I started reading The Art of Teaching Art to Kids and this is what I have learnt:
When your child shows you her art, don't immediately praise it. If your child is a toddler like mine, chances are the pictures won't resemble anything. Resist the temptation to ask her what it is. Look at it for a while and start commenting on her picture. Say things like:
- I see you put the red line over the blue line.
- And the green circle is bigger than the blue circle.
Comment on the actual fact of the pictures.
At such a young age, they do not know how to explain their pictures, and if you ask them to, they'll be intimidated, thinking that they have to have something concrete.
By making comments like the above, you show them you understand what they did.
Angel can make legible shapes: triangles, circles, ovals, rectangles, and she knows what to call each. So I will make comments based on what she knows. Last night, she drew a sun with many many tentacles, like an octopus. Because that is what the sun is to her. Instead of saying that looks more like an octopus than a sun, I commented on how long the tentacles were. Things like that.
Praise is ok, but heaping on too much, as I have the tendency to do sometimes, may not push them to explore other styles. Also, I find when I make factual comments, the next time she comes round to show me a drawing, she herself starts to make comments like that. A little art critic in the making?