The Art of the Child

Has your mother kept those boxes of your childhood drawings all these years? Or maybe, when you moved into your own home, she insisted you put them in your own attic. If you can find any of your childhood drawings at all, we'd like you to take a look at them now. So either climb up to your attic, call your mom, or head over to that storage locker and dig them out.

Joshua Nava

Spread your childhood artwork out and take a look at how your own drawing developed. Can you see where you moved from not worrying about what was correct to a more judgmental approach? What difference did it make in your work?

Okay, ready? Spread your drawings out and consider the following:

Can you see where, as a young child, you drew without particular regard for "correctness," and instead drew to tell a story or as a response to life?

Did you draw your family?

Can you pick out yourself in the drawings? In Lauren's, she always has long blonde hair, an interesting psychological point as she's always had brown hair—long, but definitely brown! Lisa always made her eyes very large, and it turns out they're not particularly big at all. So wishful thinking probably plays a part as well. Did you find drawings dating from when you were an older child? If so, can you see evidence of mounting frustration as you tried to draw complicated things or things in space or perspective? Can you see where you began to struggle for correctness to please the exacting left side of your brain?

If your mother wasn't a pack rat, try looking at the drawings of any child. What you'll notice is how the process of development is almost always the same. As the child grows older, his or her purely visual response to things is hampered by the ongoing demands of the left brain as language, identification, and exactness take over and pass judgment on the more intuitive right-brain responses, particularly drawing.

Here are two of Lauren's childhood drawings of her family.

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