Tagged Art

Toddler Art (Toddler Lessons: Part Three)

256px-Claude_Monet,_Impression,_soleil_levant Part Three of my series in Toddler Lessons is Toddler Art.

 
Toddlers love art, and they have a surprisingly sophisticated grasp on a wide range of artistic styles and techniques. Here are ten, as demonstrated by toddler artists.

 
1. Abstract Art

(Art that is not representative of reality or recognisable images.)

 
Abstract art is the primary style of the toddler artist. That yellow squiggle represents ‘Mummy, a mermaid and my sandwich’, mostly because toddler artists feel compelled to give an answer when asked what their squiggle is a picture of. Toddlers actually take the concept of abstraction beyond the confines of art, and can often be seen applying it as a general approach to life, sometimes spending entire days at a time engaging in activities with no connection to reality.

 
2. Baroque

(An artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear detail to create grandeur, drama and tension.)

 
Toddlers usually work in the Baroque style when creating art on walls and furniture, using exaggerated motion and clear, grandiose scribbles to effectively create drama and tension when the masterpiece is discovered by a parent.

 
3. Composition

(The placement or arrangement of visual elements in a work of art.)

 
Toddler artists can be identified by their unique take on composition. Toddlers like to arrange all visual elements in their artwork on top of each other in a tiny space, not quite on the corner of the paper, leaving the rest of the page blank.

 
4. Surrealism

(Works feature an element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequiturs.)

 
Surrealism features very heavily in toddler artwork. Particularly when the artwork appears on the cat.

 
5. Colour Theory

(Guidance to colour mixing and the visual effects of a specific colour combination.)

 
In toddler art, colour theory is the belief that the visual effect of any piece of art can be substantially improved by the specific colour combination of liberally adding black over the top of everything else.

 
6. Portrait Painting

(Paintings intended to depict a human subject.)

 
Toddler portrait paintings are slightly different, being intended not so much to depict a human subject as to appear on a human subject.

 
7. Impressionism

(Focus on the impression created by the overall visual effects, instead of details.)

 
For toddlers, an impressionist work is a beautiful and intricate piece of art etched into the dining room table whilst the toddler was giving the impression of drawing on their paper.

 
8. Minimalism

(A style using pared-down design elements.)

 
Toddlers are minimalist geniuses, so much so that they can turn any piece of artwork into a minimalist masterpiece. A picture of a cat and some flowers, carefully drawn by Mummy for the toddler to colour in, for example, can be transformed into a minimalist study in blue, by the simple application of heavy and indiscriminate scribbling in blue crayon across the whole page. Such is a toddler’s commitment to minimalism that entire weeks can be spent agreeing to colour only in orange. The ultimate toddler exercise in minimalism is, of course, the careful colouring of a white sheet of paper in white crayon.

 
9. Expressionism

(Representation of the world from a subjective perspective, distorting it for emotional effect to evoke moods or ideas.)

 
Toddlers sometimes like to use expressionism to colour on baby siblings, representing the subjective perspective that it is highly amusing to colour on baby siblings, and evoking moods of annoyance (parents) and confusion (baby sibling), and the idea that all pens should be removed from the house.

 
10. Conceptual Art

(The idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work, over and above traditional aesthetic concerns. Conceptual art is said to question the nature of art.)

 
Like Tracey Emin’s work, much toddler art work leads firstly to confused whispering. ‘Is this art?’ ‘What is this meant to be?’ Followed by ultimately fruitless questioning of the artist, which leaves no one any the wiser. As conceptual art, toddler art is quite brilliant: the nature of art can consider itself questioned.

 
 

(Please Note: As always, no educational value should be inferred in the contents of this post. I don’t know a Monet from a Manet. Mind you, no one knows Monet from Manet, do they?)

 
 

You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series here.

How (Not) to Make Christmas (or Other Occasion) Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*

child-1016955_1280This simple tutorial (*this is not a tutorial*) contains all the instructions you need to create beautiful (*ahem*) handmade Christmas (or any other occasion) cards (*there will be no cards*) with very young children. Unlike most guides, I have included detailed instructions showing exactly what the children should be doing at each stage. This will ensure that there is no confusion as to when the crayons should be chewed, or the pictures torn up, thus allowing you to achieve a perfect result every time.

 
 
What you need:

White cardboard for pictures
Additional white cardboard for mistakes
Coloured cardboard for cards
Crayons in appropriate colours for pictures
Pencil
Pens for writing messages
Scissors
Double sided tape (of course)
Shoes
Coats
Pushchair

 
Note: This project does not require any sanity, so please do not worry if you don’t have any in the house.

