Sketchbook Thursday: Unlock your creativity by sketching with your child

Sketchbook Thursday: Unlock your creativity by sketching with your child

Many serendipitous benefits, as any mama knows, come with raising children. I’ve never had a problem with obesity, for example (too much running around). I am never, ever bored (hello). I learn new things every day, even if I’m not really keen on them (“Mom, let’s build a small bomb! . . “ ). If I get down or blue, it can’t possibly last long (too many kiddos around to focus on my troubles). I probably take better care of myself (I wanna be around to bounce my grandbabies, you know). And my creativity, naturally, is constantly bolstered (hence, this post).

I realized one day–during church, no less–that any time I sat down to draw with little Mack, I was surprised and more pleased with what happened on the page in front of me, than when I drew by myself. (And, by the way, I was listening . . . I actually listen better when I can doodle and/or take notes.)

I’m not sure why this is so, but I can enjoy it, nevertheless. There’s probably a psychological reason for this phenomenon, but I’ve never read anything about it. My hypothesis? When I am drawing with little Mack, I’m not fearful of drawing something badly. I’m relaxed and happy and having fun, and it shows in what I draw. Plus, I am fueled by his childish creativity. Little Mack’s creativity has no bounds nor fear. I envy him.


Years ago I started drawing with little Mack during church, to keep him busy and (more importantly) quiet. I don’t know why, but we landed on drawing fish. Our fish were fantastically elegant and yet vicious creatures, and we drew lines of them across our church bulletins, each one more amazing and creative in its methods of destroying the next one in line. (Once again–I was listening.) We had sword-wielding, bomb-throwing, poison dart-tossing fish grinning maniacally and going after their opponents. We drew every menace you can imagine: guillotines. Trapdoors. Harpoons. Tornadoes. It was pretty amazing what imaginary violence we could produce on our pages, while sitting quietly (and while listening) in church.

With my Sketchbook Thursday feature, I’ve had the privilege of remembering how much I absolutely love to sit and draw. One evening little Mack was sitting on the couch in the living room, drawing, and I sat down to draw with him. He was drawing these rather awful monsters in his sketchbook, and was having trouble with the fingers of the beasts, or something, and asked me for my help. We ended up spending the next half an hour drawing and giggling and hooting over this silly drawing.

You probably had to be there, to get the joke of this drawing. I'm not sure what it was, myself, now.

You probably had to be there, to get the joke of this drawing. I’m not sure what it was, myself, now.

Any parent will agree that it’s so wonderful to find something that you can do with your child, that increases the love you have for each other, and the time that you can spend together. The days go slowly, as they say, but the years go fast. It is such a blessing to me that little Mack loves to draw.

There are lots of reasons to draw with your child, especially if you’re interested in the side-benefit of improving your own creativity.

  1. It’ll improve both your creativity and that of the child that you are drawing with, as well. Your good ideas will rub off on him, and vice-versa. You teach each other.
  2. It’s a non screen-based activity, which is a plus in our increasingly screen-dependent culture.
  3. You’ll build your sketching skills while you’re spending time with your child.
  4. You’ll reinforce a good daily habit for your child to learn.
  5. It’s pure fun!


Interested in doing some sketching with your child, but unsure of where to start? Here’s my suggestion: sit down with sharpened pencils and sketchbooks (and no clock or screen!) and draw what he or she is interested in at the moment: cars–fish–robots–cats–whatever. Then slowly introduce other things to sketch, too: the natural world. Interesting spiders. Dead things. Each other. If you commit to doing this for a few minutes each day, before long you’ll both have a sketchbook full of wonderful drawings, and a heart full of pleasant memories of time spent together, doing something you love, to boot. Win-win!!

Thank you for reading, Gentle Reader. We chat about some aspect of sketching in this space nearly every Thursday. Enter your email address in the box above, so you don’t miss a single one! *blessings*