Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

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Viliam
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Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

Post by Viliam » May 9th, 2018, 8:13 pm

Hi everyone! It's been 7 years since I last wrote here. :shock:

Many things have changed in my life; most importantly, now I have 2 daughters. The older one is three years old, and she is quite talented at drawing. Not just my parental bias; a child psychologist confirmed that she draws at a level of a 5 years old. And most people with little kids are shocked to see her drawings.

Didn't come as a big surprise: both me and my wife were good at drawing (relative to our peers) at the pre-school age. But later we didn't do anything about it, so these days our drawing skills are mediocre. I would love to provide our daughter support to do better than us. The problem is, having no formal artistic education myself, I don't know where to start, other than giving her the pencils and paper.

I remembered how much I enjoyed reading the artistic debates on the Wesnoth forum, and that I had big respect for the game art, so this felt like the natural place to ask:

As a parent, how can I best support my daughter (currently 3 years old) to fully develop her drawing skills? What resources or techniques would you recommend for a pre-school child? Any books or videos? What to focus on? In which order to teach the individual skills? etc.

I will provide some examples of her drawing in the following comment soon.

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Viliam
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Re: Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

Post by Viliam » May 9th, 2018, 9:16 pm

Okay, so here are some recent samples of my daughter's art: https://imgur.com/a/5lhnZ1V

Magnetic drawing board is an awesome toy! You can bring it anywhere, and you don't have to worry about the child drawing on furniture. :D I installed TuxPaint on a tablet, because using a mouse is too complicated for a 3 years old. Markers: Pencils: Yes, bunnies are very popular recently.

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Re: Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

Post by IIIO_METAL » June 13th, 2018, 6:36 am

Is your daughter happy just by drawing on 'Magnetic drawing board'? Drawing on walls and furniture is an exciting game, so I think that it can not be stopped so easily.
I am not a teacher so I do not know what to do best, but the most important thing is to like the act she draws.
Before teaching the technique you will experience the pleasure of painting. Praise her painting and it is good to have a good time by painting together.
Creator of "Mountain Witch" & "Castle of evil spirit"

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Re: Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

Post by KamovHelix » July 30th, 2018, 6:31 pm

This, first it should be a game, something fun, not a task. For example, my wife draws a lot and has a lot of talent, and she drew since she was a kid, but she had lessons later on in life.

When she was in kindergarten, her parents would praise her and buy her art supplies, and she'd draw by herself, when she wanted, how she wanted ; she started lessons later, at age 8, and it helped her a lot (it wouldn't help someone without talent, but will be extremely beneficial to a talented child), but earlier in her life, she'd have seen drawing lessons as a hassle and would likely have been annoyed by it more than anything.

It isn't the one and only example in the world, but that's how she did it, and it worked.

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Re: Teaching a 3 years old child to draw/paint better

Post by Dixie » August 2nd, 2018, 12:55 am

KamovHelix wrote:
July 30th, 2018, 6:31 pm
This, first it should be a game, something fun, not a task. For example, my wife draws a lot and has a lot of talent, and she drew since she was a kid, but she had lessons later on in life.
Very much this. Becoming "good" at something mostly only happen only if they find said activity to be fun. Don't set on a quest to make her "good", espiecally at pre-school ages. As someone having somewhat of a teaching background (although in vastly different contexts) I'll say this: generally with beginners, especially younger ones, you want to highlight what they do good. It can be very counter-intuitive because we are used our whole lives to point out mistakes to correct. And this is a very effective approach! But it can outright destroy the enjoyment of a young beginner. Leave the mistakes aside, overlook them, don't even think about mentioning them. Congratulate her for what she is doing well, edging her towards that subtly, making her feel proud and enjoying the activity more and more. If you mention mistakes too much, she will get the feeling she is not doing well and get discouraged or grow tired of it. You should probably stick to this approach until her teens, depending on her maturity.

That and supply her with lot of material to experiment, explore and enjoy. Give her room, give her freedom, let her have fun out of it and draw whatever she likes however she likes.

Be mindful that at these age, creative activities are mostly exploration, and it is normal. She is exploring the act of drawing, she is not drawing something specific. Something kids that age will say is "I'll know what it is when I'm finished". It's all about the act of drawing, not the result itself. It's all improvisation. I'm not a 100% sure what the next step is anymore (university was so long ago!) but it comes around 6-7 years old. There's another one around 9 but I don't remember exactly what changes anymore. I'ts now about the result maybe? Around early teens, if memory serves, it becomes about the opinion others have of the result. Of course ages are given as general ideas and depend on each child's development and maturity.

When she is a bit more mature and able to take criticism, you should always keep the following pointers in mind:
- If you are going to say something negative, sugar coat it! Always mention something she did good first, and also always say something she did good afterwards. It softens the blow and will keep her motivated.
- If applicable, try to limit your negative (or constructive ;) ) criticism to what was expected of her. Now I understand you are not going to be her teacher or anything like that, but say for exemple you got her working on a piece to experiment with colour, and afterwards you tell her something like "It's good but mind the proportions" or whatever, she will rightly feel discouraged. "What, so I worked so hard on colour and it didn't even get noticed, I just get negative feedback on something unrelated? Screw this!"

Hope it helps!
Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny - Frank Zappa
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