Children create art in a naive and wholesome way.
Instead of being burdened with information on color theory, artistic movements and technique, children draw, paint and color with wild abandon.
Here are some things we can learn from children’s artwork to become better artists.
Newness – Children are exploring their world and learning about everything in it. Life is fresh and new, and that mentality is reflected in their art. Children see the world with a fresh perspective, and basing your artwork on a child’s perspective can help you also look at the world from a new perspective.
Tip: Go to a new location to sketch, or look at something you’ve seen many times (like a building or favorite object) and draw it or paint it from a new perspective. Sit on the floor or the ground (or walk around on your knees) to see the world from a child’s point of view. If you can, talk to your child (or a child you know) about a certain topic, then create your piece based on their response.
Simplicity – All a child needs is a fresh sheet of paper and a new box of crayons to get inspired and create something wonderful. Simple really is best for kids, who aren’t picky about their medium or the products they use for their art.
Tip: When you’re feeling uninspired, go back to the basics. Grab a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper and see what you can create. Observe your child drawing and ask to draw with him or her. Even coloring in a coloring book can help you free your mind to think of ideas and inspire your own art.
Working outside the norm – From Sharpie on the wall to sidewalk chalk, kids crate in a variety of media. Kids almost never pass up the chance to create art with something new – in fact, it often inspires them even more than what they are used to using.
Tip: This one is simple; try something new. If you typically work with acrylics, use watercolor pencils, or if you sketch, paint instead. Learn a new trade, like computer design, or find a new subject matter. You probably won’t make a masterpiece on your first try, but you may learn to love it, or at the very least, learn to appreciate your chosen medium.
Have fun – For kids, the process of creating art is almost as much fun as the outcome. Art is about having a great time and expressing themselves – and sometimes, it’s about giving something handmade to mom and dad.
Tip: You became an artist for a reason. To discover the fun of creating artwork, write down a few things that remind you of why you became an artist in the first place. These could be people, places or feelings (like joy or happiness.) Take these and make a fun just-for-you piece and reflects the joy and fun of being an artist. When you’re done, the piece can serve as a reminder to always keep your artwork fun.
Access your imagination – Monster, dragons, princesses and unicorns all find a prime spot in children’s artwork. Kids have an innate ability to see the unseen due to their powerful imaginations.
Tip: Just because you’re a grownup doesn’t mean you don’t’ have a vivid imagination – it might just be repressed from years of growing up! Take inspiration from cartoons and fantasy movies, books or television shows. Read about dragons and princes rescuing princesses, or alien planets and their citizens, and then draw your interpretation of them. This can help you open your imagination and build your creativity.
About the Author: Greg Lewis has been writing freelance stories about artwork and Chicago Children’s Charities for more than a decade. When not working, Greg is either at home with his family or volunteering his time at a local children’s group.
PS. The children’s illustrations in this post were created by my children when they were little. My oldest son, Bret McNee is now a professional 3D artist!