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A Childs Drawing Analysis Research Paper

Ashley Andrews
University of Missouri


A Childs Drawing Analysis

There are many different stages that children go through when developing their artistic
ability. Just like stages in other subjects these stages help shape the artwork that the children will
produce. Reiterating the importance of art education, William Bennett states that The arts are an
essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmeticmusic, dance, painting,
and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.
Lowenfeld is a well-known art advocate; he believes that children progress through stages in
their artwork in predictable ways. The Scribbling stage includes the beginning years of selfexpression (often solely scribbles), this is from ages 2-4. The next stage referred to, as the
Preschematic stage is where the first visual representational attempts occur, occurring from ages
4-7. Following the Preschematic stage is the Schematic stage. In the Schematic stage the
children begin to achieve the form of concept. It is this stage where human or animal figures
begin to appear. This stage occurs from ages 9-12. The next stage, the Gang Age is where
drawings of realistic objects occur and children are ages 9-12 years old. The Psuedo-Naturalist
stage is where the age of reasoning begins, at this point; children are able to understand more
what to draw and why they are drawing these things. Children in the stage are typically ages 1214. The final stage according to Lowenfeld and Brittains stages is Adolescent Art. By this stage
the children are grown up and becoming mature artists. This occurs between the ages of 14-17
years old. (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 47-50).
According to Lowenfeld and Brittain (1970), childrens ability in art changes along with
their cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth. Like each student, each stage is different.
These stages are a basic framework for growth within the student and can change just like


developmental milestones for children in these stages can change and vary. Using Lowenfeld and
Brittains stages of artistic development, I will examine the students artwork and determine what
stage he or she is in. The childs artwork is attached in Figure I below.
Description and Analysis
The artwork provided by this student is made up of many different lines often referred to
as scribbles. According to Kellogg (1970) there are 20 basic scribbles that are the building blocks
for drawing and make up artwork. In this drawing there are many different examples of scribble
5, scribble 10, scribble 11, scribble 15 and scribble 18. Kellogg (1970) describes these scribbles
being important because they permit a detailed and comprehensive description of the work in
young children (p, 40). In this picture the child used 5 different colors. There are a few small red
scribbles along with one circular yellow scribble. Also included in this drawing there is a main
focus on the large green curricular scribble located in the middle of the page and the purple
scribble located in the top right corner. The rest of the page is filled with overlapping black lines
and scribbles.

Figure 1. Example drawing in The Scribbling Stage


After studying this piece of artwork, I have come to the conclusion that this student is in
the Scribbling Stage. This is the stage that occurs from two to four year of age. Many different
aspects of this picture provide evidence for why the child is currently in the Scribbling Stage.
The chart composed by Lowenfeld and Brittain (1970) includes the characteristics that are seen
within the artwork. Besides the fact that this child is in the Scribbling Stage, I believe he or she
is showing disordered scribbling. Characteristics of disordered scribbling include scribbles
beyond the paper, ignoring previous marks made on the paper, and no attempts of human
representation (47). These characteristics are very evident in this drawing. The student draws
over previous scribbles drawn multiple times. Students in this stage also have a hard time
staying within the given paper. There are lines that look as if they were done in one movement
and go directly off of the edges. Also, there seems to be nothing in the pieces that has a human
or animal representation. The student was scribbling without any effort to draw something
recognizable. More than likely this student was grasping the crayon with his or her whole hand
and maybe even was looking away while scribbling, showing more characteristics of the random
scribble stage.
To help with the students growth in art, at this stage it will be very useful to ask the
student questions about their picture. Ask them the story behind it. Pink states stories are
important cognitive events, for the encapsulate, into on compact package, information,
knowledge, context and emotion(p,103). This is true among all ages. Stories are so important in
the art world because they make the child or artist step back and think about what they designed,
see the importance of the piece and see if there is a story behind what they created.


It is very important as a teacher to have a lot of knowledge in art education. Students can
benefit from art in many different ways and art is something that can be integrated into all
subjects in the classroom. Without being able to require that art education is taught as a separate
subject in school, it is up to us as teachers to help incorporate it. Erickson and Young said it
perfectly, We need to develop simple explanation of our goals and achievements, and we need
to take every opportunity to share these with colleagues, administrators and parents.When we
recognize the profound artistic and visual illiteracy of many adults in our communities, we can
begin to plan effective strategies to gain first their understanding and then their support (p, 37).
Art education is something that, with knowledge, can change the students way of thinking.


Erickson, M., & Young, B. (1996). What every educator should ( but maybe doesnt)

Know . School Arts, 96 (2)

Lowenfeld, V., & Brittain, W. L. (1970). Creative and mental growth. New York:
Pink, D. H. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future.
New York, NY: Riverhead Books
Bennett, W. (n.d.). Useful Quotes for Arts Advocates. National Performing Arts
Convention. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from