Children's Drawings and the Developmental Artistic Characteristics.

Hurwitz and Day

Children's Drawings and the Developmental Artistic Characteristics:

Children's drawings are characterized with similar developmental stages among various peoples, and therefore, have gained an international feature (Kellogg 1967). The ability to form lines in order to reach figures resembling the real figure is one of the important symbolic activities that distinguish man from other living beings.

Lowenfeld's (1947) study was one that paved the way for the subsequent studies of children's art. He examined children's art in a consecutive way from birth till the age of seventeen years. He divided the children's art development into several stages as follows:
1. Scribbling Stage. (From birth-2 years approx.).
2. Manipulative Stage. (2-4 years approx.).
3. Pre-Schematic or Symbol Making Stage. (4-7 years approx.).
4. Schematic Stage. (7-9 years approx.).
5. Drawing Realism Stage. (9-11 years approx.).
6. Late Drawing Realism Stage. (11-13 years approx.).
7. Adolescent Stage. (13-18 years approx.).

Then came Mendelowitz (1953), who concluded a similar study for the children's drawings aged between 4-15 years. He defined those stages as follows:
1. Mark Making or Scribbling Stage. (4-6 years approx.).
2. Human Figure's Drawing Stage. (6-8 years approx.).
3. Geometric Drawing Stage. (9-12 years approx.).
4. Story Drawing/Graphic Narrative Stage. (After 12 years).

Read (1956) arranged the children's drawings of both sexes (genders) into twelve developmental stages as follows:
1. Organic.
2. Lyrical.
3. Impressionist.
4. Rhythmical Pattern.
5. Structural Form.
6. Geometric.
7. Habtic.
8. Expressionist.
9. Enumerative.
10. Decorative.
11. Romantic.
12. Literacy.

Kellogg (1969) presented another study through which she analyzed more than one hundred thousand drawings by children aged between two to four years. She concluded that a child begins drawing the first line through the pencil, then he continues on his practices and attempts until he becomes able to produce a complete drawing. She discovered through her analysis that there were 20 categories of scribbles drawn by the children. She summarized them into six main diagrams as follows:
1. The cross.
2. The square.
3. The circle (and oval).
4. The triangle.
5. Areas of unique forms (odd form).
6. The diametrical cross.

Betty Edwards (1979) defined the stages of the child art development into four main stages as follows:
1. Scribbling Stage. (2.5-3.5 years).
2. Formation of the Picture Stage. (3.5-5 years).
3. Complication Stage. (5-10 years).
4. Realism Stage. (10 years and above).

In a study conducted by Hurwitz and Day (1991)-(1st edition in 1958), they classified the developmental stages into three main stages:
1. Manipulative Stage. (2-5 years).
2. The Symbol Making Stage. (6-9 years).
3. Pre-adolescent Stage. (10-13 years).

The following experts are among many who showed a grave concern to study the children's drawings: Rhoda Kellogg (1965); Howard Gardner (1978); Brent and Marjorie Wilson (1979); Judith Burton (1980a), (1980b); Christine Thompson (1990) & Paul Duncum (1993).

In this study, aiming to observe the developmental artistic stages on art education subject, it seems necessary to collect and study some of the sketchbooks of students (preschool level, 4-6 years) who attend Saturday School at School of Art and Design/UIUC.
In order to have best analyses, we should give at first the characteristics of the developmental stage that these children pass through which is called here the pre-schematic stage.

The researcher has put some questions, which would help in better understanding this analytical study:
1. Are there any differences observed in the developmental characteristics among the drawings produced by children the ages of 4-6 years (preschool class)?
2. Are there any differences observed in the developmental characteristics among the boys and girls drawing in the same age group?
3. Are the art works of these children in agreement with the universal characteristics of children's drawings at this stage? 4. Are there any differences that could be noticed between those children's art works as some of these children represent different ethnic backgrounds (the cultural factor)?
The raw materials used to draw these art works are markers, and the paper's size is 8"x11" (white paper). The methodology adopted to study these works depends on studying the different symbols and subjects that children tend to draw, as well as to take into consideration the sequence of each child's drawings.

There are usually a number of factors which must be taken into consideration when analyzing children's works:
1. The innate (natural) features in the art works of the students.
2. The cultural and environmental impacts.
3. The interaction between the natural disposition and culture.
The natural factor is the main reason behind the similarity of children's drawings in general; it is something born naturally with the children in their ability to use their hands and minds to create a symbol. It can be defined in the age group between 4-6 years (kindergarten), which is called pre-schematic stage. On the other hand, the cultural and environmental factors lead to differences seen in the children's drawings. They contribute in shaping the personality of the child or student, and the formation of their art view and production. Finally, the interaction between the natural disposition and culture consider the bridge which connects between both of them.

The art expression of children is usually a mixture of both nature and culture especially after the children complete the scribble or mark making stage in their early childhood. Children of this stage concerned in this study are linked with the previous stage (mark making stage) in the natural characteristics of their art works as well as the next stage (schematic stage). Also, they are exposed to the surrounding cultural influences which appear in their art work. As the cultural values grows, the natural features in the children's art works tend to disappear.

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