It’s not a Dog, it’s My Mommy: Tips for Drawing and Creating with Children

When you see a child’s drawing what do you notice, say or ask? 

Most times, as grown ups, we’ll label what we “think” the drawing / painting / sculpture / creation is that a child made. Or as children create, we will show them what whatever it is “should” look like. For example, take a star — we may show them. What would happen if we didn’t show them but see what kind of star they’d create based on their own observation and imagination? As opposed to getting a replica of the carbon copied four pointed star (as illustrated in the picture below) — we may just get something else more creative and out of the box way of seeing the world in which we live. 

The following are tips for making with children. 

  1. Don’t name it — ask open ended questions. Ask children to tell you the story of their picture / creation and write it down as they tell you the story of it. Ask them to describe it. Think of who, what, when, where, why and how questions. This shows you value their masterpieces as you actively listen and take notes about their work.
  2. Save their creations — save their work and bring it back out so they can add more detail to it or be inspired to make another part. Learn new terms like dip-tic, trip-tec etc. This helps children to work on a project over time and strengthens their attention to detail. 
  3. Display their work — at their eye level. If they want let them help you or even let them do it by themselves. This shows that you value their work without over empty praise such as always saying good job or it’s beautiful. The action of displaying their work whether on a shelf or on a wall says to children: “I value your work. You are a creator.” 

What ways do you inspire and encourage children’s creativity?  


Art’s Process: A Day of Becoming

“As an artist you don’t owe them an answer but as a leader, you do.” -Kanye West

Creating something —anything is an action of process and processing. A process of becoming and unbecoming again and again. Into the dark and out of it back into the light.

Putting something somewhere out there in the world doesn’t need an explanation just as your very life’s essence way of being doesn’t need one or permission to exist. Don’t ask permission, ask forgiveness. For some of use the mere art of living and being free is a revolutionary act of consciousness. In this act, it sets others free and on fire for something deeper than the surface. What you see is not necessarily what you get. When you’re zoning and in the zone it just comes to you this free fall form. Nothing else matters but seeing just how much of the universe is in you and how much you’re out there in the universe. Taking the bits and pieces and the parts and transforming it all back into a whole piece of art. 

That not everyone will understand.

Using subtle Imagery or even words both big and small brings bits and pieces of a whole together again. No longer ash but spirit. You may not have spirit without ash. Water without dirt or sand. Ever taste a piece or particle of a grain of sand? The texture is gritty which is what our bone is made of. We all become brittle bone, rock and grains of sand. Fragments. Texture and color which is art. We are art.

Children are works of art. Therefore, we are all God’s works of art. Masterpieces. I’m finding myself more in God’s hands than I’ve ever been. The prayers of my Mother. No one else could take the credit of a mother’s prayers. 

I remember the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep prayer. Each and every night. A prayer of peace, blessings and protection to all those we love. God is love. Found in a Tupac song. Found in a sip of water. Found in the whole. Found in the 1/2. Found in the bits and in the pieces. Fragments found in eternity put back together again. Found in Heaven. Even found in Hell.  So choose wisely.