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At what age does drawing become recognizable?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
DS is 3 1/2. His drawings are now very recognizable. He draws faces with circles for eyes, a half-circle for a smile, a circle for the face, and sometimes even hair. He can do stick figures and even the basic outlines of animals. He does fingers and toes on all his stick figures. He's even starting to do emotions in faces - a zig-zag line for angry and a downward half-circle for sad.

Is this normal for his age? At what age did your kids start to be able to draw things that were recognizable to other people?
post #2 of 23
Sounds pretty normal, though my 4 year old isn't doing fingers and toes yet! So nice work on your son's part!

Oh and I have my pictures and my brother's from those ages, b/c my mom died and I took everything home with me, and I know that I was drawing fingers, at least, at around 3 or 4.
post #3 of 23
DD started drawing recognizable figures right at her 3rd bday. She draws princesses with faces, long hair and long dresses. That's all she does for now
post #4 of 23
I think there's a big range of normal for this. Obviously your kid is fine! Mine, on the other hand, took until he was over four to start drawing representationally, and then rapidly "caught up" to the other kids. (Now, at 5 1/2, he's really impressive at drawing!) There was also an ASD kid in his preschool class who was a spectacular artist -- he could draw like a 10-year-old at 3 1/2!

I work in/attend with my kids a co-op preschool, so I've seen a lot of 2 1/2- to 5 1/2-year-olds. At the time when mine was 3 1/2 and wasn't drawing representationally, I was really worried about him, but his teacher kept reassuring me that it was fine and he was otherwise normal and would get there sooner or later, and he did! Anyway, my experience with the 20 or so kids of this age I've worked with recently is that most of them can draw faces and stick figures at least at 3 1/2 (and some, like yours, can do even better), with a few exceptions such as my kid, who turned out to be artistically normal anyway. On the other hand, it's possible this co-op I've been working with is attracting above-average kids. Not really sure.

Enjoy your well-decorated refrigerator!

mama to T, 5 1/2; L, 2 1/2; and baby boy EDD 12/20/08
post #5 of 23
My oldest Ds had very detailed drawings at that age too.
Youngest Dd is going to be 4 in Jan and just started to make things recognizable sometimes. Like the other day she drew me a person, big circle, eyes, mouth, hair, and the arms and legs sticking out from the circle.
So it sounds like your Ds in on one end of the spectrum of normal and my Dd is near the other end
post #6 of 23
My son turned 2 3 months ago and makes ovals. But that's it. Everything else is scribbles and he'll say "this is an R, this is an A, this is Daddy's blue car!". His friend is a few months older and coloring in the lines! My son is so far from that. I think there is a wiiiiide range of normal.
post #7 of 23
I'd say 3 or later. Paddy just turned 3 in August and he's starting to understand the concept of coloring inside the lines, and makes a yellow scribbly shape for a sun, blue scribbly shape for a moon, in other words knows what color things are supposed to be. I'd definitely expect to see him drawing stick people and other things by 3.5, he really loves drawing.

Henri still scribbles, no real shapes yet, but he also knows some of his colors. He turned 2 at the end of July. He pretends to write his name, which is really cute. He'll say Hennnnnnnnnrrrrrrriiiii you know, really slowly, and draw a line. (then yells at me to write his name for him, along with other things) I was amazed, however, when we were coloring in his Sesame Street book and I asked him what color Big Bird is, and he told me "Yellow", then proceeded to take out a yellow crayon from the box and start coloring in Big Bird. I didn't expect that out of a 2 year old, especially not one that just turned two!
post #8 of 23
it dpends on the kids and if they are detail people. but between two 1/2 and four things seem to take off.
post #9 of 23
Mine just turned 3. She pretty much draws circles/ovals and scribbles.

