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Developmental stages of drawing

Stages of Artistic Development


1947, Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld published Creative and Mental Growth, which quickly became THE textbook for art educators. Lowenfeld argues that are six clearly defined stages of artistic development and that these stages can be witnessed in the artworks of children.

Stages of Artistic Development


Scribble Stage (1-3) The Preschematic Stage (3-4) The Schematic Stage (5-6) The Dawning Realism (7-9) The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage (10-13) The Decision Stage (13-16)

The Scribble Stage (1-3)


in the physical activity of drawing. No connection made between the marks and representation during early ages. Towards the end of this stage children may begin to give marks names. Stage is mostly about the enjoyment of purely making marks.

Tools for the Scribble Stage


that are safe, easy to hold, and larger in size Ex: 1-3 large non-toxic unwrapped crayons, Large Paintbrushes with thick handles, Paint that is thick, Large sheets of heavy paper, Easel and table

for experimentation

The Preschematic Stage (3-4)

Development of muscle control and hand-eye co-ordination. Begin to see connections between drawing basic shapes and the physical world around them. Circles and lines may be described as people or objects that are physically present in the childs life. Children first begin to make the connection to communicating through their drawings.

The Schematic Stage (5-6)

Clearly assigned shapes to objects that they are attempting to communicate. Developed a schema, an organized pattern of thought, for creating drawings Defined order in the development of the drawing. Clear separation between the sky and the ground. (Often the sky is a strip of blue at the top of the paper, while the ground is a strip of green at the bottom). Objects are often placed on the ground instead of floating in space. Objects of importance are often drawn larger than objects of lesser importance.

Eric age 4

The Dawning Realism (7-9)


more critical of own work. More complex than the schema used in earlier stages, more details. Overlapping can be seen and a sense of spatial relationships is more evident.

The Pseudo-Naturalistic Stage (10-13)


of value and light. Tends towards being critical of work. Success is determined by the level of realism achieved. Frustration is a common occurrence. Need for encouragement at this stage.

The Decision Stage (13-16)

Decide to continue drawing or view it as an activity without merit. Because of the level of self criticism inherent at this stage, many children, (now young adults) view drawing as an skill that do they do not possess. Others decide to continue working on their drawing skills and continue to develop. Perhaps the most critical to the development of an artist.



in mind childs developmental stage Wait until child shares artwork with you Ask the child to describe what was drawn Ask about formal elements of art (color, shape etc) Be specific in your response Have an open mind and accepting attitude Respect childs interest and timing of discussion Encourage rather than critique/praise


there anything you wanted to share about your drawing vs What is it? I see that you used lots of blue and green in your art vs the ocean is blue not green Wow, I saw you really enjoying your drawing vs Nice drawing, good job I see you spent a lot of time on this painting , look at all the colors you used vs. This is great, its my favorite painting!