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A Childs Drawing Analysis Morgan Domijan University of Missouri, Columbia


Art allows students to communicate their emotions, feelings and thoughts through an expressive form. During significant experiences and stages, art gives students opportunities to openly express themselves. According to Erikson and Young (1996), childrens abilities to create drawings and to understand art develop in parallel fashion to changes in their cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth (p. 41). These stages that students pass through, allow teachers to better understand their students developmental thinking and learning. As a teacher, it is important to clearly notice that students are on their own individual level of learning and expression, allowing for teachers to teach effectively for students of all different stages. Learning about the different stages is interesting to find that students of a wide range of age can be in one stage of Lowenfeldian Stages. Lowenfeld and Brittain (1970) state that the Lowenfeldian Stages of Art are the Scribbling Stages (2-4years), Preschematic Stage (4-7 years), Schematic Stage (7-9 years), Gang Age (9-12 years), Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage (12-14 years), and Adolescent Art (14-17 years) (pg. 41). When assigned this task, we were to observe different pieces of artwork prepared by elementary students as future teachers. All of these pieces occurred throughout different stages and we were to distinguish what our assigned pieces fit in a specific stage. When differentiating between the different stages, there are many characteristics to take notice. Some characteristics to take notice include details of scribbles, lines, marks, shapes, space representation and human representation. Once the drawing was examined, we were to talk with a partner to discuss what stages the pieces are in. After conversing, it made it more transparent what stages our students were currently in. It was important to

A CHILDS DRAWING ANALYSIS take notice that not just because a student is a certain age, doesnt mean it is categorized in a certain stage. Finally, after analyzing my childs drawing, noticing all the important details, I realized the student was in the Schematic Stage (7-9 years). Description and Analysis

The students drawing is a simple drawing of what seems to be a man; however, it could also be an older version of himself. It appears to me that the child used either pencil or black colored pencil for the entire picture (see Figure 1 below). There were no other mediums used throughout the picture other than the pencil. The picture of the man is a more detailed drawing to a point where it is not a stick figure. Proportions are normal and there are details where you can tell it is a male figure rather than a female. For example, the student drew arm hair by lightly shading his arms. The man had broader shoulders and arms as well as a short haircut. The man has important characteristics including eyebrows, pupils, a nose with nostrils and a thick big smile. Moving onto even more details which stands out to me the most is the collar around the shirt. The student took extra time to make a pattern around the collar of the shirt that makes the shirt more masculine. When looking at the artwork, your eye is automatically drawn to the collar because of the added detail and extra work. Finally, there is no background in the picture. All that was drawn was the males upper body. An interesting concept that they artist decided to leave the lower half of the body out. However, because he did include all important details to the upper half of the body, his artwork still represents the Schematic stage. Lowenfeld and Brittains (1970) summary chart helps teachers understand that during the Schematic stage, the body is usually made up of geometric shapes and arms and legs show volume and are correctly placed(pg. 476).


Figure 1. Example drawing in Schematic Stage When deciding on what stage to categorize this students artwork into, I mainly looked at overall details that were listed above. At first I was torn between the Preschematic Stage and the Schematic Stage. However, after really taking a close look at the piece of art, I really noticed it being in the Schematic stage. According to Encyclopedia of Childrens Health the Schematic Stage includes (2014), Human figures having all necessary body parts. Arms and legs also fill out, instead of being stick-like. This is usually due to more body awareness and recognition of what body parts do (pg.

A CHILDS DRAWING ANALYSIS 1). This directly correlated with the students artwork because the artwork included necessary body parts in order to perform normal human everyday functions. The

Preschematic Stage mostly includes symbols and does not include the distinct details that are included in the Schematic Stage. Clearly in this students artwork, there are fully developed details that do not include just symbols or lines that have no significance. Conclusion Overall, Lowenfeldian Stages categorize students by their ability of drawing during a certain range of age, two through seventeen years. These stages allow teachers to understand where students are in their learning points. Art is a great form for students to express their feelings, emotions and thoughts. Depending on what stage they currently are in, they will express themselves through artwork using specific characteristics. However, it is important to understand that the stages are to be flexible and not a strict guideline that needs to be followed; the stages provide a frame of reference to make judgment how to encourage student learning (Luehrman and Unrath, 2006). This is crucial to take notice because there will be all different levels in your classroom. No matter how old or what stage students are currently in, knowing these certain stages will be important in order to modify and encourage students to create art however they interpret art. As a future teacher, it will be crucial to not only understand these different stages, but also take notice that these stages can help modify or customize my teaching.


References Encyclopedia of Childrens Health. (2012). Drawings. Retrieved from Erickson, M., & Young, B. (1996). What every educator should (but maybe doesnt) know. School Arts, 96(2), 40-42. Lowenfeld, V. & Brittain, W. L. (1970). Creative and mental growth. New York: Macmillan. Luehrman, M., & Unrath, K. (2006). Making theories of childrens artistic development meaningful for pre-service teachers. Art Education, 59(3), 6-12.