Self-taught artists

My girls have always enjoyed art – drawing and doodling…. but the art classes I had signed them up in years ago weren’t that well received.

In their words: “The teachers are too strict – they made us color a certain way and draw in a style that aren’t our style! And Sam complained a lot. “And in animation class, they made me copy from the book. But all I wanted was to draw my pictures!” So that was the end of formal art classes for them but they continued to draw at home, in their own ways and in their own styles.

Amrita enjoys taking part in art competitions and over the years, she has won several prizes, including an Apply Mac notebook! This week, she won first prize in a ceramic design art contest which got her a big trophy and a mountain of colored pens! Her style is more designs of different patterns mashing up in lines and swirls. For the recent contest, she was the only contestant using only one color – black – to draw on a mug. The others had all kinds of colors which looked very pretty! Also her mug was an unusual design with a handle that is flatly curved. This gave her extra space to draw her designs on 🙂

Sam however, is sort of a reluctant artist. She draws according to inspiration, never on demand. This explains why she doesn’t do too well in competitions and eventually, she totally gave up on joining! Her forte is anime drawings. She has developed a unique style of her own by practicing and practicing over the years, first from copying from anime books, and eventually developing her own anime characters. Perhaps one day she will come up with he own anime story, like the Naruto series perhaps, which is her favorite!

As for Arian, he only started to doodle at age 7 – before that his drawings were rather, how should I put it….abstract? Let’s just say they were too abstract for us to comprehend but he was ever so eager to tell us the stories behind them! Through the encouragement and support of his sisters, he is finding enjoyment in doodling as a way to telling his many stories ( mainly action figures and characters from movies or cartoon series).

Our kids at CLiC are also self-taught “artists” – they enjoy drawing a lot but you wouldn’t find in them the conventional art that is rampantly found in many art centers in the country. These kids got their very first experience of what an art competition is like – they all signed up for a contest together, just for fun. But they soon realized that art competitions are serious business! The participants come fully equipped with foldable tables and “ammunition” – the 26, 36 and 64 colored pen sets! It can be quite intimidating for these newbies but luckily Amrita was there to give them moral support and encouragement.

Her advice to them: First of all, do not look at the others, unless you want to be scared out of your wits! Secondly, focus on what you want to draw – draw your favorite things and if you are satisfied with it, that is good enough. Lastly, do not be sad if you don’t win anything. Do it because you enjoy doing art – not because you want the prizes! Very sound advice from a first-prize winner!

At the recent solo exhibition by 6-year-old child prodigy Reese Matthew, the kids were deeply inspired by his line art drawings of buildings of various countries. They too, decided to do some drawings at the exhibition. We got them some art block and some colored pens and they sat down to draw. Some other kids saw them and decided to join in the fun! Here are their art pieces inspired by Reese:

So let kids explore art through their own eyes and hands. Allow them to develop their own styles so that they are not mere copies from mass production. Art needs to be unique and stand out and the only way to do this is to allow our children to be themselves! Now our girls are mulling the idea of organizing an art event for homeschoolers – a fun-filled, stress-free, non-competitive art event for the free-spirited unschoolers! Sounds like a great idea, don’t you think?

How can one not be inspired by children’s art? They are so unpretentious, so innocent, so pure!

Even children with autism can do really beautiful art! This piece was done by a boy with autism a few years ago. We purchased it at a fund-raiser for children with autism 🙂

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This entry was posted in Creativity, Homeschooling Kids, Thoughts and Ideas, Unschooling Lessons. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Self-taught artists

  1. Kevin Low says:

    AM become “mother hen” aka ‘tai-kah-che’ to the newbies!

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