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.

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