Monday, January 24, 2011

How NOT to talk art with kids.

I still remember many years ago a very good friend of mine telling me how we should ask kids about their artwork. NEVER EVER ask a child “oh is this a *insert name of something that the drawing totally looks like here*”? Apparently nine times out of ten the child will think you are smoking crack and wonder how the heck you couldn’t possibly see that what you thought was a shark was actually two dogs fighting over a lollipop?

Last week I spent some time with the son of one of my very dear friends. He is just about the cutest five year old you’ll ever meet, and he LOVES to draw. So while I was trying to compose a speech that I left until the absolute last minute, I gave him some paper and a pen and asked him to draw me something. He set right to work. After about 15 minutes he told me he was done. This is what he came up with:

When I first looked at this, the paper was folded and he showed me the first item circled below.

“oh honey, that is just awesome” I said. “that is a great Angler fish”. He looked up at me with his big huge brown eyes and said “uh is NOT an angler fish. Can’t you see it is just a regular fish wearing a Santa hat?”. Oops. My bad. Never mind that Christmas has been over for a few weeks and my brain is totally out of holiday mode.

Ok, perhaps not totally out of holiday mode - it is the end of January and we still have our Christmas tree up. The tree decorations are put away, we just haven’t gotten around to taking the tree down yet.  Ken thinks it looks kinda nice in the living room. 

Then the little guy shows me this:

“Oh what a great birthday cake!” I said. Again, little beautiful brown eyes looks at me and says “It is NOT a birthday cake!!!”. Oh. I asked him what it was. He then told me that it was a jellyfish with gloves on. Sigh. Considering the theme of the art (sea life), I really should have known.  Perhaps I should do some drawings and see what they think I have drawn.  It really couldn't be much worse could it?

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