Today, I would like to share with you why I absolutely love doing portraits as my first lesson with any children who comes to my studio.
As an adult, when we think of portraits we think of: difficult, tough and impossible.
As a child, when they think of portraits they think of: I need a round face, two eyes, a nose and a mouth. And some hair.
Notice how this all resides in the realm of thinking? For the adults, mostly words to describe pops up in our head first. (See why its harder for adults? We don't even attempt to construct, we get frightened by the task first! lol) For the child, the features required to construct the face pops up in their minds.
So the child finds a solution to the task by thinking of what he has on the face. Therefore, the first drawing is generally a function of the child's thoughts and mind. Simplified and without much concern for proportion. Most of the features are there to "stand in", and not as a result of their observation.
Yet the moment we begin to draw the child's attention to what they see, they shift naturally. And the best thing is there are so many features on our face to look at. Sometimes, the shift may just be in 1 or 2 features and that already makes a huge difference to the child's drawing. Enough to encourage them that hey! they can draw too!
[left] pre-drawing of Nathaniel (6 year-old)
[right] Self portrait after coaching
I love the direct feedback the children will get from looking a their own drawings that are so drastically different. I love it when the children smile with confidence. I love that they feel empowered through the session. I love that they feel fun, empowerment and energised by Art making.
That's why, I always always conduct this class for the children on their first Utter Studio visit.