"Often, as well-meaning adults, when we see a drawing like the one shown here, we might offer to show the child the "right" way to draw a person. When we show them how it should look, we may be stunting a child's ability to learn. By "correcting" them and showing them how to draw something, we are both discouraging them and preventing them from learning how good observation is learned. Children may become very frustrated when they reach the next developmental stage. They may wish they could draw more realistically, but not knowing how to practice effectively, they may mistakenly assume that they are too young or not talented enough to learn it. If they do ask for help, many adults give them the wrong kinds of help. As they get older, they begin to compare with others and mistakenly believe that they lack talent while others seem more gifted in drawing. They give up because they see others who appear to do better. This is so common that art educators refer to this as the "crisis of confidence".
It has been my experience as a teacher and as a young art student that inadvertent negativity can shut down motivation quickly. Whenever a student expresses interest in drawing, I move in and try to engage them in what intents them. We have our own collection of taxidermy specimens, bones, and other natural objects just for the purpose of observational drawing. My goal is to maintain internal motivation and to teach students that drawing is a skill, that when practiced yields results. Drawing realistically is not rocket science. It just takes exposure to a few fundamental principles, lots of practice and patience. Over the years, I've worked with students who excel in their drawing ability and it is clear that they spend much more time than is ever possible in our art class working on their own skills at home. They draw a lot. They draw continuously because they are self-motivated. Hopefully, after our adventure to the Fairbanks Museum, our students will experience some success and pleasure and continue to draw on their own. We will make journals this week and students will be encouraged to take them home over the summer and fill them up. There will be more pictures to come next week.