My son does a reasonable amount of painting, drawing etc. although his main love is sport.

However everything he produces is abstract. It's always patches of different colour. His technique has changed over the past couple of years, so each work looks unique and is not necessarily rushed. However most of his class mates / peer group (he is in child care) who are the same age can draw houses and birds and trees etc.

My son has only ever on one occasion painted a picture, which was of me, that wasn't abstract. And it was as good as his class mates.

Also if you ask him to explain his art he has a consistent story with each one. So if it's a dinosaur eating cucumbers, if you ask him in 3 months time it's still a dinosaur eating cucumbers.

I've never told him his style is wrong or that he should be like other kids. But I am concerned that he may be missing out on developing hand writing skills.

Is this just an example of uniqueness or should I be encouraging my son to draw more concrete things like birds and houses? This would mean having to spend extra time to make him do it as he would rather be outside kicking a ball.

  • How old is he now? Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 12:21
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    Handwriting skills are seriously overrated. Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 12:34
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    @Lennart I strongly disagree with you there -- the ability to write easily and legibly has a huge correlation with general literacy.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 20:35
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    @torengb - Just turned 4
    – going
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 22:16
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    @HedgeMage: Legibly to whom? in any case: [Citation needed]. I could read at five, always read well and a lot, but my hand writing is ugly. I think you get cause and effect backwards. If you can't read well, then you will not be able to write well. But I don't think the opposite is true. Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


If your son wants to learn to draw realistically, he can choose to do it at any time in his life. That's a skill that anyone can learn. So there's no particular reason to try to make him draw the world the way you see it right now. If anything, you risk making him hate drawing and painting. His creativity is a wonderful thing.

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." -- Pablo Picasso

  • Upvoted for truth. I'd say that it's a good sign if he's able to grasp abstract concepts and express himself thusly, but that's just my $0.02.
    – eckza
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 13:13
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    I've never seen any indication that drawing/painting/etc have any correlation with writing ability.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 20:36
  • I think its reasonable to associate both with fine motor skills, but I would agree that there is no direct correlation between the two. I can draw quite well but my handwriting is atrocious.
    – philosodad
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 14:12

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