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Discover your own inner artist

“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands” ~ Michelangelo

Adam art painting

We can all be artists - anyone with the hand-eye coordination to print or write has the pre-requisite skills to draw, it’s just not something we’re usually taught systematically in school.  As you start into the adventure of using art to communicate with your child, it will definitely help if you take steps to increase your confidence in your own artistic abilities. Here are some resources that you might find helpful:

"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by author Betty Edwards (click here for her website). Through a series of practical exercises, Betty’s book helps you to shift your brain “to the right”, allowing you to “see” the world through artist eyes, and teaching your hand to follow what your eye now sees. As you complete the exercises in the book, you will find yourself more sure of your ability to represent the world in pictures.

“Drawing with Children” by author Mona Brookes is also a good reference book. She is the founder of Monart Drawing Schools and her book contains many practical art teaching techniques and exercises specifically designed for working with children.

"Make a World" by children’s author/illustrator Ed Emberley. This book is a “how to” reference that will help you to learn how to represent many ordinary things in a simple visual format. 

Click here for simple instructions on “How to Draw People” in an easy comic strip style.

Drawing for communication is not the same thing as creating “great art” - your goal is to “translate” your child’s world into visual format, so they can begin to understand what’s going on. You will be using cartoon-like drawings because they are a visual abstraction or “short form”, similar to conventional language, allowing you to more quickly represent the “key” parts of a situation, highlighting meaningful objects, actions and interactions.

© Sheila Bell, Speech-Language Pathologist, “Autism and the Art of Communication” ~ 2015