One of the most interesting things about drawing for 5-year olds is that each child has his own logic. One child may understand one thing from the illustration, but another child may interpret it differently. The main concern the artist should have is to spark their imagination. Five-years old like rich drawings full of colors that are simple and fun to look at, drawings that touch their innermost concerns.
Draw people the way a 5-year old would draw them. Draw a circle to represent the head of your character, without neck, but with arms and legs sticking out of the face. Then, add basic body features such as hair, hands and feet. “Mr Men” books by Roger Hargreaves are a good example of this technique.
Draw X-Ray art. Five-years old often draw things in transparency because they like to know how things work and why things look the way they do. According to Lego.com, children this age are inquiry-driven and like to see the inside and the outside of a picture at the same time. Children this age like to make guesses like scientists and they like to verify if their guesses are right. They look for drawings that surprise them or push them to guess. This is why books such as “Color Zoo” by Lois Ehlert fascinate them. “Color Zoo” features cutouts stacked in one book; to turn a page is like removing a layer and revealing a new animal.
Draw real life characters. Children this age are interested in representations with which they can identify. They like drawings of familiar spaces and people, real every day things they know well such as home, games, friends, pets and school. Draw the child’s portrait using the shape of a large head with sticks for arms and legs as in stick figures. Draw a familiar environment.
According to Lego.com, children this age also identify themselves with people outside of the family circle such as teachers, peers and neighbors. Draw friends and community members. Books including “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stewart Little” by E.B. White present drawings of friends and families in their ordinary lives.
Draw superheroes, transportation, war-like scenes for boys; however, draw houses, people, rainbows, flowers for girls. Genders are divided in what they like, so it is hard to present a picture book that will satisfy both sexes. Five-year olds start to identify with heroes and problem solvers. They like to pretend-play and role-play. So, draw heroes for which children this age can cheer. Also, draw bad guys the heroes can fight and defeat. Books such a “Raising Dragons” by Elise Primavera or the “Tinkerbell” movies by Walt Disney present colorful and imaginative heroes children like to imitate.
Draw cute and humorous figures. Children this age like silly figures that make them laugh or smile. They are attracted to funny heroes who can turn their heads upside down like the potato head in the Walt Disney movie “Toy Story.” Children this age have a real fascination for drawings like the ones in “The Cat in The Hat” by Dr. Seuss or “Curious George” by H.A. Rey.
Tips & Warnings
- Personalize your drawings a much as possible.
- Think about ways to draw a picture and leave a hole at the place of the head for children to put their own pictures.
- Include 3-D and pop-up techniques to add more dimension to your drawings.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
- Illustrating Children's Books
- Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication; Martin Salisbury; 2004
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