• Issue: January 1973
  • Plate no.: 375
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

A child begins scribbling at the age of two and his scribbles slowly acquire rhythm and form. By the age of four-and-a-half, some children begin to draw recognizable objects. With the physical and mental development of the child, the drawings become more and more concrete until the child reaches puberty, when he attempts to draw like an adult. In most cases, however, artistic maturity is not achieved before the age of 18 or more. What are these drawings? Can these scribblings be called works of art? It is only in the last hundred years that interest has been shown in children's art. Prior to that, children's drawings were considered either as scribbles or as naive, half-baked works. In the past, adults tried to push the child towards "realistic", "adult" drawings and did not appreciate his truly childish works. The change in attitude came about at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries when artists suddenly discovered in children's drawings a power of expression, a lively sense of color and originality of style. These same naive children's drawings became objects of the artists' admiration and even a cause of envy, while on more than one occasion they were the source of inspiration of adult works. Furthermore, psychologists and educators began to understand that through drawing, the child understands and controls his world while giving vent to feelings which he cannot express in any other way. Thus the creative process is of prime importance in the normal development of the child, and if we force him to draw in a style which is alien to him, we succeed only in confusing him and disturbing his normal development.

Both of these attitudes led to a change in the evaluation of children's drawings. The educators began to see in these works the sincere, honest expression of the child's ideas and feelings while the artists valued them as works of art in their own right.

But are they really works of art? A child's creative process is not the same as that of the mature artist. The child works instinctively and intuitively, while the grown artist controls his intuition and is fully aware why he works in the manner he has chosen. From this point of view, therefore, there is a real difference between their respective works. Nevertheless, many children, out of pure intuition and without any help or direction, produce patterns harmonizing perfectly with their chosen medium to create compositions pleasing to the eye and which, in the majority of cases, surprise the viewer by their originality of expression. This phenomenon is to be found in many children as early as the age of three and continues until they reach ten. After that age, we find children becoming more and more aware of the problems of form and color, and then adult art, together with the cultural environment in which they find themselves, begins to influence their work. There are those artists who claim that the child then "becomes spoiled," but we must remember that this is all part of the child's normal development.

We see, therefore, that children's drawings can be defined as works of art - an art which is special to children all over the world.

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Children's Drawings