Why Children’s Drawings Matter

Why Children’s Drawings Matter


this is a day when Bobby Kennedy took up his job at the Department of Justice in 1962 one of the first things he did was to redecorate his grand office with his children’s drawings he was a very strange thing to do for most of human history it’s been unthinkable that an important person would pin a picture by a six-year-old to the walls of their throne room art was meant to show command of technical skills and sensitive fidelity to the real appearance of things but now children’s drawings are everywhere on our fridges and the walls of our office cubicles what is it about children and their bold vivid and utterly wonky drawings that we now see special Meriton it’s not in fact strange that it’s this period of human history that’s been the first to get really interested in children’s art societies get sensitive to things that they’re missing we live in a world that demands enormous self-discipline and charity we’re surrounded by precision technology and massive stifling bureaucracies to survive at any degree of success in these conditions we have to be exceptionally controlled and cautious creatures we have to give up so much of what we knew in childhood just together so what we find in children’s drawings are bits of our previous personalities in exile tender playful imaginative bits that we’ve had a surrender to survive what’s great about children’s art is how inaccurate it tends to be a traditional assumption of drawing is that if you’re going to be good at it you have to look very carefully at what things actually look like but small children don’t give a damn they don’t try to look objectively at a tree or hands or legs the child is gleefully unconcerned as to the true facts of the world into the self conscious careful adult that you feel very liberating indeed children’s art provides an opportunity to remind ourselves about true means we need discipline and rationality no doubt but we also need play naive and creativity where we don’t need to give it down children’s art shouldn’t be just thought endearing it’s a map of how we should some time to remember to be you

100 thoughts on “Why Children’s Drawings Matter

  1. Another view: Maybe (I have no proof) it is only in this period of time that a specific set of drawing utilities is available to children. That is, PAPER: a lasting, portable and cheap surface. And varieties of PENS: uncomplicated and cheap devices suited for children's hands as well.

    Maybe then a lack of precision reflects only a lack of concentration, perception, skill and effort rather than a intended artistic expression. When I look at children's art I find that in most cases they draw an abstraction of things/scenes they've seen in everyday life like houses, the sun, people they know who are in a certain emotional state etc. Moreover often times children's art looks the same all over the world showing a similar set of artistic methods like e.g. an excessive use of personification by means of abstract faces.

    Maybe their described limits also limit their artistic expression. And so when we look at their drawings we don't see what inspires them and what they dream about but rather an refined version of their attempt to depict the reality they perceive.

    This would certainly not inspire me but I'd put their picture on the fridge door just to encourage them and give them a feedback that I support them. What really inspires me is when they grow up and refine their skills and become better and better until they able to express what they dreamed.

  2. reminds me of a bible verse, 'And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.' Mathew 18:3

  3. Like always, thoughtful and playful graphics, would be awesome if you could document the creative process of making your videos, .. and thank you to everyone involved with School of Life ..

  4. Personally I love the aesthetic of childrens drawings and as an artist myself, I partake in that "technique" very often- which translates into highly imaginative pieces that are a tinge darker and more complex.

  5. Do a video on " Why we hate responsibility?" I need some answers and opinions. It's not school work or that kind of stuff, i just want a bit of philosophy while i'll be modeling the back plating for my compressor and the wheel or will be writing my diploma.

  6. This reminds me of when I helped to lead the local Beavers group. I used to love hearing the kids talk about their drawings.

  7. I feel like people don't erect children's artwork because they like it, but because they are fond of the child who made it.

  8. All fair points but children are still really shit at drawing. Other people, like me for example, are much better.

  9. I love this video and the topic involved however the Foley and background noise was kind of high compared to the narrator's voice which makes it a little difficult to focus. keep up the good work however. 🙂

  10. Don't think I buy the argument, that these days children's drawings are cherished more than before (implied). Why would that be? Did people in the past not yearn for their worry-free childhood? People actually work fewer hours than they did some decades ago. We're just more easily distracted because of all the options for interruptions.

  11. I remember trying really hard to make something look realisticly as a child.
    Jou think all children draw stick figures because they like them so much or because they are so easy?
    You think they all like 2 dimensional stuff or they just cant draw 3d?

  12. There is a children's song by Australian children's entertainer Justine Clarke with a song about this exact topic called 'Painting a Picture' from her second album 'Songs to Make You Smile' (2008). I urge you to look this up and listen to the lyrics and it describes what is indeed fun about painting as picture as a child.

