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Development of Early Pictorials
With the excitement of the discovery of early pictorials the child is motivated to continue to explore different ways of rendering the single circled drawing with arms and legs radiating. Now that she has drawn it she must master the formula by repeating the drawing, often varying the parts.

loveUsing her surplus of graphic practiced lines from her prepictorial drawing stage she may add details to her human figure, like scribbles for hair, circles for feet, radials for fingers. She may add more details to the facial features as well, using the same combination of radials and circles for eyes and eyelashes. With each progressive differentiated detail the young artist’s satisfaction grows and her ability to express, to communicate more than the concept of a person standing inspires more specificity.

One question often encountered is, “why do children draw the human with no body, just a simple, single circle with arms and legs attached?” One possible answer is the way the human figure emerges on the page, through a process of gaining physical control of the drawing materials, then gaining conceptual understanding of how to represent symmetry and balance.

Once a system that represents those two characteristics is discovered, she must find some way of differentiating the round form so that there is a top, a bottom, a left and a right on a perfectly symmetrical circle. She does this, by eliminating radials on her sun shape, then she can draw a person with necessary symmetry and balance.

The most important distinguishing marks of the early figure is that it have arms, legs and a face. These details make it human, give it the beginning details of specificity. The child is not trying to duplicate what she sees around her, rather she is trying to discover the idiom of visual communication — that is, inventing a form of communication on the two dimensional drawing surface, which in her experience is not at all like the three dimensional space that people actually walk around in. So she is not trying to draw what she sees. She is trying to invent drawings that carry meaning. She discovers that by varying the density of a line she can make a form appear solid, enclosed, sealed and differentiated from the white background. By varying her line even more she can add details like wavy hair, fingers, toes, ears, and even earrings.

8 year old girl expresses drama of love, Berkeley Child Art Studio.