Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Myth of Drawing Space

 Someone recently sent me a photo of blank paper framed out on a wall, hanging low enough for a child to draw on, and asked me what my thoughts were on the photo.  I wasn't sure what he was trying to ask, but another person chimed in with the opinion that it only encouraged children to draw on the wall, that it wasn't a "smart" idea at all.

Naturally I replied to this person, expressing that it is a great place to show a child where he or she CAN draw.  Frames are great boundaries for such a setting.  My challenger didn't seem to agree.  There was a written exchange back and forth, and our online conversation got me thinking about the myth of drawing space.  It really doesn't matter where you set up supplies for art to take place, what matters is that you show them where the physical boundaries are.  What matters is that there is something available for them to use.

Most people lay or roll out a piece of paper on a table.  I have never heard someone say, "that will just encourage children to draw on the table!"  I have seen dry erase boards stuck to the front of refrigerators, paper taped to the floor, hand held mirrors with a cup of markers near by..... many blank surfaces in interesting places, all used for creative inspiration.

What is it about walls that scare some people?  Is it the boundaries they portray, or the fact that they can be hard to clean?

What matters is that we acknowledge that children DO make mistakes when they accidentally get crayon where it shouldn't be, and children DO test our boundaries when they try a new surface to see how far they can go.  But I believe there are no artistic boundaries, and if we teach children what the physical boundaries are (when and where it is OK to draw), then WHERE EVER you lay that piece of paper SHOULDN'T matter! 

Share the interesting places you and your child draw!

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