The Drawing Book for and with Amie

Stella by Mama (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

Watching this video of Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on education and creativity at TED – hilarious, insightful, engaging and (ringing) so true – and reacquainting myself with Danny Gregory’s website and books on drawing, I realized there was a gap in my approach to art and creativity with Amie.

When she draws or paints and asks me to draw something too, I always respectfully decline for several reasons. I don’t want to influence her lines with my perception of things, I don’t want to impose my sense of realism on her, and in the end I like to have a drawing that is wholly hers.

But then how will she see a drawing being made?


So I’ve instated another book: the story/drawing/scrap book. It is a sturdy receptacle of stories told and pictures drawn by Amie, spontaneously or when asked. And every other day, I sit down, right there next to her or nearby (“what’re you doin’ Mama?”) and draw something in it.

I copy something from her favorite picture book of the moment, or I draw an object in the room or something imaginary. When she asks, I explain to her what I’m drawing, and let her watch me make lines and add color. If she wants to contribute to the drawing, she is welcome to.

This is a typical page: a note of what she said that day about the names Stella and Elisabeth, and then my copy of Marie-Louise Gay’s Stella. Amie draw some of Stella’s hair.

Stella by Mama and Amie (hair) (Tombow felt pens):
Stella by Mama (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

Amie was so inspired, she wanted to draw Stella too, “on my own page by myself”.
Stella by Amie (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

How neat to have those two interpretations of Stella next to one another!

Here’s the page we did today:

Drawing book Pooh and Piglet (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

Can you see how it is a collective effort? She chose the images I should copy, did some of the coloring in, and in the frame in the bottom right corner drew her own Pooh Eating Honey.

I interfere in only two ways: (1) I stop her from blotting everything out with black and (2) I ask her to not push my arm, pen or the book while I’m drawing.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s so strange to see one’s drawings on the screen like that: I can look at them, and see them, as if they weren’t mine at all. And they’re luminous too, but that’s the screen, of course…

    Strange too, to comment on my own blog!

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