Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drawing - MyPoWriYe #119

Oak Leaf
by Amy LV

The more I write and teach writing, the more I come to believe in the power of all arts to help us see and become.  Yesterday, working with kindergarten teachers in the Iroquois Central School District, teachers shared ways they have taught children about drawing and expressing themselves through pictures.  If you teach primary grades, these two books will help you with this tremendously.

 Katie Wood Ray's newest book, IN PICTURES AND IN WORDS, teaches us and our students how to explore illustrations to better understand writing craft.  Through a study of picture books, we learn how artists and writers use different points of view, pull in closely, create scenes, and much more.  Katie walks us through several possible picture-lessons and includes much student work and many literature recommendations.

This book, TALKING, DRAWING, WRITING, by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe teaches us how we can work with our students to create a community around storytelling, drawing, and writing.  Based on a study of kindergarteners and how they learn to write through talking, drawing, and then writing, Martha and Mary Ellen share stories, lessons, and specific suggestions for working with young writers.

Students - Drawing is so much like writing.  When you sit with a pad and pencil and study your cat...just trying to get that fur on the page, as fluffy as it is in real life, you are observing like a writer.  When you cock your head to get a good angle on the plant you are sketching, you are watching like a writer.  When you write a poem about your cat, you are an artist.  Artists are writers of images, and writers are artists in words.

Teachers and other grown ups - Hannah Hinchman's LIFE IN HAND: CREATING THE ILLUMINATED JOURNAL, is one for you adults who wish to see more, slow down, and perhaps begin drawing in your own notebook.  When I read this book many years ago, I drew the Oak leaf above in its accompanying journal.  It's true what they say, sometimes to really see something...
we need to draw it.

Today I posted a quote on The Poem Farm's facebook page:

"You are kind to painters...
and I tell you the more I think,
the more I feel that there is nothing
more truly artistic than to love people."
- Vincent VanGogh to his brother

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Hi Amy,

    I love this connection between artists and writers. What a great analogy and like you said, both are truly artists. Often times the students that struggle to get the words on paper are creative in other ways. Artists do look closely at the world around them and at the little things too - valuable advise for any artist. Music seems to be another creative venue for many people young and old.

    Funny thing last night I was reading about a new book related to the powerful connection between doodling and journaling. I am looking forward to reading, Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles. The author is interviewed at Thought you might be interested.

  2. Dear Powerhouse Amy--

    Another great post, and did you notice how your drawing poem echoes Theodore Roethke's poem "The Waking"?

    I wish that drawing came so easy to me...

  3. Heidi,
    Oh, thank you! I do love him, and I love that poem. It is now getting pasted into my notebook for the remembering.
    Drawing is not something that I have ever been so confident about either, but these silly sketches have been a hoot to draw. (I need something else for the post!)