessons include: Tools of the Trade, It all Starts with a Line, Contours & Composition, and Draw what You See. Also included, a bonus lesson: Chalk it Easy, with Gloria Kohlmann.