Drawing is a natural language and a thinking skill.

Everything you need to draw can be deconstructed into five basic shapes: a line, a square, a circle, a triangle and a «blob», says Dan Roam, author of “The Back of a Napkin”, a book about visual thinking with the focus on solving problems with pictures and drawings. 

Drawing is a natural process for children, it’s a form of communication and a way of expressing their feelings and understanding of the world around them. It is also the foundation path to writing skills. First, children start experimenting with drawing tools, randomly scribbling on paper while figuring out that their movements result in lines and scribbles. As they grow, these marks start taking on meaning. 

It is amazing to see the progress over time. When my daughter was three and a half, the moment when she managed to draw people was magical for both of us. At that time I had just read Chapter 2 of “Creative Confidence” by Tom Kelley and David Kelley about “Drawing Confidence” in which they explained in detail these drawing fundamentals and I was still caught by surprise.

My child at 3 years old drawing people for the first time © Clara Vieira, 2020

In fact, the growing control the child has over the muscles of the hands allows for them to move a marker or a pen with purpose and with a goal in mind. 

Overuse of technology is preventing children’s hand muscles from developing the strength and dexterity they need to be able to grip and hold a pencil correctly when they enter school. Holding a pencil correctly requires strong finger muscle control. Through playing and drawing, children are encouraged to develop the underlying foundation skills they will need later on in school, not only writing skills but also thinking and creativity skills.

Drawing is thinking 

Drawing is a natural language and a thinking skill. Children are innately unbiased and open-minded. They are always excited for a blank piece of paper to start drawing and expressing their feelings and to translate the world they experience. Drawing is a form of communication, a visual response to experiences which helps unleash creativity. Adults can gain valuable insights into children’s thoughts, fears and feelings through their drawings. When drawing, a child is faced with decision making and problem solving — which color should I use? How do I draw an unicorn? — To nurture and develop a drawing mind is a foundation of logical thinking, geometry and abstract thought which later on will help them understand difficult concepts.