International Journal of Art & Design Education

Learning to Draw and Drawing to Learn

Volume 18.2   1999



Young children enter formal schooling with a repertoire of modes of representation with which they try to make sense of the world - drawing, modelling, role play, storying, emergent literacy and numeracy. In drawing they use mark making for kinaesthetic pleasure and later learn to repeat patterns and shapes intentionally. From these repeated marks they begin to explore the potential of drawings to represent what they know. A parallel set of drawing strategies with an explicit communicative function develop through social relationships at home or in pre-school/care settings. Children observe and mimic modes of representation and absorb the semiotics modelled by adults or older children in the community/culture[s] in which they are reared. The paper explores the advantages and problems associated with the two approaches.