How Children Learn to Draw

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How Children Learn to Draw

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  • UC-NRLF

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    HILDRENTO DRAW

    SARGENTAND MILLER

  • GIFT OF

    MAY SELLANDER

  • / 1? Jfs

  • HOW CHILDREN LEARNTO DRAW

    BY

    WALTER SARGENTM

    PROFESSOR OF ART EDUCATION IN THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATIONTHE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

    AND

    ELIZABETH E. MILLERINSTRUCTOR IN ART IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL OF THE

    SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

    GINN AND COMPANYBOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO LONDON

    ATLANTA DALLAS COLUMBUS SAN FRANCISCO

    CCv(\\lo*

  • COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY WALTER SARGENTAND ELIZABETH E. MILLER

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    316.6

    i jA-^jC^Aa-^

  • S3

    PREFACE

    Some of the recent helpful contributions to the

    subject of teaching drawing have been in the form oftheories as to what ought to be accomplished. Othershave been in the form of descriptions of the devicesand methods employed in various places. This book

    brings both of these points of view into close rela-

    tionship, not only by presenting them together inthe same volume but also by recording the particularclassroom experiences which formed the basis for the

    theory given and which in turn have been modified

    by that theory.It seemed to us that the concreteness of a detailed

    description of the experiments and theory of oneschool would compensate for the necessary limita-tions of such a treatment. We hope that the resultsare representative enough to justify us in havinggiven to the description of the work of a single insti-tution a name so broad in its significance as the titleof this book.

    Our sincere thanks are due to the instructors inthe Elementary School whose cooperation made pos-sible the close relation of drawing with the other sub-

    jects, and also to Mr. Harry Orrin Gillet, principal ofthe Elementary School, for his concurrent efforts andfor his helpful suggestions regarding the manuscript.

    THE AUTHORSChicago, Illinois

    iii

  • CONTENTSPAGE

    INTRODUCTION 1

    CHAPTER

    I. The Illustration of Themes 3

    II. The Drawing of Birds, Plants, and theHuman Figure 115

    III. The Drawing of Constructed Objects . . . 169

    IV. Interests and Standards of Attainment . . 210

    V. Conclusions as to how Children learn toDraw 231

    INDEX. 263

  • HOW CHILDREN LEARN TODRAW

    INTRODUCTION

    The methods of teaching drawing in the Ele-

    mentary School of the School of Education in The

    University of Chicago during the past few yearshave been in the nature of an experiment to dis-

    cover how children learn most readily to use drawingas a common means of self-expression.Two uses of drawing have been emphasized : first,

    its use as a means of intellectual expression whichdiffers essentially from verbal language and there-fore offers a unique method of analyzing and dealingwith subjects and showing them in a new light;second, its use as a form of aesthetic expression, a

    means of developing artistic appreciation, and anavenue to the sources of aesthetic enjoyment.Any means that appear ultimately to promote

    appreciation and ability in self-expression have been

    given fair trial, however questionable from the tradi-

    tional artistic standpoint they may appear at first

    sight. For example, in building up a vocabulary of

    forms, direct observation has been supplemented by

  • 2 HOW CHILDREN LEARN TO DRAW

    some copying and occasionally even by tracing, anda few forms have been taught at first by dictation.As high a class average has been expected in

    drawing as in any other subject. Methods as system-atic as those in other subjects have been employed,and unpromising beginnings, even in the uppergrades, have not been regarded as reasons for dis-

    couragement. Special talent in art has received the

    same consideration as does special talent in mathe-

    matics or in language. Daily records of each stepfollowed in dealing with various topics have been

    kept, in order that from time to time the work ofthe children may be studied and modified in the

    light of all the details of procedure.This book presents some of these records, selected

    to show representative series of lessons, accompaniedby explanatory notes and illustrations from the workof the children. This description of classroom methodis followed by a statement of the conclusions reachedas a result of this experiment, in the form of a theoryas to how children learn to draw. While it is the in-tention of this book to select and deal specifically with

    only one of the major lines of art instruction in ele-mentary schools, namely, pictorial representation, it

    will' be noted that design is so intimately involved

    that it is necessarily given almost equal emphasis.Most of the methods and materials used are avail-

    able for schools everywhere.

