“Children’s Art” by Miriam Lindstrom

If you can get your hands on a copy of this little book, originally published in 1957, you are in for an illuminating read. Described as tracing “the normal development of visualization in children between the ages of two and fifteen…from the earliest scibble and chance forms, through the first schematic formulae, to pictures that show evidence of creative organization…”, I found this passage on page 11 to be of particular interest:

Through visual statement, mysteries reach some resolution, reality takes a tangible form, fantasy becomes stated and thereby less confusing, and a small person gains some measure of mastery over the vague but powerful forces that he feels govern his life and his world. To the extent that magic, animism, and super-naturalism are one’s explanations for causes and effects, some method of exorcism is essential until more rational interpretations supply a more comfortable logic to live by. (Adults, who seldom give themselves so completely to any experience as little children do, could not stand the emotional wear and tear of living as they do, so intensely, so passionately, so without perspective or philosophy to sustain them beyond moments regarded not as transitory but as all of life.)”

For me, as an illustrator, the “exorcism” I experience in the act of drawing continues to sustain me through a life which can still feel at times completely without logic and rational interpretation. The trick now is to offer something up creatively that is as unforced and genuine as those “earliest scribbles and chance forms”.