Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The world and everything in it

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Children's Art by Miriam Lindstrom

A child may work on the development and elaboration of one or several of these symbols over a considerable length of time, covering sheets of paper with his many examples of the same subject or a jumbled assortment of several, along with some miscellaneous scribbling. At this stage a child’s picture often shows a collection of unrelated ideas, a sampling of many enterprises in formula making. These are all rapidly executed, not patiently toiled over, and each “picture” is finished within a very few minutes. (It is not uncommon, however, for a child younger than four, who does not yet make schemata, happily to scribble and scrawl in dreamy fashion for a long time on a single sheet of paper without feeling at any moment that he has “finished” his picture.)

Many four-year-olds and most five-year-olds have perfected to their own satisfaction, through such practice, a repertory of several symbols that they take pride in and that they can use readily and exactly. They often like to see these figures clearly and neatly set forth, one at a time, without irrelevant markings on the paper. The concept is definite, competently executed, and if they can draw the letters of their name as well, this is all that they feel belongs in their finished picture…

By six, children generally are ready to make a picture of anything that can be thought of, composing it with combinations of the schemata they command and creating new schemata as occasion requires, filling in with verbal narrative the action that is not clearly pictured. One little girl of six explained her picture of a confetti-dotted arc as “the world and everything in it.”

—Miriam Lindstrom, Children’s Art

Written by nevalalee

January 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

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