There are no shortage of practical books about art out there for children, but speaking as someone whose first love in art is drawing, I was curious to review Drawing Projects for Children by Paula Briggs, (published by Black Dog) as there are not so many which focus on the act of drawing itself.
This is not a book about ‘how to draw’ in the traditional sense, and is, I personally thought, all the better for it. Instead it is a truly creative book – the projects are aimed at encouraging children to explore different aspects of drawing for themselves – inviting them to think and create in different ways.
Well-structured, the introduction of the book includes notes about art materials, and is followed by some facilitator’s notes for parents or teachers (there are further facilitator’s notes added for some of the individual projects). There then follows a series of 10 simple warm up exercises devoted to different aims. So for example there are exercises in mark making, continuous line drawing, and activities aimed at encouraging children to work larger, or produce bolder or ‘stronger’ drawings.
The next section is the heart of the book where there are 26 drawing projects. These are unusual and imaginative, many of them with a fun element designed to appeal to children, while at the same time fulfilling a specific learning objective. There are projects which explore the properties of different art materials, and others which encourage children to ‘think differently’ founded on the author’s extensive experience of conducting drawing workshops with children of all ages.
Not just for teachers of art, the book could just as easily be used by parents who are interested in genuinely teaching their children some of the fundamentals of art practice – to explore, observe and be creative, and also by older children who already have an interest in art. One of the strengths of the book however is the range of projects which encourage collaboration, sharing or simply exploring and learning together. The activity from the book which we tried together (Drawing by Torchlight, which you can read about here) turned out to be quite successful on a number of different levels.
The book is lavishly illustrated and produced in paperback format, using quality paper, and at £14.95 I thought it was pretty good value for the quantity of inspiring material it contains.