Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tracing and creativity

Sylvia has recently started to enjoy coloring.  I have never encouraged my kids to color in the lines or shade the sky blue and the grass green, because I much prefer to see how their innate creativity plays out.  Who says the sky needs to be blue?  So when Sylvia seemed excited to watercolor paint in the lines of pre-drawn pages, I asked if she would like me to draw something for her on watercolor paper.  She chose a picture of herself leaping from rock to rock across the creek bed at Parfrey's Glen from our hike yesterday. I did a simple free-hand contour drawing with a permanent marker.  We chatted while I drew, so she saw that a certain line across the snow was a shadow, or another curved line was a rock.  But then we turned off the computer and she was given creative freedom.
 She took a break for a living room dance party.  Have I mentioned we love these?  I have?  We do.
 This one is still a work in progress.  "Can I mix all the colors and paint with my fingers?"  Um, OK.  There is also a hidden fairy castle painted in there now too :)
 When Camille came home from school, she spent most of her evening tracing line drawings off of the computer screen for Sylvia to color/paint.  She was so pleased with each one.
 She traced 100 hearts,
 and irises, and more...
What is it about coloring and tracing that is so intriguing?  I loved doing both as a child (and also drawing and painting and playing with numbers and compasses and graph paper), but it tends to make some people shudder at the lack of creativity involved.  I think it helps develop an understanding of how to use line and shape and color to put an image on paper.  Of course, any chosen activity can be immensely satisfying, while the same activity under coercion could become drudgery.  Sometimes a blank piece of paper, a crayon, and a wild imagination is just the thing.  Sometimes painting the sky blue and within the lines brings its own satisfaction.  Sometimes you just have to mix it all together with your fingers.  It is all about the process.


  1. i use to love those tracing books with a regular picture and then a tracing sheet. i dont see them anymore. never thought about using a computer...

  2. Lovely! I've been thinking of mandalas, lately. :) I don't mind coloring in the lines!


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