  13. I think this also covers the reason why adult coloring books have become to be such a great thing– it's another way to get back to a more creative, easygoing, childlike side of us that we've lost, or been forced to let go of.

  14. I always thought art is to provoke passion from the creator as well as the viewer. Children's art are so naive and creative, you might easily find multiple layer of meaning from it.

  15. I don't understand the morbidity of having to live vicariously through your child's art when you can run down to Michael's or Hobby Lobby and start doing your own. Depending on your children for emotional satisfaction is why so many of you become miserable yourselves. You are not suddenly fully developed just because you have children, but that kind of mentality is certainly why so many parents continue to act like high schoolers.

  16. No need for the crap in the background distracts from the message. your voice is more than good to get the message across.

  17. i am dead inside. i tell the kids life only gets worse, so enjoy it while you can. they called me grumpy, so i took a belt buckle across their skull and said ooh look, life just got worse.

  18. Well, at age 6 most children have developed their perception of "geometrical" world. The catch is that they still don't have enough motor skills to represent the world, thus leading the once beloved drawing habit into frustration. The book "Drawing with the right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards states that this is the main cause for children to abandon drawing at such age, and this is why most adults only draw like 6 year olds. Children draw with symbols, not geometry.

  19. But it isn't too late for us. We still have something from that child inside and there are many ways we can reconnect with our creativity, naivety and playfulness, . Here are some thoughts about where to start:
    1. I think we should fist learn to be really "compassionate" with ourselves, understanding why we ended up this way. It wasn't our fault after all. For most of us it began in school. There is an excellent and extremely funny TED Talk about this by Ken Robinson. It's called " Do schools kill creativity" . Here is the most beautiful story from that speech:

    "I heard a great story recently — I love telling it — of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was six, and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this girl hardly ever paid attention, and in this drawing lesson, she did. The teacher was fascinated. She went over to her, and she said, "What are you drawing?" And the girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God." And the teacher said, "But nobody knows what God looks like." And the girl said, "They will, in a minute."

    2. It would be so nice to have just a little bit of that girl's courage and confidence. Brene Brown's great book " Daring Greatly" is very helpful for that.

    3. There is a wonderful book by Stephen Fry called: "The Ode less traveled: Unlocking the Poet Within" There he teaches you how to write poetry! Why not? You don't have to show your poems to anybody, but it is so much fun. He is an excellent teacher and at the end of every chapter you get very clear instructions about what you should try. It really works and it is so much fun:-)

    4. Not being obsessed with perfectionism helps a lot too. Here is a great quote by Rebecca Solnit:
    " So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else, because perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it's also the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun".

    5. There is a very valuable book by Rollo May, called " The Courage to Create". Here I copied the information:

    What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life but the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and science derive from art forms, rather than the other way around? In this trenchant volume, Rollo May helps all of us find those creative impulses that, once liberated, offer new possibilities for achievement. A renowned therapist and inspiring guide, Dr. May draws on his experience to show how we can break out of old patterns in our lives. His insightful book offers us a way through our fears into a fully realized self.

    6. Another very good book I have read is called" Creative spirit". It is by Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufmann and Michael Ray.

    7. One very good way to reconnect with yourself and find joy in life again is to ask yourself: what did you enjoy the most as a child? In her wonderful book "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" Elisabeth Gilbert tells us the story of a friend of hers who began figure skating as an adult because that was what she loved the most back then. And she felt " alive" again!

    8. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow is also very helpful and interesting.

    9. Friends from Brasil: I would like to remind you of that wonderful song Aquarela by Toquinho!

  20. When i was a child i did care about how my drawings looked like compare to the actual object, and it still came out just as bad as the ones showed on the video.

  21. I sometimes ask myself that,but has there ever been someone who educated his children according to Voltaire's Emilio?

  22. Dear School of Life,
    I love your support of art, even children's art, but I was wondering if you could do a video in justification of new, contemporary art. The exploration of ideas that occur in materials and the creation of new, beautiful designs are aspects of contemporary art that the School of Life might be a proponent of. And how the support of arts is one ideal for society to strive for, one video and individual at a time.

