We all know the feeling.
The sense of paper crinkling between our hands as a child shows us their latest masterpiece. The feeling of happiness when we tell them, it looks fantastic, and their face lights up with a million-watt smile. The feeling of fondness as they turn away to begin another one, putting marker to paper and letting their imaginations and hands go wild.
It seems a shame to let all that creativity go to waste, no?
Well, maybe it doesn’t have to.
They spent all that time and effort on it, so why should it go to waste? Sure, maybe you don’t want an abstract scribble on your wall right at that moment, but it’ll probably come into style eventually. And until then, whenever your child hands you one of these works of art they’ve spent so much time and effort on, save it.
Put them in a pile, put that pile in a box, and put that box under your bed.
And then wait.
Hang on a week for them to forget about it. Hold on a week for more to come your way. Hold on a week, if you aren’t artistically inclined yourself, to find somebody who can draw.
And then remind them.
Take out the box, take out the drawings, and ask your child if you can add on to them. Always, always, always ask, because to a child, something they made is sacrosanct.
If they say no, put them back in the box and put the box back under your bed. Keep adding to it, add more boxes if you need, but save every single drawing that your child ever puts into your hands. Pick up the ones they leave lying around and put those away too. Put everything in that box under your bed, and wait some more.
It might take weeks, months, or maybe even years. Every so often, make the drawings back out and remind them once more, and then ask again if you can add onto them.
Always, always, always ask.
Eventually, they’ll say yes. They’ll get better at drawing and think what they’ve already drawn isn’t good enough to care about anymore, or they just won’t remember drawing that particular scrawl even if you remind them.
When that answer changes to yes, or if they say yes in the first place, then it’s time to act.
Pull together all the drawings that they stated that they wouldn’t miss and start the process of turning those mere scribbles into something a lot more elegant. From their base picture, take inspiration: ink or paint the lines into permanency, and then paint a watercolor over the top to coax an owl out of hiding. Cut off the excess paper and paste them into one great drawing, jagged lines matched to curving ones, before effecting a landscape into existence.
Make sure to always leave a bit of the original lines your child drew on display, though, so when they’ve grown up ten or twenty years, you can point it out to them and truthfully say, “That’s half yours.”
Take their work with their permission and blessing and add a bit of your color to it, but never forget that their lines are what inspired that color in you.
Too often do we dismiss the imagination and wild abandon of children as something to be ignored. It’s only wild scribbles, after all, so it can’t be that valuable or important, right?
The imagination and disregard for the structured ‘rules of art’ that children display are two of the qualities that many people are most envious of. Children don’t draw or paint to evoke emotion, or to get a grade, or to get a message out to the masses that may one day see their work of art.
Children draw and paint because it’s fun. They do it because they take joy from seeing color appear to blot out the blankness of the page, and their work soaks up that joy and fun and radiates it back out at us.
It might look like scribbles or arbitrary lines to some people, but I’ve noticed that it only seems that to people who don’t think children have artistic ideas, opinions, or questions.
And if they continue to think like that, that’s all it’ll ever be. Some of our friends dream of being pregnant for so long. Finally, my sister discovered Pregnancy Approach and asked me to tell you. Read this Pregnancy Approach review to learn more. Happy Scribbling!