Stages of artistic development


Many people, including art educators have noticed that children's art making tends to follow certain patterns; stages in which it progresses as children grow from toddlers, through childhood and into adolescence.Victor Lowenfeld (American) described several Stages of Artistic Development in children's art in his book Creative and Mental Growth, Macmillan Company, New York, 1947.Lowenfeld's stages are: 1 . The scribble stage, typically occurring in children's drawings and paintings at ages 2-4 years old, is made up of four sub-stages: Disordered: uncontrolled markings that could be bold or light depending upon the personality of the child. At this age the child has little or no control over motor activity. Longtitudinal: controlled repetitions of motions. Demonstrates visually an awareness and enjoyment of kinesthetic movements. Circular: further exploring of controlled motions demonstrating the ability to do more complex forms. Naming: the child tells stories about the scribble. There is a change from a kinesthetic thinking in terms of motion to imaginative thinking in terms of pictures. This is one of the great occasions in the life of a human. It is the development of the ability to visualize in pictures. 2 . The preschematic stage (at ages 4-6) 3 . The schematic stage (at ages 6-9) 4 . The dawning realism stage (at ages 9-11) 5 . The pseudorealistic stage (at ages 11-13).Al Hurwitz (American) and Michael Day (American) have presented a somewhat different description of the stages of children's artistic development in their book, Children and Their Art, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, Texas, 1995.Hurwitz and Day's stages are: 1 . The manipulative stage (at ages 2-5, in early childhood). Although comparable to Lowenfeld's scribbling stage, Hurwitz and Day see this as a period of exploration of new materials, straight and curving lines, beginning moving from simple gestures into more complex ones, developing into a sub-stage of naming what has been drawn, and further into another sub-stage of naming what is about to be drawn, heralding the onset of visualization. 2 . The symbol-making stage (at ages 6-9, American grades 1-4). This is comparable to Lowenfeld's schematic stage, in which a child produces shapes so that they'll stand for ideas; concepts of certain things. A paper surface is no longer simply a vessel for marks, but relates to the up and down of the world, with the bottom of the paper becomes a baseline and the top of the paper the sky line. Gradually a child recognizes a need for more and more details, as when a circle is no longer enough for a body; arm lines are added; and later arms have fingers. Color choices are no longer random, but take on meanings, as when blue must be for sky and green for grass and other plants. The child may represent things representations of things that are understood as having multiple layers by making X-ray-like pictures of them. New alternative means of showing a scene become possible: foldover: A view in a place is shown on each of two halves of a picture plane, so that after viewing the first view, the paper must be inverted in order to view the second one. bird's-eye-view: A view of a scene as if seen from high above looking straight down. See bird's-eye view. multiple views: A single drawing in which two or more views convey a complex idea. 3 . The preadolescent stage (at ages 10-13, American grades 5-8). A child is more self-critical and cautious. With early adolescent physical changes, a child experiences new social pressures. Expanding awareness bring challenges to a child's self-image and social position. Children may reasses their art skills with an emerging awareness of what people of all ages are capable of doing. This is generally a difficult, discouraging time, in which children progress in their artistic development only with well-paced instruction, seasoned with meaningful encouragement. Children are ready to add increasing detail, illusion of depth, subtle coloration, and increasingly sophisticated art techniques and processes.Related links: Jim Brutger, professor at the U of Minnesota Duluth, offers a page about Lowenfeld's Stages of Artistic Development, a page about Hurwitz and Day's stages, and another listing characteristics of four periods of growth from ages five to eleven. Young Artists, U of Florida art education professor Craig Roland's pages offer a more contemporary interpretation of childrens' stages of art development. Also see children's art, multiple intelligence theory, and theory.