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Why Drawing Is Better Than A Cinnamon Bun

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

How drawing can help kids build their imagination and confidence (and give you a moment of peace).

The clock hits 10am and the gang is ready to go. Two scooters – check, a snack bag – check, a pencil case – check, pads of paper – check and no cinnamon bun in sight. In fact, we're off to do something much more healthy and rewarding, we are heading out to take part in our first SketchCrawl, a global drawing marathon, by Enrico Casarosa.

Now I'm no artist but I came across the concept when I found the beautiful short film “La Luna” and thought it would be both a wonderful way to spend the day with the kids and an intriguing way to get them to open their eyes wider than normal and to see the environment around them through a different lens.

I don’t normally pack an “art bag” along with the picnic blanket. Our visits to the park usually consist of lots of climbing around in the playground, maybe playing a bit of football and possibly some thrill seeking on the zip line. But this time I asked my boys to scoot somewhere they would then like to stop and draw - I’m not going to lie, it felt a bit weird. They stood for a second and spotted the pond at the end of a downhill path ahead of them, so off they sped and there, at the pond, is where we set up our “art station”.

Image by Sylvain Dumond

I was eagerly anticipating taking part in the Sketchcrawl not just to encourage the kids to enjoy the world around them in diverse and novel ways, but also to show them that through art and drawing they can build confidence in their ideas and that it can also act as a calming activity to bring into their every day lives.

And as my kids start to transition from innocent babies to understanding that there are stresses and worries in the world, I want to arm them now with various tools that allow them to find the calm in a hectic world. We are becoming more open about talking about mental health and as kids get involved in social media at ever younger ages - Half of children aged 11 and 12 have a social media profile, despite most platforms' minimum age being 13 - Ofcom, equipping them with the skills to manage feelings and anxiety’s at a really young age will become more and more essential.

So back in the park, by the pond, at our art station, we set out to draw. It was less of a marathon and more of a 400m race but nonetheless we enjoyed ourselves and here is what we learnt:

Image by Sylvain Dumond

There was silence - just for a few minutes, but it was bliss :) With two boys in the house there’s never really a quiet moment; we are normally surrounded by music playing, imaginative stories being made up about dinosaurs and pirates and lets not forget the screaming and shouting. But just for a few minutes there was silence. A few moments to genuinely absorb our surroundings, to look around and simply take deeper breaths and just be.

Drawing together encouraged different types of conversation - we talked about the different colours of the flowers and which crayons to use, we talked about the texture of the grass and even observed how far stretching the branches of the trees were…it was sweet and simple and I could see my son absorbing all the little details like he'd never done before.

Free drawing led to imagination and confidence - A tree, a church, a bird… then suddenly the bird was in a box having a party…the act of just sitting and drawing what was in front of us without time constraints led to my eldest creating imaginative stories on his piece of paper and having fun bringing his ideas to life.

It was the real life "arty" Go Jetters - So one of the first questions I was asked was “where are all the other people who are coming out to draw?” - It’s clear the concept of an online community hasn’t quite sunk in yet. However, showing the boys some of the amazing images of other drawings from around the world was fun. From the Roman Bridge in Salamanca to an Uptown C train in New York, it’s a lovely way to encourage them to become aware that there's an amazing world out there.

Different takes on our surroundings, different details, different sensibilities – Enrico Casarosa

I'm not sure we will be uploading our masterpieces just yet but the act of joining a community and bringing drawing into our everyday activities was novel for us and it’s definitely something I will continue to do. In fact, along with packing snacks and water bottles I will start to bring along the pencil case and sketch pads to encourage little moments of reflection throughout our every day lives. And lets be honest, cinnamon buns are amazing, but that happiness is short lived... we'll cherish these moments with our kids forever and they'll learn skills they can take with them to adulthood.

Image by Sylvain Dumond

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