Topic | How did CM teach drawing?


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  • nerakr

    I posted a week or so ago asking about Draw Write Now. I’ve pretty much decided I don’t want to buy anything right now, other than art supplies, of course. I know CM included weekly drawing lessons as part of her curriculum, and my ds will need to know how to draw to keep his nature journal. How did CM teach children how to draw? Did she use a technique similar to how she taught penmanship-trace, copy, draw freehand? Any suggestions would be helpful.

    I’d like to know that answer to this as well.

    Maybe Drawing is just supposed to be one of those things that just gets better with practice? Let kids trace and free hand? I really have no idea, but I cant draw for anything!

    Sonya Shafer

    I haven’t done extensive research on this topic, but I do recall a passage in Volume 1, pages 312-314, that talks about Drawing Lessons and Clay Modeling. Here are my summary notes, but you’ll want to read the passage in full, I’m sure.

    • Give the child opportunity for both original illustrations and drawing what is seen.
    • For original illustrations (drawing from the imagination), you can give occasional help, but it’s generally best to leave children to themselves.
    • For drawing what is seen, emphasize the habit of observation. Limit your help at first to technical matters such as mixing colors of paint and such. Don’t impede his freedom by interfering too much, drawing guiding lines or points. Let him work in the easiest medium: paint brush or charcoal. Not lead pencils (interesting!) or boxes of cheap paints.
    • For clay modeling, put before him an apple, banana, or Brazil nut. Let him not squeeze a lump of clay into shape, but build up the shape he desires morsel by morsel.

    These guidelines were for six-year-old children and up.


    I’m asking about teaching a 5yo who still scribbles. We need to start with lines and shapes, using either crayons or colored pencils (not markers, since I don’t want his 19mo little sister getting hold of them). Any suggestions on getting started that won’t frustrate him?

    LOL 5 years old…I would say to give him some coloring pages of things that interest him. Just tell him to color inside and show him what you mean by inside. Ive also heard that letting them practice tracing is good. start with straight lines. Keep practicing short. Once better at straight lines move to squiggly and zig zag lines that make different patterns. Make them big so they are easy to follow and then allow them to get smaller. Then move to shapes. After shapes move to Outlines of animals or cars or things that interest him. This method will help them learn that motor control for drawing. But also give them pleanty of free drawing time. This age is actually easy because its really just developing the coordination to be able to draw. Developing the eye for drawing will come in time. Then you can use the methods above. I’m TERRIBLE at drawing but my husband is GREAT at it. My kids all seem to have that ability like him. Well my 8 year old has it and my 3 year old has it. He drew a picture of himself “following god” it was so funny! There was a circle for the head and squiggly lines for the arms and legs and hair. And a blob of sbribbles for God.

    Anyways, I’d say just do what you think will help him develope that coordination and not worry so much yet about the ability to draw.


    My boys have always enjoyed pastel chalks. They can draw with them and then use their fingers to mix colors and blend. I think using fingers has a benefit but you can direct him to use cotton balls or swabs if you prefer. It can get messy with fingers but they have a positive experience and I think that at the age your son is, that’s very important. Our sons are now 14, 12, and 10 and still enjoy this medium.

    You can try using paper towels or rubber erasers as well for the pastels. That way it doesn’t leave behind any residue as sometimes the cotton does.

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