 
 
What to do:

1. Draw some Christmas (or other occasion) pictures (such as, Christmas trees, Father Christmas, snowmen, or reindeer) on to pieces of white card. The children will colour these, and you will then cut them out and attach them to your cards to make Christmas scenes, decorated by the children, for your loved ones to treasure.

2. Give the children the pictures with appropriately coloured crayons. At this point, The Toddler should have a tantrum because she wants the crayons she has not been given. Specifically, she wants to colour Father Christmas purple.

3. The Toddler will quickly stop her tantrum upon realising that she can still colour everything inappropriate colours using the crayon choices she has been given. She will set about colouring her tree with the yellow crayon that was intended for the star on top. She doesn’t need it for the star. The star is brown. Because the tree trunk is pink.

4. The Baby should at this point start eating a crayon.

5. By now, The Toddler will have produced a beautiful piece of colouring. On the wrong side of the card. On the side that has the actual picture, there will be approximately two lines of colour.

6. The Baby should be colouring the table cloth red, having thrown her picture on the floor.

7. Resort to holding The Baby’s hand and ‘helping’ her crayon.

8. Take the above step to its logical conclusion by putting The Baby down with some toys away from the art, before returning to ‘helping’ her crayon on your own.

9. Reach a new low as you scribble some blue on to Father Christmas’ jacket and nose, having realised the one year old who has (not) coloured this picture probably wouldn’t neatly colour Father Christmas’ outfit in red.

10. The Toddler will have spent ten minutes carefully colouring her whole picture on white card using a white crayon. She will notice this has not been overly effective, and declare that the crayon is not working.

11. Attempt to hold The Toddler’s hand and ‘help’ her crayon. The Toddler should at this juncture have a meltdown, throw the crayons, and tear up the picture.

12. Draw a new picture on a fresh piece of card.

13. Agree that The Toddler can colour only the wrong side. In white crayon.

14. Relent and allow The Baby to resume participation in the colouring.

15. The Baby should be very excited by her return, and demonstrate this by scrunching up her picture.

16. Return The Baby to the toys.

17. You should by now have one partially coloured yellow and pink Christmas tree; one reindeer coloured entirely in white; one snowman not coloured at all, but with a Jackson Pollock-esque masterpiece on the reverse; and one quite well coloured Father Christmas, scrunched into a little ball. It has gone very well.

18. Fold your pieces of coloured card in half to make your cards.

19. You will now need to cut out your pictures to start making the Christmas scenes.

20. The Toddler should refuse to relinquish the pictures. She has not finished. She is just colouring all of the pictures, top to bottom, in black crayon.

21. At this point, you will all need to put on shoes and coats. Put the children into their pushchair, and walk to your nearest card shop. Buy Christmas cards.

 

(*Well, a two and a half year old toddler, and a one and a third year old toddler, to be more accurate)

Draw The Toddler

The Toddler has been drawing a lot lately. She’s moving beyond squiggles. Sometimes there are eyes. Sometimes they’re even on faces.

The Toddler likes cats. 90% of all requests for what she would like people to draw for her have always been cats. The other 10% have been penguins. Now she is drawing for herself, penguins are out, snowmen are in, apparently. Cats remain non-movers at the top of the charts.

The Toddler sits down next to Silly Mummy, ready to draw, yes, a cat. ‘You going to help me, Mum? Right then: let’s draw.’
The Toddler starts drawing her cat. Apparently, it is not going to plan.
‘That’s not a cat either. That’s a snowman. He got orange cheeks. He got big chins.’
The Toddler decides it is best to move on from the large chinned cat/snowman debacle, with no more said.
‘Let’s draw something else. I know: let’s draw The Toddler.’
The Toddler pauses momentarily in her plans to draw herself to address the cat.
‘You okay, Cat? You bit tired? Okay, you go to sleep then.’
Unsolicited sleeping advice given to the already sleeping cat, The Toddler returns to the matter at hand.
‘Okay, yes. Draw The Toddler.’ Unfortunately, The Toddler quickly comes up against an obstacle.
‘Can’t draw that one, Mum. That’s too hard.’
Well, self portraits are notoriously difficult to master. The Toddler quickly formulates a new plan.
‘Draw something else: The Toddler. Can’t draw that one. That’s hard work.’
Oops, turns out the new plan was the same as the old plan.

The Toddler is drawing again. This time avoiding the hard work of trying to draw herself, she announces, ‘I’m drawing a snowman.’ The Toddler is not happy with her drawing, however. It appears there is a problem: ‘That’s not a snowman, it’s a girl!’ The Silly Parents set about explaining that snow people can be girls. The Toddler is sceptical: ‘It’s not a snowman, it’s a girl! I draw a cat.’