Every Child is an Artist
It all began with the cancellation of March Break, the rise of the pandemic in North America, and the inevitable end of the school year. Locked down, with nowhere to go, no one to see, and the world in turmoil, I – like millions of other parents – desperately searched for something to help occupy my child’s days and provide him with some connection to the world, some form of structured and engaging activity. Through my frantic searches I stumbled upon a post [on Facebook] by The Kennedy Center, advertising Lunch Doodles with Mo. It sounded perfect! Mo Willems is a favoured author and illustrator in our home, and I knew this would appeal to my little one. On Monday March 16, 2020 we sat down, with pencils, pencil crayons, erasers, paper, and an abundance of anticipation. We logged onto the website and participated in the first-ever Lunch Doodles with Mo. It was magical! From that moment on, my son was hooked. We spent 15 days drawing along with Mo Willems; and often for hours afterward my son would continue to draw – from Pigeon, Gerald, and Piggie to Times Square, Star Wars, and Back to the Future! It gave both of us something to look forward to, a connection to the world outside of our home, and an activity that was ours to share – just mommy and son.
When Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems ended, I again searched for something – anything – to continue our journey with drawing. I found a great book on Amazon entitled How to Draw Star Wars Using 5 Easy Shapes. This book teaches kids how to draw 25 different Star Wars characters using basic shapes that they already know how to draw – making it easy and fun for my son. We started following along, drawing Star Wars characters, and scenes from the movies. It was fun to do, but we were missing the engagement we enjoyed with Mo Willems. Drawing with an instruction book can feel lonely – isolating – which was what we were seeking relief from. We wanted a host, someone to share their stories, their characters, and provide us with an escape from the isolation we felt.
After searching around on the internet I found Draw with Rob – a series produced out of London, England. Rob Biddulph is a children’s author and illustrator who was unknown to myself and my son. We sat down, logged on, and we were immediately engaged. His lessons were simple to follow, fun to do, and always entertaining. We got to know his style, his humour, and best of all, his children’s books! He generously shared his time, characters, and passion for illustrating with his audience. We came to adore Rob. We followed his series each week, drawing and learning together for a little more than a year.
But, as all good things do, drawing with Rob came to an end. My child was not-so-little anymore, and encouraging him to draw has become a little more of a struggle. He’s back in school, he’s busy with other interests. He likes Pokemon, Minecraft, Star Wars, and Karate Kid. He’s a YouTuber now, busy with his own channel. He wants to film videos and post what he creates; therefore he doesn’t want to spend time drawing characters from children’s books. I was very reluctant – not at all ready to quit Draw with Rob – but my son was growing, changing, and evolving. I needed to support this – him – and so I searched again for tutorials that would interest him.
I landed on Art for Kids Hub. The Hubs are a Canadian family who draw together. They offer a wide variety of drawing tutorials for kids, many that capture my son’s own interests. And so, each Sunday my child and I sit and draw with Art for Kids Hub – Pokemon, Spongebob, Minecraft, Karate Kid … it’s been fun and I really hope to continue this art journey with my not-so-little son. I hope to hold his interest in art for just a little bit longer…
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
So, for more than 18 months and over 100 drawings later, we continue with our mommy and son Sunday art. Twenty minutes of just ‘us’ time. I won’t lie, it is getting more challenging to encourage my not-so-little one to sit and draw with mommy. I worry that this journey is coming to a end … and for that realization – that knowledge of how fleeting this time may be – I remain so grateful for the creative journey that I have taken with my child. I’ve watched him grow through his art. I’ve witnessed his changing interests, evolving style, and improved techniques. I watch the stories he tells through his drawings. He is gifted. Had it not been for the pandemic – the isolation, the lockdowns, and the school closures – would we have traversed on this creative endeavour together? Would he have grown into such a talented artist?
Every Child is an Artist. Published by Crystal Joy Hall