Encouraging children or even yourself to be creative is far from difficult. It is more about encouraging them to venture out of their comfort zone and trying something new. After all, creativity is the ability to see things differently and come up with new solutions.
Actually, we are creative in many ways in our daily life – for instance, we think of ways to simplify our morning routine so we can catch a few more minutes of sleep. School teachers coming up with ideas to make their lessons more engaging also require creativity.
Beyond that, creativity is a skill that we can develop and a process that can be managed. We also hear often that art is about being creative, and many say they cannot do art because they are not creative. That is a misconception.
When I started teaching art, I taught at an art studio. After a few years, I decided to strike it out on my own and started art@home where I conduct art lessons at my students’ homes.
Studio teaching is very different from home-based teaching. In the studio, there are guidelines and lesson plans to follow. The activities are planned and the teachers are told what to teach. It is easy, but neither the students nor teachers are given much freedom to explore or experiment. It is result-oriented.
Home-based teaching is liberating and that is what art@home is about. I get to do all sorts of art, try out many ideas with my students. Our private art classes are not tuition, but a way to use art to cultivate creativity and nourish the soul. We experiment and explore various techniques. We do not have a fixed curriculum. It can be daunting too, as I do not have control over the outcomes, but the process is what we enjoy and focus on. We discuss and do research together.
Children, when encouraged to be creative and imaginative, can really surprise you! Doodling is one of my favourite media to encourage my students to relax their minds and explore without the fear of making mistakes. Depending on the child, they respond to such activities very differently – some embraced the fun while others are extremely uncomfortable and reluctant. I have a few doodling activities that I really enjoy doing with the kids, we do them every couple of months and I observed that the more they do it, the easier it gets for them.
One such activity is a blind doodle, where the children are blindfolded and only allowed to observe their chosen subject through their sense of touch, then draw without lifting their pencil. Their drawings usually don’t look like the subject, but it doesn’t matter, as we then try to imagine their lines and doodles into something else!
Another activity that I really enjoy doing with them is to doodle monsters. We first grab a fistful of googly eyes of assorted sizes and drop them onto the paper on random. The eyes stay where they land, and we glue them down. We then grab coloured makers or coloured pencils and start drawing around the eyes to create monsters! It is a really easy activity, but it forces the children to think out of the box and get inspiration from around them as I usually don’t provide them with any samples or references when it comes to fantasy-based artworks.
I sometimes enforce a “no-eraser” rule when I find my students rubbing out their lines too much. They have to think of ways to incorporate their “mistakes” into their artwork.
Art plays an important part in children’s development. It encourages them to use their imagination, helps them to focus, teaches them problem solving and critical thinking skills. It can also be a vital tool to teach children creativity – try it today!
I am Cherlyn, the founder of art@home, a home-based art school. I believe that art plays a vital part in every child’s development, more than we think we know. I use art as a medium to cultivate creativity and also to bring joy of art-making to the comfort of your home. At art@home, we believe in stepping out of the comfort zone and pushing limits. We also believe that clouds can be the colours of rainbow and that unicorns exist.