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3 Ways to Encourage Your Child Like a Pro Artist

By Alice Yoon

1. Avoid missing the point

Ever since mankind's first stroke on the cave wall, there's always a meaning, a story to be told behind every squiggly line. No matter the age, no matter the content, your child is trying to tell a story, even if it's a simple doodle.

So before you jump in to comment on the quality of their work, ask questions like, "Tell me about your work", "Do these shapes have names?", "Are they friends?", "Where are they come from?", "What are they going to do?". Even a simple "I don't know" from your child could really spark a further conversation down the track, that lead to possibilities.

This is a great opportunity for art to help your child exercise their writing skills. A child that feels accepted and listened to when describing about their artworks is a child who's confident about writing them down on paper.
Potato Chips, Acrylic on Paper, A4, May 2022, Isaac Yoon, Age 6, NZ. Class work from Art 301™

2. Remind Them The whisper lines

Remember the first time your child tries to button up a shirt, or zip up a jacket, their lips would move with their hands? That's how much they want to do well!

A simple illustration for an adult would be the first time you show up at a yoga or pilates class, you'd think moving a limb would be easy, but alas, while everyone else looked graceful you feel like a crane amongst angels! So you learnt, just because you can move your limbs, it doesn't mean you can master a form of exercise quickly without practice.

Similarly, just because making a mark with pencils is easy, it doesn't mean one can reach perfection quickly.

In art, when drawing a hard line with a lot of pressure would make it difficult to rub off, we call it 'Whisper Line'. We'd tease the students "Hey, the lines are whispering at you, I'm still here!". So be sure to try use light lines, this way, changing your mind of a line or a shape would be much easier!

Why not have a line competition while waiting for your coffee? See who draws the lightest line that doesn't whisper. Believe it or not, this simple exercise could benefit them well into senior levels for sketching and oil painting down the path.
Potato Chips Painting, Acrylic on Canvas, 91.4 x 121.9 cm, Sabino Caputo, USA

3. One Milestone at a Time

It's easy to point out all the unevenly painted area, but if your child is under the age of 9, and they barely paint at home for various reason, it's too much to ask them get things right the first time round!

Very often we meet young students with perfectly painted artworks from previous classes they took elsewhere, but when painting it independently in our class, they are frustrated that they can't paint it smooth. When asked then how did they paint so good in the works they showed us during admission, often it's because the work was a piece that depended heavily on tutor's help. 

Please remember painting is a skill, it can be achieved over time, so if your child is taking Art 101, 201 and 301, encourage them to keep the colours inside the shapes first before asking them why they aren't evenly painted. Set up a challenge by getting them to have at least 1 shape that keeps all the paint inside, the following week it can be 2 shapes and so on, and remember to celebrate it when they meet the goal!

Being able to paint inside the shapes is a significant milestone that you don't want to skip! It gives the students that much needed confidence to achieve the next goal- painting it evenly. And of course, all the clever tutors at AJ Studio are here eager to teach and guide you. 


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