Monday, July 28, 2008

Keeping childrens artworks

Kids produce an enormous ammount of art. The stuff they bring from school plus the stuff they do at home quickly piles up into a mountain of paper and sculpture. I've been keeping a couple of plain scrapbooks, one for Isabelle and one for Stanley. All the special pictures go in there. Although I've found recently that if I keep going at this rate I'll end up with volumes of work!

I have two reasons for keeping a record of their artworks. Firstly I want them to be able, if they wish, to re-examine their creativity when they are older. If either of them decides to follow a creative path they'll have a reference of their own creativity to look through.

We often dismiss children's drawings as scribbles or label them "cute", but I believe that their drawings are full of the sort of freedom that as adults we so often lack. I know I often struggle to create something that comes purely on the spur of the moment and lacks any kind of desire to be a success at the end. So often when I draw I WANT the work to be a certain way when it's done. I sometimes find it difficult to just let go of it and create with a clear mind. I believe that's exactly what children do. They don't have preconceived ideas of what a princess on a horse should look like. They just go for it! Nor do they set out to create their artwork with a particular influence or style behind it.

Big bulgey horses body, then the legs, three wonky rectangles one skinny wobbly line, then the head, oops! no room for the head no problem the head will be disproportionally smaller and kind of to the side. It's great! I remember reading that Pablo Picasso strived to attain that kind of childish freedom of expression. I'm thus keeping my kids drawings so that perhaps one day if they need to they can see what they were like creatively when their minds were completely uncluttered by ideas of what's good and what's not. Don't get me wrong I'm not suggesting that every artist has no creative freedom just because they're an adult. Nor do I believe that everyone looses their freedom when they grow up. But I do believe that a lot of us are at least some of the time held back for many different reasons.

This brings me to the other reason of why I want to keep the kids artworks and that is so I myself can learn from them. I'm often amazed at the direction that their drawings take. The other day Isabelle was drawing a fairy princess. When she drew the dress she realised there was no room for the legs at the bottom of the page and so she drew them swung out to the side. Completely abstract but her fairy princess suddenly took on a marvellous joyous energy.

It showed me that she didn't think that a lack of paper should stop her completing her picture. She quickly found a way around a limitation and made the best of it. Heck she propably didn't even see it as a limitation.

So if you feel like keeping a record of your childrens artworks you can do so very easily. If you don't feel like doing the whole scrapbook thing; cutting, gluing, arranging, then just get yourself a large box. A3 size is best and start collecting! It's totally up to you what you decide to put in. No doubt when your child starts drawing you'll put everything in that box, and why not. After a while you'll find that your children will have some favourite drawings that they would like to keep. Or perhaps its a simple drawing with a lot of meaning behind it. Like expressing their emotion by use of pictures. You could add a note on the back describing what it is. If you're feeling particulary creative you could have a book made of their drawings. There are now bound books you can have made at photo developing places. You just hand in your images and they make a book for you bound and printed on high quality stock. I saw some very good ones at Harvey Norman.

I've just started a book of drawings for the kids. I will be adding to it periodically but the drawings will be scanned in with backgrounds cleaned up or background colours changed. I'd like to create a kind of fun illustrative work of their artworks. Here are the first few pages...

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