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Children’s Drawing Analysis and Research Paper

Katie Knobloch

University of Missouri


















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Analyzing students’ work can be very helpful for teachers to be able to track
progress in their students. By looking at their drawings, teachers can see different stages
that students may be in, which can be helpful to guide their growth in art. Art is a way for
children to express themselves and let others see how they are thinking and feeling
visually. Looking at a child’s drawing and analyzing their details can help categorize the
stage they are in to guide their learning.
This drawing appears to be of a girl with a peace sign shirt with a multi-shaded
background. This piece left much imagination and interpretation to the viewer as the
background is somewhat unclear. After looking at the stages in the Lowenfeld article, the
artist was most likely between the Schematic and Gang stages and ranging in age
anywhere from 7-12 years old. Starting with the Schematic stage, we saw some repetition
in the peace signs in the girl’s shirt. The drawing is fairly flat having few curves to show
some real life attributes to the body and face, but with little real definition to the drawing
(Lowenfeld and Brittain, 476).
Looking next at the space representation aspect of this stage, the student does
have awareness of a baseline and uses shading to do so. Most objects in this picture are 2-
D with very little definition shown (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 476). However, while the
background cannot be easily determined, it does show understanding of what a real life
background may look how and how they may overlap other objects and have different
shadings.
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Lastly in the Schematic
stage, there is not much repetition,
which would be seen through
human representation.
(Lowenfeld and Brittain, 476).
The arms and legs of the individual
in this picture are correctly placed
and have some curve to them to
show volume. The girl’s facial
expressions also are semi-
exaggerated to show her happiness, which would also fit in the schematic stage.
In analyzing this portrait, many gang stage traits appear as well. Under drawing
characteristics, this picture shows a greater awareness of detail than ones presented in the
schematic stage (Lowenfeld and Brittain, 477). While some shading is seen in this
drawing, the intension of shade remains unclear and this student does not yet seem to
understand the purpose of shading. Overall, this shows that students are not defined in
one stage and often show qualities of both simultaneously
Space representation in the gang stage shows depth understanding just as the
overlapping objects such as the girl on the background and the baseline behind her head
show(Lowenfeld and Brittain, 477). As far as human figure representations, there is
progression in clothing detail with peace signs on the shirt and curves that
represent how an actual t-shirt might look verses a boxy representation of clothing
(Lowenfeld and Brittain, 477). However, we still see that this child has not
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completely mastered this stage by her lack of realistic body parts (Lowenfeld and
Brittain, 477). When you remove a body part, such as the eyes or nose, they become
just curved lines and lose their actual meaning. This artist shows progression from
geometric shapes in the schematic stage but does not see full realistic
representation. While this student does a good job of trying to mimic what a face
may look like with simple lines, she has not gotten to the point where enough detail
to mimic an actual human face.
While this student showed many characteristics of being in the Schematic stage,
her drawing overall look more advanced than the example ones. This is a great example
of showing that students’ drawing ability is a process and all about practice. Teachers
should use these stages to “flexibly reference as a general guide” keeping in mind that the
stages generalize student progression (Luehrman and Unrath, 8). With that being said,
each student progresses at their own rate through their artwork, just as they progress
individually in any subject they learn. “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but
these words can remain unsaid or misunderstood when adults do not attend to their
development” (Johnson,70). While it is not always easy to do so, teachers should do their
best to serve each individual student and cater to their specific needs.
Overall, being able to identify what stages students are in is important for both art
teachers and general education teachers as well. As more art and music programs are
being cut from in our schools, it is the teachers’ job to show that it is still important in our
students’ lives. By integrating art into the classroom, we are able to better educate
students and allow student’s who learn best through art to have an avenue for success.

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Works Cited
Lowenfeld,V., &Brittain, W.L. (1970). Creative and mental growth. New
York:MacMillan
Luehrman, M., & Unrath, K. (2006). Making theories of children’s artistic
development meaningful for pre-service teachers. Art Education, 59(3), 6-12.
Johnson, M.H. (2008). Developing verbal and visual literacy through
experiences in the visual arts. Young Children, 63(1),74-79