Try to help children be happy artists

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Objects in nature have two similar sides when a line is drawn down the middle so the sides cover each other when folded in half.

That is one kind of symmetry. It is sometimes difficult and frustrating for children to draw those two sides free hand to their satisfaction.

One side is fatter or skinnier than the other and after a lot of erasing they are left with a paper whole and tears.

Adults can help by teaching children a few tricks with one of the most joyful symmetrical shapes — the heart. Fold a piece of paper exactly in half and crease it. Draw half a heart on the creased side of a paper so when they cut along the lines and open up the fold they will have a perfectly symmetrical heart. Children can use rounded nose scissors for safety. They can practice making fat, skinny, and little hearts to glue on cards, a string mobile, or trace onto a picture.

More symmetry

To make shamrocks you can follow the above procedure by drawing half a shamrock on a creased paper. However, there is another way. If you look at a shamrock you will notice it is really three identical hearts strategically placed on a chunky rectangle.

Again show children how to make three hearts with the symmetry — fold method. Then cut out one chunky rectangle and glue on the hearts.

Butterflies, other animals, space ships, crosses, and humans are symmetrical when observed from a certain angle. People can be drawn this symmetrical fold way by drawing half a person on a creased paper, cutting it out, and tracing the person on a picture. Snowflakes, however, are six sided and cannot be made from a simple folded square or rectangle.

The folding technique may help until their eye- hand coordination matures and objects turn out closer to the way they imagine–symmetrical. You have helped children get over a little developmental drawing bump..

Emberley rescues

Another suggestion, for a basic generic symmetrical human: draw an oval face, a little square neck, and a rectangle or trapezoid body. Draw four long rectangles for arms and legs, a left shoe oval slightly turned left and right shoe as a smaller oval shoe front. The hands have thumbs slightly pointed away from the fingers next to the legs while fingers tightly fit together.

Ed Emberley has more step by step drawing ideas in his books. He shows how to make people look like they are moving, too. Children can also experiment making the limbs bend by studying their action figures.

If your children are not frustrated or they don’t want to improve at this time let them be. Art should be joyful. For more ideas see, Learning Through the Seasons, Pinterest and Facebook.