But if a scribble accidentally looks like something, she'll say what she sees - "a rocket ship!" - and I'll be able to see it too. But she can't purposefully draw a rocket ship yet.
post #10 of 23

Toddlers and art

Hi, have just read through many of your posts relating to children and recognisable drawing. My son who is 2 1/2 drew a picture of a person yesterday consisting of a large circle for the face, 2 eyes, nose, smiley face (so he told me), 2 legs and 2 arms - all in the right places.
post #11 of 23
Just before she turned 3, DD started drawing things like spiders (circles with lots of legs, sometimes 8, ha ha), faces, letters, etc. She's 3 y and 4 mo now, and drawing more elaborate things like people/bodies, buildings, cats, etc. In the last couple of months, she's become very interested in drawing and writing, and can write out a few words as well (a little OT, but it still relates to working on recognizable things, yk?).
I think the range is pretty wide. I have a friend who at age 2 was drawing little green circles and drawing the letter "P" beside them (b/c they were peas!), and a brother who didn't start drawing people/things that were recognizable til he was 5. Both normal
post #12 of 23
My dd turned 3 in October and has just now become interested in making an effort to draw things acurately. I don't know that prior to now (or any age when kids begin this) it was a matter of not knowing how but rather that
scribbling craziness is just easier and more fun yk.

Dd started drawing with intention a few weeks ago and now draws stick people rather well (with eyes, nose, mouth, and hair), and other things she spots in the room. For example, yesterday she drew her daddy's tie, a shirt, and a loaf of bread complete with slices. All were a pretty good representation of the actual item.
post #13 of 23
dd is 3.5 exactly and draws faces with expressions, eyes with pupils, teeth, hair, legs, arms, she even draws things to scale (sort of, not perfect scale) where say, if she draws our family, daddy is tall and thin, she is very small, and mama is shorter and wider --which is true

I believe she is uber talented because well, I am her mama for one and aren't all our own children geniuses?? lol

Secondly, I *loved* to draw as a child and believe I have artistic talent (raw, undeveloped mostly) -- I love to paint, draw, sculpt, take pictures, write songs etc --- so it stands to reason she may have inhereted some of that (dh is a musician as well).

"Normal" is so varying though. I don't think you have anything to worry about mama -- your dc sounds totally within or even exceeding what is considered "on target" for this age group.
post #14 of 23
I just wanted to post the flip side of it. Both of my kids are on the autism spectrum. DS1 is 6 and just started drawing more detailed pictures in the last 6 months. His drawings really took off. Ds2 is 4 years 5 months and still scribbles like a young toddler. He is at age level for academics so we are not pushing for special education like his brother gets. He is just behind in his fine motor skills. We are just doing as much as we can to encourage development of these skills. Still i'm not too worried about him. I do plan on pushing for an OT evaluation as soon as we enroll in kindergarten. I think that some kids can draw well and want to and some struggle a little more with it.
post #15 of 23
Thats pretty cool

dd is a little artist too..runs in the family. She could imitate a smily face, that I drew, when she was 18 months- it was shakey but definately recognisable. I was always drawing smiley faces for her to look at.
Shes been 'drawing' since she could grasp a crayon/pencil/paintbrush.
I think that started around 8 months. There was no direction though, it was just marks on paper, the table, herself...at that point.
By the time she was 2 she was pretty darn detailed about faces. Then the heads got arms and legs. By the time she was 3 there were bodies attatched to the heads,as well as appendages and digits, and even genitals

At 6, I would not call her a gifted artist, but she has had lots of practise, so her pictures are pretty nice. It is something she enjoys and is encouraged to do.

On the other hand, I know so many children who even at 6, cannot draw a simple body, or some other shape. Thier talents lie elsewhere
post #16 of 23
I think it depends on the kid. My oldest was drawing really well by 3. He's always loved coloring, drawing, stuff like that. My youngest couldn't care less about crayons (except to eat them) or anything to do with drawing.
post #17 of 23
DD is 3 1/2 and she's doing about the same, fingers, toes, eye lids which are SO funny, smiles or frowns on the face. The other day she drew herself and her friends holding hands....so cute.

It was right out of the blue too it seemed. One day scribbles, the next day eye lids!
post #18 of 23
For dd, it was 2 1/2, which I thought was early.

For ds, it was 5 1/2, which I KNOW was late.

It all depends on the kid.

3 1/2 is about right, if I remember correctly, for the basic shapes of people. But, it's early for the kind detail you're posting (fingers, hair, expression). A lot of kids at this age are doing 'tadpole' people - head with legs and arms coming directly off the side.
post #19 of 23
This PBS sight gives a good idea about what's typical in many developemental areas. Remember when asking about developement on MDC you are getting a sampling from a self selected population of mothers who believe in questioning mainstream parenting advice and enjoy spending their spare time typing at each other, so our children are not a representative sampling.
post #20 of 23
Yeah, I think 3.5 is the age. Abby drew a mama with a baby in her tummy the other day, it was really cute.
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