Why Kid's Drawings Suck

I recall fondly my first visit to the Best Page in the Universe, especially the thoughtful, damn funny critiques of children's artwork. I love children's artwork, all children draw the same way. It's one of those universal truths of human beings that goes beyond culture and boarders.

Unlike the shitty early vocabulary kids start with (most of the really young ones just sound like lobotomized chimps with down-syndrome anyway), kids drawings are waaaaay more effective in terms of helping kiddies to articulate their inner thoughts and emotions.

Sometimes the untamed honesty they scribble down can make you piss yourself with cynical laughter or, in some cases, even break your fuckin heart.

The dude in the top got hit with a fuckin Punji Spike Ball.

Apparently when it comes to drawing, kids go through three stages: Scribble, Line, and Observation - or more accurately: "Barfed on the page," followed by "Head with legs growing out of it," then finally "I guess that's supposed to be our house."

Mom's bush floated along with us while we looked for Jennifer's arms in the park.

For the first little bit, all kids can do is marvel at the fact that when they move their chubby little hand, the crayon leaves a snail trail on the page. Then around age 2-3 comes the revelation that somehow a crayon depiction of a lumpy potato with fifty needles stuck in it equals "cat!"

After that they basically get it down that people have a head, two arms, two legs and that elephants are bigger than dogs. This is usually when a lot of parents start with either "put down the crayons and get 'em on to spelling and math!" or start looking into fancy-ass private artsy preschools.

Actual excerpts from my own seventh-grade day planner, age 12.

Personally, I showed a lot of promise with social commentary and observational satire until I drank bleach out of the kitchen sink with a straw. Mom stopped calling poison control after that, guess she figured it was up to Darwin from there on out.

Anyway, now all I can draw is this fuckin peanut-shaped bird:

Fig 1a: North American AHH!! Bird.

When kids are a little older, between 4-7, they can really start jotting down how they see the world around them and where they fit in relation to Mom and Dad, plants and the Sponge Bob. Usually they start to turn out shit that A&E Biography later cites as a "sign he was going to eat people's faces."

Though, for the most part, kids will be drawing, not what they see, but more like how they feel about people and subjects. That's why trauma therapist usually give kids tons of paper and crayons to let them sort out shit they've gone through in an abusive home or try to understand major-scale tragedies like genocide and 9/11.

Breakfast was cold.

Kids can work through the really dark shit so they don't go all Lisbeth Salander on everybody. Even kids know unconsciously that certain colours can convey different emotions, it's one reason you don't see too many Tim Burton themed nurseries, although that would be pretty awesome.

Something to keep in mind when you see your kid reaching past the blue, yellow, and pink crayons and opting instead for a big black sharpie, is there may be more to it than chasing Huff, the marker dragon.

"One artist who studied cancer victims’ artwork discovered that in the days immediately preceding their deaths, these children drew in black." ~Dr. H’vovi Bhagwaga, www.hvovikesaath.com

Now that'll depress the shit outta anybody.

Don't get too concerned over a few creepy or violent drawings here and there, kids are impressionable and take everything so fucking personally that unless you've made a career out of studying children's psychology, your apt to make things more difficult for the kid when you try to explain why it's "bad" to draw, what the kid thought, was a pair of scissors.

Likewise I'd be more concerned about the parent who worries that, just cause their kid drew in black he's the next Charles Manson (which isn't saying much about their artistic ambition, his stuff his total crap) when black is all the crayon box in your gynecologist's waiting room had left.

Not scissors.

Don't worry either if they're drawing dicks allover the place since that might be a more accurate predictor of early comedy-genius as opposed to being into dudes. The best thing is probably to draw together with your kid, make it a fun activity and decode the things he or she want to express but don't have the tools yet to verbalize.

You'll likely enjoy it more than they do, and at least then if your ten year old draws a picture of his soft-ball coach playing a game called "lick the ice cream off the pink elephant," you know to get him the fuck outta that league.

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