Friday, 20 January 2012

drawing, exploring images and finding ways to make your mark

"Children are sensitive to how materials ‘speak’.  While drawing is a form of thinking, it also involves responding to and exploring the language of materials.  Clear / fuzzy, strong / delicate, velvety / powdery, bold / spidery, dark / pale  - different kinds of lines influence how children draw.  Each material has its own character, its own range of possibilities... Drawing thrives when children can draw regularly and for as long as they like."
Ursula Kolbe, "It's Not A Bird Yet.  The drama of drawing".

I use drawing so much with groups that I work with.  It's such a powerful tool in reflection, gathering ideas, in communication and in making your voice heard.  There are so many gorgeous materials to use and so many rich surfaces on which to draw.  For children the language of drawing is endless and the purpose for drawing changes and develops all the time.  Children may express things such as movement through strong marks (I remember a wonderful drawing of a car which was all centred around the fast lines which depicted that childs ideas about the movement of cars).  Drawing materials can be so rich that a lot of drawing is connected to exploring this - maybe scratching and rubbing into oil pastels or enjoying the depth of darkness in charcoal...  

Children often communicate in such depth through their drawings - and, in turn, drawing is a powerful way to focus on other things (whilst we draw our thoughts sometimes wonder and enable us to assimilate other things).  Places and spaces for drawing are so important.  Opportunities for drawing alone and with others are vital.  For young children, having an adult draw alongisde you can be incredibly rich - if the adult is listening and enabling you to develop your ideas.   


Sometimes small people and creatures can explore drawings...  Sometimes pictures
are created specifically as a place for tiny figures to explore...  and
stories are created all the time as this happens...

With groups I frequently use other things to draw with - wool, sand, soil, water and so much more...  When you are free to arrange things and change your mind, then it opens up huge possibilities for creativity and ideas to flow.  When you can keep changing your mind it enables you to test out so many things - and to maybe link with other people around you.  I've seen so many wonderful ideas emerge from a class of children and a ball of wool...    (especially when you can work on big paper whilst music plays and you get cosy sitting or lying on the floor on big cushions...)

 “What can we learn if we open our eyes and ears, and challenge accepted notions about specific stages in children’s drawing?  What can we discover from close attention to children’s words, sounds and body language as well as their marks and images?

Children often use drawing as a powerful tool for thinking.  In different ways and at different rates, they develop a range of mark-making skills and strategies, and use drawing for various representational purposes in their quest to make sense of themselves and their world.

From birth, children are intent on learning about themselves and their world of people and things.  Their drive to engage with others is boundless.  Unceasingly curious and eager explorers, they use every possible means – and this of course includes us – to learn how to make sense of it all.

How might we respond to early mark-making?  What is there to see?  How can we show the same degree of interest that we show in realistic drawing?  We can begin with a look at the actual ‘doing’ – the movements, the vocal sounds, the sheer sensuous pleasure of playfully handling sheets of papers and markers.  And the utter surprise and delight in seeing what happens.

It may last only moments, but mark making involves more than just ‘making’:  it’s as much about perceiving and responding too."

Ursula Kolbe, "It's Not A Bird Yet. The drama of drawing".

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