  23. Almost 1 000 000 remarkable branches now extend out from the School Of Life tree. Congratulations in advance SOL for hitting such a milestone!

  24. Another great video. A true depiction of reality (as seen in adult painting) affords little for the imagination, whereas I find that children's work captures that balance of the familiar and unfamiliar that we look for.

  25. ard 1:00 How come you assume that everyone has difficulties 'adapting' to 'precision technologies' and has to 'control' oneself? For me it feels quite liberating that my peers display a high standard of professionalism.

  26. I'm a child and I care about shading, shape and to make it just look AWESOME! Go check my art out on my channel.

  27. 1:59 Very Egyptian style of fish. Similar examples are on the Narmer Palette and in the boat departure scene for the Punt narrative in Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el-Bahri. But are children’s drawings really inaccurate? Although playfulness is there and you can’t always tell in detail what’s represented, the drawings follow the same conventions adults use (with some allowance for bending the path of a river if it approaches the edge of the paper). Most adults do find it impossible to copy the techniques of children; motor maturity causes substantial changes in the way one holds a crayon.

  28. Is it normal that I've cried with this video and I felt like a children again at the same time? I don't have children. But this was such a nice feeling. I feel like this is the true base of art. It's so hard for me to explain how I felt seeing all these children drawings.

  29. This is an excellent theory; however, it is far more likely that the growth of children's art has more to do with an increase in child worship than it does a need for creativity or playfulness. Our entire society revolves around children. This is a relatively new idea and it would certainly explain why my co-worker's office looks like the set of a children's special.

  30. I think we keep those drawing to make our children that their work is not garbage and just because of their love. if I want to revise my childhood I will draw too.

  31. I used to draw demons and buildings burning and being attacked by aliens.

    What exactly does that mean?

  32. Children's art is extremely important. do you remember all the times you made up shit just to have fun? when you grow up, people pay less attention to you, so it's important to try and remind yourself that you're unique.

  33. The knuckling down I've had to start doing for A-level is what distilled my love for philosophy and not giving a damn. Whereas I can feel my personality being conformed by society i have my philosophical outlet where I can let my mind roam free and delve into the inner workings of conscience. If you feel any desire like that explained in this video then I urge you to look into philosophy

  34. why children drawings mater and not mine !! ? 🙁 i'm still just a child inside even if im 21 years old doesn't matter !!

  35. I was in art classes from the time I was 8 to 12. I was taught to look at things objectively, in relation to each other, about perspective and about shading and changes in value and our grades were based on how well we executed those things. It's made my drawing style a lot more stringent and less free than others. My art teachers in college had to have me draw more childlike and without looking at the paper. It was hard to get back to that free space but once I learned how to loosen up again, my drawing became so much more individual and natural.

  36. i used to draw alot of death a suicide drawing like my parents diying and the devil i dint even remember until my dad found a out notebook i used to draw in when i was young we where both shoked but i still remembered and explained alot of how my life looks i then burned the book -true story

  37. the same sort of thing happened with typography. all the way back to when writing was invented, nobody ever thought to use words on a page expressively until the futurist or surrealist movements in the early 1900s. it just seems so strange when you think about it, all the pieces were there but there was nobody around that could think outside the box just to have a word sideways on a page or whatever

  38. I think I mostly agree with children drawing with more "sincerity" or honesty, but I also think that adults look at the pictures through the ideals of childhood. They see the drawings honest, because it was drawn by a child. There is this general assumption that children don't want to lie in drawings, even though we know how early kids learn to manipulate adults 😉

  39. My drawings from when I was a child is the stuff of nightmares, I was particularly interested in the French revolution and the guillotine. 😀

  40. Kids are idiots, and their drawings look like crap. I'm not putting that retarded chicken scratch on my 'fridge… go back and do it again, till it looks good.

  41. My mom saved my shit in a box and put it in the garage everytime when i was small. When i got abit older she hung up 2 of the drawings she thought looked good.

  42. My art was never on the fridge and I'm pretty sure my mom threw away the art I gave her

    Jk, she has a whole damn giant bucket of drawings from when I was smol and up til now liekkk 10/10

  43. what an amazing and beautiful reflection. children's drawings are a reminder of our ability to be free and fragile.

    thanks School of Life.

  44. If your kid draws a picture of the whole family massacred and currently having his hand in the sliced open family pet in the drawing, he needs mental help.

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