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Development of drawing stages in children


Child’s development drawing stages are relatively clear and predictable. Of course some kids enjoy at drawing activities more and some less, some make progress faster and some slower, but in general we can use next list to compare our children’s abilities with others and take some action if necessary:

Children drawing development by age:

1 year (give it or take it a month or so): Most of children are able to hold some kind of drawing tool. They notice this tool, if in touch with a surface, makes a trail. Their grip is unreliable and they don’t really know what to do with pencils or charcoals. Making random lines or check their taste seems pretty equal choice.


1 year and a half: This is time when kids usually start enjoying using crayons, color pencils (jumbo) and similar drawing tools to scribble on paper and other surfaces. It seems making some kind of marks is very important in this developmental phase where kids start using their power to move things around.

Of course their drawings don’t make sense to us, but they are not making them for us anyways. Their scribbles are among first steps in exploration of the world through action and reaction. Slowly they are forming abstract shapes from lines. Moving from paper to the floors and walls is the next step…

forms are formed

2 years: It’s time for first realistic attempts. Kids at this age will draw things and events from their experience and enjoy sharing their masterpieces with friends, teachers, parents and everybody else. In most cases only them will know what is drawn, but they are more than ready to explain what they portrayed.

Drawing becomes a way of communication in this developmental stage.


3 years: Most of children gradually implement more and more control in their scribblings from second and third year of age. When they reach 3 years, they are able to distinguish between straight and curved line, they can make an X and T and they are able to enclose the line to form a recognizable and repeatable shape, for instance some kind of triangle, rectangle or circle.

If a kid is not able to make a circle-like shape (it doesn’t have to look good, but it should be closed) by the age of three, we can start worrying about his or her development. They also distinguish between colors (most can name properly at least three different colors) and they are ready to use their basic knowledge of drawing with combining different shapes and colors.


4 years: Stick man becomes the major character in kids’ drawings. It has recognizable head and two legs, hands are not always present and soon will follow houses, trees and of course the sun.

Proportions are all wrong and colors far from reality, but a child has already mastered something very important: importance of symbols. A child around four or five understands a drawn symbol represents something from reality. Their works are more and more complex, we can notice more and more details.


6 years: Welcome to reality! Children slowly become critical. They learn to observe the environment and compare their drawings with actual situation. Some express the wish to learn some simple drawing techniques, maybe they want to know hot to draw a cat step by step or something similar.

When they don’t achieve proper results they can become frustrated. This is time to offer them a help but without pushing. Drawing should stay fun and voluntary task, kids should never feel an obligation. It is also right time to encourage the imaginative part of creative process which should not be suppressed by realism.


9 years: At this stage most of kids stop drawing. They are good enough to notice how far are their works from works of skillful artists. This is perfect time to introduce drawing techniques used to master the proportions and perspectives. Time to switch from two to three dimensions. Don’t forget the many benefits of drawing for children!

Providing quality drawings, illustrations and photos can be very rewarding in this phase. Many kids will gladly copy from that kind of material. One day with proper support a talent can grow in an artist. Don’t miss the opportunity!


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