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Running head: ANALYSIS RESEARCH PAPER

Children’s Art Analysis Research Paper

Jennifer Garmon University of Missouri

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Children’s Art Analysis Research Paper “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind- creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people-artists, inventors, designers….” (Pink, 1). According to Daniel Pink the world we know today is changing and the more creative right brain thinkers are becoming more valuable. Being able to

analyze children’s’ art is an important skill for teachers in the future because those creative skills

are going to be more important in the real world. In order for teachers to be able to increase their students’ knowledge of art, they have to know where their students are developmentally. The purpose of this investigation is to begin getting the practice of analyzing student art work to gain a sense of where artistically, developmentally students stand and what further knowledge can be gained. The context of this research is simply obtaining a piece of children’s artwork to compare to stages and observe. There is no background knowledge of the artist at all. The first glance at the drawing leaves the impression that this student has artistic ability and is somewhere in the upper elementary range because of the complexity of the person and details.

Method

The participant was the child who completed the drawing. The identity and age of the child are unknown as this piece of artwork was obtained in a college classroom from the professor. I began with spending time observing the child’s drawing. After looking at the piece of art work I knew it had to be an older child because of the details and advancement of the artistic characteristics. It was not just a drawing of a stick figure, it was a person in decent proportion with human characteristics and drawn in motion doing a human activity. It is a simple picture but one with enough detail, such as precision in proportion, motion within the picture and the artistic ability to be that of an older student.

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This drawing is simple in the fact that there is little going on in the setting of the picture. It contains only a person in motion and a bat. There is no scene or other indication of setting other than a ground. When I first looked at the picture it kind of surprised me because it seemed so advanced in the way the person was drawn in motion in relationship to how simple the scene is. The person looks to be running up hill with only the bat around. The person is drawn with both hands and feet and correct body posture. The bat is drawn relative to the size of the person instead of being like younger artists who make everything the same size instead of considering how real life size looks. After determining it was an older child, I began to analyze the characteristics of the drawing. I compared the characteristics of the art to the Lowenfeld stages and first identified the most comparable stage by examining the examples of artwork to the child’s art (Lowenfeld, 51). Once I had identified the most comparable stage I begin looking at the characteristics of that stage and seeing which were true of this child’s drawing. By observing and noting the similar characteristics between the Lowenfeld stage and art of the child I was able to determine it is most fitting to Pseudo- Naturalistic Stage which includes ages twelve to fourteen years (Lowenfeld,

51).

ANALYSIS RESEARCH PAPER 3 This drawing is simple in the fact that there is little going

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Findings

This piece of artwork fits characteristics of Lowenfeld’s Pseudo- Naturalistic Stage (Lowenfeld, 51). The following are characteristics that group this piece of work into

Lowenfeld’s stage: The proportions of the person are relativity normal, not completely perfect

but the legs look supportive of the body. The face of the person seems to have some cartoonish features which may or may not have been on purpose. I cannot be sure whether it was intended or not but as a viewer the facial features seem more cartoonish than human. The facial expression is varied to match meaning. I am not sure what meaning the artist was trying to convey but there is a facial expression on the character instead of just a blank stare. There is action in the picture- The person looks to be running based on the placement of the arms and legs. There is an awareness of joints and body actions- this is a strong component of this picture.

The person is drawn with his knees bent and arms bent to imply that the person is running. The muscles and broad shoulders of the character seem a little exaggerated. The arms and shoulders are both quite large compared to the rest of the body. It is hard to tell whether these were emphasized on purpose or not. All of the above mentioned characteristics are part of

Lowenfeld’s stage (Lowenfeld, 51).

Not only does this drawing fit the Pseudo- Naturalistic Stage of Lowenfeld, it also meets criteria from The Board of Education of Baltimore County’s article Art Experience Develop Visual Perception. The picture displays the characteristic of “suggesting motion” (Art Experience, 56). The artist shows motion by the physical placement of the person’s arms and legs, and the increasing line of the ground. The line extends from the bottom of the page upwards towards the opposite corner and the person is placed along it. As advanced as this piece of drawing is, it is evident that the young artist still uses the beginning stages of artistic

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development within their work. In the basic scribbles chart, scribble number 4 is a single diagonal line- It appears that the person in this piece of drawing has eyes made out of the basic scribble number 4 (Kellogg, 40). As children progress through their art development stages, it is just building on their knowledge and combining characteristics of each stage. Just because a student moves to the next stage does not mean they lose the skills and techniques of the previous stage. This picture is a great example of that theory. The finding for this child means that they are doing well progressing through the stages. Not only are they are developing strong artistic skills, but they are ready to be challenged with more difficult tasks because they have met most of the criteria for the Pseudo- Naturalistic stage. As a classroom teacher, in order to encourage growth, I would need to allow more in depth and challenging artistic options. Offering an artistic way to present a project without strong artistic limitations, such as a visual representation on a poster instead of a written paper it would allow this child to continue to grow. Pink stated that the world is evolving towards right brain thinkers which mean that teachers need to prepare their students to think more creatively and artistically (Pink, 1). Students need the opportunity and freedom to explore their creative thinking outlets and without that opportunity students will not be prepared for the future career scene. This investigation has shown that as classroom teachers, we need to offer opportunities for artistic growth. The opportunities need to be offered in a variety of abilities because not all students develop artistically at the same pace. Projects that can incorporate a variety of artistic opportunities with varying levels of difficulty will allow the students extra chances to practice and become comfortable with art. Classroom teachers are not art teachers, so their job is not to teach artistic topics but to allow the chance to incorporate art into the normal classroom activities.

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References Art Experience Develop Visual Perception. Board of Education of Baltimore County, 1974. Pp.

6-9

Brittain, W.L. & V. Lowenfeld. (1970) Creative and Mental Growth. New York, NY. MacMillan Co. pgs 474-479.

Kellogg, R. (1970) “Analyzing Children’s Art”. Palo Alto, CA: National Press.

Pink, D. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York:

Riverhead Books.