31 answers

Concerned with 4 Yr Old Artwork

Hi everyone! My 4 yr old daughter has always been interested in coloring, painting, crafts, etc..she is very right brained.....lately she has been drawing faces; eyes, nose, and mouth..but she has recently started making the face and then scribbling all over it. Im wondering if this is something I should be concerned with. I picked her up from Bible school this am and they were making paper plate balloons and they decorated the paper plates with faces and my daughter did hers with black crayon, she drew the face then scribbled over it.It looked very creepy, to be quite honest....I was somewhat embarrassed but more concerned. She seems to be doing this alot often and this has started to concern me. Please help! Am I overreacting???

Concerned Mom

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Featured Answers

Another artist here. You're reading WAY too much into it. Why don't you simply ask her why she does that? It's nothing to be embarrassed about and I don't find it the least bit creepy.

10 moms found this helpful

Totally with those who said to treat this art as you would any other, with interest and without judgement. "I see you made a drawing. What would you like to tell me about it?" "Yes, I see. Thanks." If you ask a young child why they did something, that infers that they should know why, and they will ususally come up with an answer, just to be cooperative. Goodness knows, I don't know why I do half of what I do!

6 moms found this helpful

My 3.5 yr old has kinda a dark personality, so I was concerned last week when all his drawings of people had scribbled out faces. I didn't say anything at first, but then I finally asked him why he scribbled their faces, and he says, "he's a cave man, frozen in ice..." saw that on Scooby Doo.

I'd just ask her why she's been scribbling over them lately. Might have a very simple explanation.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Okay-- first off, there's a lot of pop culture talk out there about the kid who draws in black and how that's supposed to be some sort of indication that they're upset....

See where I'm headed with this? It's easy to infer without getting good information. If it were me, before getting concerned or worried, I would start by casually talking about her picture. "Tell me about this picture. I see a face underneath and then I see a lot of scribble in black crayon...that makes me curious. Would you tell me about that?"

As a preschool teacher, my first guess is that your daughter is actually trying to do the work "perfectly", as she envisions it, and that she may be scribbling over (and MANY perfectly fine kids do this, by the way) what she's unhappy with.

If this is the case ("I didn't like it" or "I didn't do it right" etc.) here are some things to help:

First, don't try to validate the work she doesn't like or say that it's fine. Accept that she isn't happy with it. If you go on to tell her that her work is good, and to her it isn't, she may come to feel that you don't expect as much from her as she does from herself.

Instead: When she's scribbling over her work, ask her 'what about drawing this is hard for you?' (Do not ask *why*... many kids this age can tell you precisely 'what's hard' but they may not be able to contextualize *why* it is hard.)

Offer other options. Kids need to know that they can try it again when they're ready. Sit with her and practice drawing faces. Offer more paper to keep her moving forward in her work instead of ruminating on that unsuccessful picture.

Look at all kinds of art in picture books. Quentin Blake does quite a bit of scribble art for the newer Roald Dahl and Ramona (Beverly Cleary) books. Let her know that Blake has won awards for his drawing in his native England because people think his work is so good.

My guess is that unless something disturbing or significant has happened, this is likely her way of rejecting her own work/self-correction, and she's ready for more support in this pursuit. You can also ask her "so, tell me what happened while you were making your picture this morning. I noticed there was a lot of scribble on the face and it was a little hard to see." This is also an open-ended question which does not impose judgment on her work or its quality. If she is hearing negative feedback about her work from someone else, this could be a response.

And lastly, a word of advice --as the mother of a perfectionist artist myself---Life got so much better when I put the crayons away and bought some erasable colored pencils. Teaching them to erase a small amount of work instead of having to start all over again is a relief for everyone. My son also benefited from being taught to do the first work in pencil (with the freedom to erase) and then to color or ink in afterward, when he's happy with the pictures. Good luck-- I hope this is all it is and that she learns to be more tolerant and patient with herself. If she's really showing an aptitude, an art class for kids her age may also be helpful.

16 moms found this helpful

Another artist here. You're reading WAY too much into it. Why don't you simply ask her why she does that? It's nothing to be embarrassed about and I don't find it the least bit creepy.

10 moms found this helpful

My 2 cents:

When my DD was in Pre-K, she added my pubic hair to her pics of me. The teacher asked what it was, and she clearly and unabashedly said, "My mom's hair down there." And kept working. It is at eye level you know.

When I was in KG I drew an elaborate trip to the park with trees and bees, and picnic tables and food, then when it was all done, I had this novel idea to copy an art project that my sister had done where the colors were all covered in black crayon and then the picture was etched out, showing the rainbow colors below. Unfortunately, several things occurred. There was not enough time allotted to complete the art piece at school. Then I couldn't remember exactly where all the the pieces were underneath all the black, and this particular piece of art was displayed at back to school night. My parents were probably mortified and I was too, because it did not represent what I intended, it was a total piece of caca.

My sister, 1 yr older in 1st grade, knew what I was trying to accomplish, but not one parent understood me and my black, creepy drawing.

So, just ask her...what's up with all the scribbling over the face?

9 moms found this helpful

I think you're overthinking this one. I have a friend whose daughter was in preschool and painted a beautiful picture...sun, grass, blue sky, the works. Immediately after that, she took black paint and and covered the entire painting. Her teacher was horrified and tried to tell my friend there must be something really wrong. My friend asked her daugther why she did that. Her daughter replied, "it was day, and then it was night." There could be very simple explanations to these things!

My daughter will draw a picture and scribble over it if she's frustrated with how it looks or if she's just getting bored with drawing and wants to hurry up to her next activity. Maybe your daughter jsut wasn't feeling like mayking paper plate balloons yesterday.

8 moms found this helpful

Normal. If it were colored in pick, would it have been "creepy?" Kids simply don't know that adults put black, in the creepy corner. Black is satisfying as a young child. It shows up and covers more then any color, and it's more deliberate. They color over faces, because they can.

I think of the great master artists and how crappy their childhoods were...with adults constantly telling them they weren't doing it right. You have to understand, kids have NO inhibitions. They color what they feel like, and it almost always means nothing. Their brain see something, and they do it. I am extremely right brained. I've always been an artist. I was always confused when people asked why I did something. There is no why!!!!

7 moms found this helpful

Totally with those who said to treat this art as you would any other, with interest and without judgement. "I see you made a drawing. What would you like to tell me about it?" "Yes, I see. Thanks." If you ask a young child why they did something, that infers that they should know why, and they will ususally come up with an answer, just to be cooperative. Goodness knows, I don't know why I do half of what I do!

6 moms found this helpful

Could be she was not happy with her work.. could be after being so careful to draw the face, she just likes the feel of just scribbling.. Like letting go of all of the control..

Maybe it is her new signature. has she seen someone sign their artwork?

Just ask her. She should have some sort of answer.. and i promise, it will not be negative.

Our daughter has always been a creative child.. drew on every sheet of paper she could find. We loved asking her to tell us about her art.. Sometimes, she said. "mom, this is not a picture! This is just scribbles!"

Or "this is my colors test." (she was testing out the colors)

..

6 moms found this helpful

I'm sure it's nothing but have you actually asked her why she's doing it? Seems like that would be the easiest way to find out.
My daughter went through a phase where she kept putting a big X over all her people/faces, I said why are you doing that and she said "because I messed up." No biggie, she was just going through a perfectionist phase!

6 moms found this helpful

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