We are learning Art!

Most of us are used to the idea that we need to attend lessons to pick up a skill. Maybe it's in our culture or a mindset, that we can only learn from an expert or someone who is trained formally in that skill.

Ever since I became a full time mom, the mindset has changed and I have proven to myself that it is possible to pick up a skill without formalised lessons. I have taught myself cooking and sewing all through recipes and the sewing tutorials available from the internet.

This time, I am taking on another challenge. Teaching Kyle art, while also learning art at the same time. I took art for my O levels, but had very little interest in Still Art, which to me, was the dullest technique that I have learnt through through an art education. Maybe I am just bias towards classical art, or simply have little interest towards it.

It would have been a totally different story, if I read children art books from Laurence Anholt, Katie Series of books from James Mayhew; exploring artists from the Italian Renaissance to Post-Impressionism. Classic art appreciation did not quite happen for me until I became a young adult. Even till today, my preference for art strays far away from classical art, looking at my choice of art prints around the house.

To get our art journey started. I got a couple of children's books with the theme of encouraging creativity in art.

Top L-R  The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, Ish by Peter H. Reynolds, The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola, The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and Lines that Wriggle by Candace Whitman


Art is really all about the process and not the product. But it is hard to get a 4 year old to understand it. Kyle has been doing alot of open ended art with different mediums since turning 18 months old, but he has always been not too enthusiastic about the product he creates. So to help build his confidence and fan the interest towards arts, I went with a different strategy to get him to enourage his exploration of art.

He created these pieces with little encouragement needed and willingly sat through 2 full hours of drawing and colouring! It really amazes me how interest can encourage his attention span towards the activity.

The technique I used was to scaffold the learning, breaking up the shapes and the details of the picture step by step. This way, it makes it easy for him to follow and adapt his own preferences into the picture.

Since we have started on this method, he has been asking to draw every evening, and have asked to do more art activities. So I think it's time to re-introduce new open ended art experiences :), before embarking on some classical art exposure. From there, with the exposure, it will help to develop his preferences for art in general.


As for my art experiences so far, my preferences lean towards illustration. I have been squeezing whatever time I can find to doodle and colour into my sketch book. Learning slowly from japanese doodle illustration books, a doodle at a time.

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  1. Those books look interesting! I shall keep an eye out for them at NLB. Thanks!
    .-= Sam´s last blog ..Carnivorous Food =-.

    You are welcome Sam…those are great books for kids!

  2. Hi Rachel, Tks for leaving a comment on my blog, and I’m really glad as i then came to your blog and chanced upon this post. After MO WILLEMS, am constantly looking out for gd children’s book for my girls. Ive only managed to find ‘the pencil’ and ‘not a box’, and ‘the pencil’ has been 1 of my girls favorite reads for the past evenings since we borrowed frm nlb.

    Just to add, i’ve also tried your technique of breaking up an item for my 5 yr old girl to learn to draw and I think it’s really helpful, especially when I think she lacks some visual talent. Good way to start her some independent drawing.

    Btw, liked your doodling! Tks for sharing!

    Hi Orangtul, thanks for coming by my blog. Glad to hear that your girls’ love the books…Kyle found ‘The Pencil’ very entertaining as well. Great that this method is also beneficial for your girl..I think it’s really good way to help them build more confidence in their drawing and in turn, they will be more encouraged to draw.

    That’s my very first attempt at doodling…hehe…wish I have more time to do more doodles, but I think I have too many craft interests at this point in time…really need to be more focused.

  3. oooh!!! I just borrowed the ‘Not a stick’ book recently! Have been meaning to use it for some art-lit lesson but haven’t gotten round to it.

    Love the way you simplify and teach him. But I’ve been in two minds about this – will it stiffle a child’s creativity? And give him too much template? Or does it empower him to reconstruct other subjects since he now understands how to look at an object, and deconstruct into the basic geometric shapes etc?
    Sarah´s last blog post ..WYSIWYG Wednesday: Piet Mondrian Math & Art

    Rachel Reply:

    An experience that I recently had with K actually refutes this concern u have. Showing him examples have successfully opened the door for his own creations very interestingly. Initially I had the same concerned, but after reading up a couple of books on EC on teaching children art who have addressed this concern, and trying it out and seeing the responses from K..have shown that techniques like that have inspired the child to create more rather than stifle his creativity