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210 × 157 × 17 mm
192 pages
134 illustrations, 128 in colour
18 Jan 2021

Children Draw A Guide to Why, When and How Children Make Art Marilyn JS Goodman

Children Draw is a concise, richly illustrated book, aimed at parents and carers, that explores why children draw and the meaning and value of drawing for youngsters – from toddlers aged two to pre-adolescents aged twelve. Informed by psychology and practical teaching with children, it guides readers through the progressive stages and characteristics of drawing development as children grow and change mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and creatively. It offers parents tips about encouraging children to express their ideas visually, age-appropriate art materials, workspaces, and different media as well as suggestions for making an art museum visit more meaningful – not to mention more fun – for both parents and kids. Packed with many delightful examples of children’s art, Children Draw is an essential book for parents interested in their child’s art activities.

‘With a passion for the magic and importance of early childhood drawing and painting, Marilyn JS Goodman successfully demystifies this complex activity, essential to children’s development. Goodman’s wisdom and knowledge offers a concise and refreshing look into the history and meaning of children’s art making, tracking important age-appropriate developments through abundant illustrations and insightful observations. Children Draw is an essential guide for parents and caregivers seeking to support this vital component in their child’s creative learning.’ — Philip Matsikas, fine arts teacher, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago

‘Marilyn Goodman's love and respect for children is evident throughout this brilliant investigation of how and why children draw. As a working artist, an uncle, and a grown-up version of a boy who loved to make pictures, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any adult with a child in their life as well as anyone interested in drawing and the many ways it functions for children during the various stages of their development.’ — Alexander Stadler, author and illustrator of the Beverly Billingsly series, the Julian Rodriguez books, and several other books for children

‘Goodman’s delightfully illustrated and highly accessible text celebrates our imagination. In sharing her valuable insights, she reminds us that taking pencil to paper remains an essential human action. This book will help adults nurture a child’s personal development and expressive skills that will last their lifetime.’ — Erika Sanger, Executive Director, Museum Association of New York

‘Having enjoyed watching my children draw over the years, I found this book fascinating. Marilyn Goodman looks at each of the five stages in children‘s drawing development, explaining what is going on at each stage, such as how scribbling is primarily a physical enjoyment while making large muscle movements; when children discover they can transform a line into an enclosed shape; and why many pre-adolescent children feel more comfortable drawing anime characters.’ — Juno Magazine

‘This beautifully illustrated book by Marilyn JS Goodman, jam packed with real examples of children’s drawings, takes readers through the different stages of drawing from scribbling and basic human forms through to visual schema and realism. Each one illustrates the well-researched text exploring how drawing processes help children express themselves and make meaning in the world, with super insights into what’s going on, such as when children’s drawings are disturbing. The book is full of excellent ideas and guidance on how to enable the best drawing possible, including which tools, resources, environments, attitudes will either help or hinder your child’s drawing, and how your emotional or value judgements have an impact on the way children draw. Aimed at parents and teachers alike, this is an essential MUST-HAVE in your creative armoury.’ — Early Arts Magazine

‘Informed both by psychology and teaching, and aimed at parents and carers, this richly illustrated book is a fascinating exploration both of why children draw, and the meaning and value of drawing for young people. Some of the art examples are truly wonderful.’ — The Bookseller

‘Marilyn Goodman is an art and museum education specialist who . . . pays loving attention to children's artistic progression from those first scribbles, when primitive motor skills make holding the crayon a challenging task in itself, to the more elegant lines that appear to mimic ancient script . . . The heart of the book lies in its 134 illustrations, many in vivid colour. The heavily whiskered cat, the reclining dog, the family group seen from multiple perspectives, and the 'thought bubbles' emerging from those tadpole heads remind us why artists such as Paul Klee and Jackson Pollock were inspired by feelings, intellect and creativity apparent in children's drawing.’ — TLS

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Marilyn JS Goodman is an art and museum education specialist who has served as Director of Education for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her previous books include Learning Through Art (1999).


Decoding Children’s Drawing
A Bit of History, or Who Cared?
Why Do Kids Draw?
Understanding Growth
A Work of Art?
Disturbing Subject-matter
A Language of Symbols

Children’s Drawing Development
Developmental Stages in Children’s Artistic Expression
Stage 1: Scribbling
Stage 2: Basic Forms
Stage 3: Human Forms and Beginning Schemata
Stage 4: Development of a Visual Schema
Stage 5: Realism

Encouraging Your Child to Draw
Tools and Materials
Opportunity and Guidelines
The Good, the Bad and the Maybe
Pictures at an Exhibition

Works Cited