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What we can learn from how young children make art

We may dismiss art by young children as not being very good, or not being worth much perhaps – they are just making a mess after all aren’t they?

But I believe that we can learn so much from HOW they make art that could really help us to reconnect with and free our own creativity.

Here are just a few things that I find inspiring about how children make art…

They don’t care about the end result – they might have an idea of what it is that they are trying to create, but ultimately they aren’t wedded to how it ends up looking.

Things don’t have to look real or be correct – young children aren’t concerned whether something looks accurate or is a replica of something. Partly because they aren’t really aware yet that what they have produced looks nothing like what is in front of them, but I also think that without them being aware of it they are interpreting and expressing what they see.

They just like to play – why not paint with your hands, mix loads of colours together, sprinkle glitter all over your painting? It is fun, it feels good, it looks sparkly – why not?

And they are really in touch with their curiosity – something as adults we aren’t as in touch with. Kids will see some paint and dunk their fingers in it and just see what happens – they learn through doing and trying.

It isn’t about producing one final perfect piece for them. Young kids, given lots of art materials and space, will keep knocking paintings out. They are in the flow, enjoying the process, and just having fun with it and not being precious about their work.

And hand in hand with this they don’t worry that they have done too many drawings or paintings or what they are going to do with them all afterwards!

All of this is in us – this inner creativity, curiosity, and ability to play – it is just for a lot of us we have forgotten how to access it, or are perhaps worried that it is childish to produce art in this way.

This painting is by my niece Tilly when she was 6 years old. I’ve had it on my studio door now for a few years as inspiration and a reminder to myself and my students that we all have this ability to be free with our art, it is just about tapping back into it.

If you would love to know more about how I can help you to free up your inner creativity, then do email me to find out more.

The benefits of getting out of your creative comfort zone

Stepping out of our comfort zone when it comes to making art is great for a few different reasons…

You can discover new ways of creating

Whether you are choosing to step out of your comfort zone by going to an art class you wouldn’t usually go to, or by trying out something new by yourself, you are guaranteed to learn something new that you can apply to your art.

It could be as simple as discovering a new colour combination or a different mark that you can make with your paintbrush, or as big as embracing a whole different subject matter that you would never normally attempt.

Plus you can discover what you like and don’t like

Art is so personal – we don’t all like to work in the same way and by getting out of your comfort zone you can really start to learn about what you do and don’t like. Obviously when we do something in our comfort zone we know we like this, but it is a bit like only ever eating in Italian restaurants and never trying Chinese, or Ethiopian or Mexican. There could be so many other things out there that you might like and enjoy. When it comes to art there are just to many exciting possibilities!

And it moves you art forward

It can be so easy to stay in the same place with your art – producing the same sort of art in the same sort of style. If you are happy making work in this way, then that is fab, but if there is a part of you that feels like you could be doing more with your art, that you would love to see what would happen if you tried to work bigger, or bolder, in a freer way or using more colour, then getting out of your comfort zone is the way forward. By trying new things your work will evolve and your own unique style with develop too.

What gets in the way of us getting out of our creative comfort zone?

You’d think if there were benefits to trying new things with our art, that we would do it a lot wouldn’t you? Hum – not that simple it turns out.

We stay in our comfort zone because it is just that – comfortable.

Sometimes it can feel when faced with the option to try something new, that we have an almost physical internal barrier stopping us. That is basically us getting in our own way. Trying something new is uncomfortable, it is going into the unknown and our inner critic will do everything it can to stop us from going there because it feels unsafe and scary.

But here is the thing – the reality is that with art, nothing bad can actually happen!

The worst that can possibly happen is that you end up with a painting or drawing you don’t like. Not all your artwork will be beautiful or aesthetically pleasing, in fact quite a lot of it you might feel is a bit rubbish, but that is all part of the creative process and it really isn’t all that bad.

Best case scenario you will produce some fantastic work and your art making will completely change as a result!

Once we can accept this – to let go of the outcome and just try things out – then it frees us up to really let go and experiment with our art.

Curious but not sure how to get started?

If you would like to get out of your creative comfort zone and to see where your art might take you as a result, but you find it hard to do this by yourself, then do email me to find out how I can help.