The Importance of Form Drawing
This blog will not address how to do form drawing or its esoteric benefits to the twelve senses. Donna’s book, Form Drawing for Beginners as well as supplemental books like Form Drawing Grades One through Four by Stine and Schuberth and Barbara Dewey’s Form Drawing for the Homeschooling Parent all adequately cover those topics. What I do want to cover is my personal experience of the benefits of Form Drawing in my family.
One of the observations I had with my sons was that it really seemed to help my oldest son’s ( a left-hander) handwriting. We supplemented our regular form drawing exercises with work from The Write Approach, Book 1 and 2: Form Drawing for Better Handwriting by Gladich and Sassi. He was able to break down the mysteries of connected cursive writing through his efforts at connected Form Drawing. One of my twin sons, who always felt like the “least artistic” one in the family, benefited greatly from slow deliberate work with the line and curve. Interestingly, he eventually excelled at freehand geometric drawing and later compass drawing. Both of these drawing techniques are direct successors to the Form Drawing work done in grades one through four. With the other twin, who was already quite artistic, it seemed to simply strengthen his love of drawing generally. Also, the idea of continuously completing a line form without lifting the pencil seemed to help his rather impulsive nature.
With my oldest daughter, the deliberateness of Form Drawing seemed to strengthen her resolve. She could not be timid about form drawing and it seemed to help her express herself. Of all my children, Form Drawing in grades one through three and then the Celtic knot work in grade four, had a lasting, vitalizing effect on her. She truly absorbed and understood the process and her mastery of the knot work was better than mine. She went on to make complex Celtic knot and Chinese knot jewelry which she successfully sold at craft fairs and through a home craft business. She found the forms fascinating and relatively easy and the results of her work were truly beautiful. She also became quite good at Origami and I think that her ability to clearly see the steps involved in completing a paper form in three dimensions had its origins in form drawing.
In grades six and seven, I taught all my children calligraphy and they illustrated their main lesson books (especially in history) with illuminated letters and various styles of writing. Again, my older daughter excelled at this and even this past Christmas at the age of 18 asked for an advanced calligraphy pen set. She tends to take it out and write to relieve academic stress. I do think that the background in form drawing for all my children helped them to tackle calligraphy successfully.
My youngest daughter never really liked form drawing but I know she benefited from it. She is a highly athletic, movement oriented child who tended to rush a bit with drawing. Form Drawing definitely slowed her down and helped her focus with deliberate care. It seemed to give a sense of order to her energy and she became a much tidier, more relaxed child who grew to enjoy drawing, especially decorating the margins of her main lesson book with various forms. In fact, she grew to be quite a competent artist in her main lesson books and particularly enjoyed drawing maps. She still enjoys experimenting with handwriting styles and she is always the one willing to draw the handmade card with interesting lettering. Her cursive is also quite nice.
As a parent, I did have to overcome my sanguine tendencies to rush through a form. It took me some time to really work through the Celtic knot forms and my oldest daughter quickly surpassed me! However, I found the process satisfying and calming when I persisted. I also think that Form Drawing led me to explore Tone Drawing which I wrote about in a previous blog post. I enjoyed doing the Tone Drawing with all my children, but my youngest daughter really enjoyed it and the examples shown in the blog were her efforts in fourth grade.
I have certainly found Form Drawing a beneficial part of our homeschooling together as a family and I encourage our Christopherus families to discover the joys and challenges of Form Drawing for themselves.