Is it better to teach children to draw from live models? Do we do them a disservice when we have them draw from photos or illustrations? If you are like me and teach children drawing mainly at home, you might not always have access to live models. Sure, occasionally you can throw together a still life, but getting a living thing to stay still long enough to draw it - that can be problematic.
I've always wondered about the balance in the above questions, and I recently found something encouraging in Mona Brooke's second book, Drawing for Older Children & Teens. She cites research done by Dr. Margaret Dowell, an art educator from Frederick, Maryland, who found "that students who had been trained to draw the human body from photographs or photocopies of masterworks were as technically proficient . . . as students who had been trained exclusively from the observation of live models." And in an impartial judging of students' work, the less proficient drawing came from students who had only observed live models.
The overall consensus seems to be that students of drawing need to have experience with both photos and live models. But if your child only has limited access to live models, don't sweat it. Interesting photos and illustrations can be an important learning tool as well.
|Live drawing of marine animals at the aquarium by a 7-year-old|
|Drawing from an illustration on the computer by a 6-year-old|