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Liam's Trains

Monday, February 27, 2006

Liam draws for much of every day. He works quietly at his own table, talking to himself as he selects colors and composes pictures. Every picture he draws has trains in it. But he imbues his trains with such personality that they're never dull. This kid can use a page!
He just figured out how to draw a face in profile, and he's been riffing on that for several days. I love watching my kids figure things out, and I rarely tell them how to draw anything. I will gladly draw something for them to copy, but they don't often ask. I suppose every mom thinks her kids' drawings are special, so there's no news here. But I think these little train scenes are the berries.
This one is supposed to say, "Boys Are Liam." Instead, it says "Boys UOR Liam." I think he misheard me when I spelled "are" for him. It's a rare double-page spread. Note that he's also drawn a girl train, in pink, and given her a fetchingly curved smokestack.

This is a night train, throwing light from its headlight into the darkness. Looks fast.
Phoebe drew this scene of a little mouse in a dress, tending her carrots. At 9, Phoebe is trying to get back to using the whole page, something Liam at 6 does with abandon. I have found that compositional skills come naturally to very young kids--they fill the page and go on diagonals and do the most wonderful big, bold things. And then self-consciousness creeps in and the figures get smaller and smaller, and the detail gets finer and finer, and everything is at the very bottom of the page and very small. But Phoebe's coming back out of that phase, and starting to do more with the blank page. Her drawings are so precise and sweet.
"I don't know why I drew this," she said. "It was stuck in my head and I had to get it out."


It's so important that you encourage your children to be artists and let them go with it.

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