Kids and Drawing, Episode One. “The Tree”

Posted by couchyadmin on Oct 22, 2015 in BLOG, Couchy Empire | No Comments

Kids and Drawing, Episode One.  “The Tree”

As parents, we know kids are supposed to draw.  It seems that is a prescribed kid-activity, right?  But really, WHY?  What is the benefit?  Are kids learning, or just “having fun”?  As someone who has taught a lot of drawing, I can recognize SO MANY different ways to look at drawing and define its benefits.


Because there are so many different benefits to drawing, I thought we could break it down and look at one type of drawing at a time.  Today, REMEMBERED AND OBSERVED DRAWING. Also, in the Spirit of Couchy, I thought it might be Fun to Do Something Fun, so if you are game, participate in this Fun Project.




This would be great to do with a child, but doing it on your own will also be helpful.


  1. Gather materials.  Colored pencils, paper, erasers, sharpener, hard surface to draw upon.


  1. Remember a special tree in your life.  It could be at a friend’s home, in your yard, or a tree from a great camping trip.  Can you see it in your mind?  Spend a moment really trying to SEE it.  Draw the tree!  This is your fabulous REMEMBERED TREE.


  1. Have a snack.  This is important.  Always remember snacks.


  1. Next, go outside. Find a tree.  Sit down, preferably quite close to the tree and observe.  Try to have your child sit a moment, just looking. Spend some time noticing all you can about the tree.


  1. Draw!  Encourage!  Another tree drawing!  Yes!


  1. Celebrate both drawings. Pin both up somewhere and shout “HORAH!” quite energetically.  One is not better than the other, they merely represent different mental and emotional workouts.



Ok!  Let’s break it down. Look at your Remembered Trees. What happened here in terms of drawing and benefit?  An act of intense visualization, remembered vision commanded that the brain cut through murkiness, filling in visual voids and clarifying point of view.  From a neurological point of view, you and your child exercised image recall, spatial awareness (how 3-d experiences translate into 2-d images) and a heavy dose of emotional coloring and processing.  All that needed to be translated into the language of marks on paper.  Phweewww!  No wonder you guys needed a snack!


Now, let’s look at the Observed Trees. Ask your child how it felt to draw this tree?  Different than the Remembered?  When people really try to draw what is in front of them, they commonly get either engrossed or tired.  Why?  Because this is HARD WORK.  Inside your heads, a myriad of mathematical calculations had to cook, big-time, especially if you were not directly in front of the tree, but a bit underneath.  Why?  Because now the tree could not be accessed as a SYMBOL, but was seen as literal mass in space.  The emotional meaning of the tree probably did not play as big a role as mathematical, spatial questions. The way the tree occupied space and the struggle to represent that on paper probably came to the fore. Where are the edges of vision?  How do I represent something overhead?  What about that limb coming right toward me, how on earth do I draw that?  AND I have to make my hands and fingers move in such a way as to create those marks?


The Observed Tree exercises skills of concentration and endurance, as well as stretching a person’s ability to fail and keep going.  Commonly, children (and more commonly, adults!) become frustrated with the quality of their observed drawing.  Drawing can be slow and demanding.  A typical artist makes lots and lots and lots of “mistakes”.  It is important to encourage and celebrate your child’s drawing!  It should not be “perfect.”  Slow.  Focused.  Accepting and even encouraging of failure, the practice of observational drawing is a great counterpoint to many other forces in contemporary children’s lives.


Again, both of these drawings really worked those brains, encouraging spatial understanding.  Fine motor control was used to express both physical form.  The Remembered Tree worked image recall and emotional tenor. The Observed tree demanded direct translation of 3-d space to 2-d space and stretched attention span and the ability to intensely concentrate.  Both of these types of drawing are true workouts!


So!  How about some drawings!!!!  Take some pix and shoot them my way!  We can post them on Couchy Empire and wow everyone!  Please include comments or suggestions!!