  • CHAPTER I

    THE ILLUSTRATION OF THEMES

    The illustration of themes occurring in school sub-

    jects other than drawing gives the children experi-ence in practically all the phases of drawing which aschool course needs to include. In the first place, each

    of these subjects constitutes a center which furnishesthe narrative or subject interest the definite "some-

    thing to tell"

    which is necessary for all good draw-

    ing. Secondly, it provides the motive for gatheringdata which shall make these drawings adequate de-

    scriptions of the subject under consideration. Thesedata insure drawings much richer in detail of de-

    scriptive material than would be possible if thechildren drew simply from their imagination. Itnecessitates studying reference material, such as ob-

    jects or pictures, and learning how to represent theforms or pictorial effects necessary for full illustra-

    tion of the theme. Thirdly, it gives practice in

    pictorial composition and provides opportunity for

    experimenting with the arrangement and spacing ofthe illustration in a way that contributes at thesame time to the clearest presentation of the subject

    '

    matter and also to the most pleasing design. This

  • 4 HOW CHILDREN LEARN TO DRAW

    involves, in addition to experimentation with various

    space arrangements and a discussion of the differenteffects produced, a study of the best examples of pic-torial composition, under conditions which relate them

    immediately and intimately to the child's efforts tomake a harmonious design out of his own illustra-tion. For example, after the children have workedout such a theme as occupations in agriculture, ac-

    quaintance with the composition of Millet's picturesof workers in the fields offers them definite sugges-tions as to improving their own arrangements.

    The teacher encounters the problem of usingthemes as they occur in the regular school programand still keeping the integrity of the course in draw-

    ing. The two greatest difficulties are these : First,the value of drawing does not lie wholly in its useas an accompaniment of other subjects. It has itsown characteristic realm, which its use in relation toother subjects does not entirely cover. The child's

    progress in drawing is not always best ministered to

    by compelling it to conform to his progress in theI other school subjects. Second, themes selected fromthe general educational program do not always fur-nish the interests most vital to good drawing. These

    I two difficulties are worth serious consideration.

    However, facts seem to indicate that the in-

    structor who sees most clearly what grounds the

    drawing should cover, and who has also the most

  • THE ILLUSTRATION OF THEMES 5

    comprehensive knowledge of the school work as awhole and of the part drawing should have in this

    work, is generally the one who sees in the themessupplied by the subject matter of the general cur-riculum the best possible opportunity for accomplish-

    ing the specific ends he desires in the drawing.With regard to the vitality of the interests fur-

    nished by these school themes, it may be said thatinterest in any subject which continues throughsuccessive lessons is cumulative. The instructor in

    drawing who uses school themes for material is ableto reenforce the particular interest which arises inthe drawing by taking advantage of the interest

    already awakened in the subject chosen and thusto utilize the momentum of both.

    This is not to say that the subject matter of otherschool work should furnish the entire material for

    drawing. Nevertheless, when on the one hand specialinstructors in drawing have a comprehensive knowl-

    edge of the grade work as a whole, and when on theother hand the school authorities no longer regarddrawing as a special subject, the pedagogy of whichis essentially different in nature from that of other

    subjects, it will be found that the teaching of drawingis vitalized, and that its scope is widened rather thannarrowed by close alliance with the rest of the school

    program. The following pages describe in detail the

    working out of several school themes. These themes

  • 6 HOW CHILDREN LEARN TO DRAW

    are not in any way intended to show the actual sub-

    jects which should be taken in every school. -Theywere selected because they were the themes whichoccurred in connection with the other studies, and aredescribed because they offer typical examples and notbecause they are necessarily the best subject matter.

    THE ILLUSTRATION OF HISTORY

    Grade I

    Indians

    The study of Indian life forms one of the historytopics in the first grade. Jenks's

    " The Childhood ofJi-Shib

    "

    is used as a basis for this work. The storyis told in a simple and dramatic way. Th