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Running Head: MARK MAKING AND BIG IDEAS

Mark Making and Communicating Big Ideas in Early Childhood Art Education
Amanda C. Heflin
University of Missouri

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES


Mark Making and Communicating Big Ideas in Early Childhood Art Education
Every child is an artist-Picasso. As Picasso so elegantly stated every child and

everyone is an artist. As an early childhood educator I wanted to investigate how children


as artist, communicate big ideas and feelings through mark making. Then examine the
artists mark makings to find their developmentally stages. This is important to do as an
early childhood teacher because looking at an students work can show the artist motor
development, social development, cognitive development, and language inquiry stages.
Before collecting data and analyzing the childrens artwork I hypothesized that my early
childhood artist would be just discovering mark making and how they could use it to
communicate ideas. I believed I would discover that all of the artists are just developing
in the areas listed above. Such as the students social, motor, cognitive, and language
development. Also I hypothesized that my young artist would be open to and enjoy
communicating through art.
Method
To collect the data I needed to analyze mark making and communicating big
ideas in early childhood students; I went to the CDL, Child Development Lab at the
University of Missouri. I went to the CDL every Monday, 11-11:30, in the fall
semester of 2014. I went to the Green Door, which had students the age of three to
four year old. When I went to the CDL I worked with three students all the age of
three. I would give the children the opportunity to draw multiple drawings with
crayons, markers, or pencils on white paper. I allowed the students to draw and
represent whatever they wanted and then would ask them after what they drew. I
would allow the students to draw as much or as little as they wanted. The students

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES


could keep their drawings or could allow me to collect the data in my smash book:
which I would then analysis later in private with different scholarly articles.
Findings
I first began looking at my findings by analyzing two of my artists works; R.
and M. one boy and one girl both the age of three. The very first day I began my
research, I told the students to draw whatever came to mind. M. drew multiple

circular motions with the colors pink and purple; her favorite colors. She stated that
this was a treasure map. I was shocked at her age she knew what a map was. I asked
her what is a map? and M. stated A map tells you where to go, takes you to
treasure. She then took her map and grabbed a friend and went in look for treasure.
I later asked the teacher about her knowledge on maps. The teacher stated that M.
has a brother who was in red door but was now in Kindergarten. She stated M. and
her brother would make maps together and search for treasure. When looking at
Lowenfeldian stages I noticed that this child, when looking only at this piece of
artwork, would be considered in the scribbling stage. The scribbling stage is usually
the beginnings of self-expression and starts around the age of two to four years old.
(Kellogg R. 1970). When looking at this first piece of artwork from M. I noticed that
she made repeated motions, circular ones, can copy a circle, and relate marks to
things known (Lowenfeldian, 1970 pg. 474). Also from Kellogg, R. Analyzing
Childrens Art, 1970 under the basic scribbles I noticed that M. used scribble
seventeen; multiple-line circumference circles.

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

When looking at R.s first work of art I noticed that R.s work of art is very
similar to M.s first piece. I would even say based on their first pieces of art that they
are both in the same stage according to the Lowenfeldian stages, scribbling stage.
R.s first drawing was of a fire truck. I noticed that he had a fire truck on his shirt. I
asked him if he liked trucks. He responded by stating that he loved trucks and made
multiple truck sounds such as vroom- vroom. He used the color blue, his favorite
color. After drawing his first piece he then went off to play in the dirt with another
student pretending to be dump trucks. When looking at R.s first piece of art I would
say that according to Lowenfeldian stages he would also be in the scribbling stage.
R. had repeated motions, can copy a circle, related the marks to things known, and
had a greater variety of lines. (Lowenfeldian, 1970 pg. 474). When looking at the
Beginning Stages of Visual Expression of Young Children I would say that M.s
artwork has the characteristics of repetition of Shapes. She had repeated circular
shapes. (Visual Expression of Young Children, pg.1)

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

The next time I went to the CDL to collect art I noticed that my students were
maybe in a different stage then I thought or were in-between stages. R. drew
multiple pieces of artwork for me that were motorcycles, fire trucks, and cars. I
noticed in each of his drawings that I would now say under the Lowenfeldian stages,
his artwork now could be considered under the preschematic stage; he has multiple
geometric shapes, can copy a square, objects seem to float around, and objects
drawn are not related to one another. When looking at the Beginning Stages of
Visual Expression of Young Children I would say that R.s artwork would have
characteristics of conscious outlining of shapes. He was able to draw crude shapes
as well as repetition of circular motions. This characteristic shows me that he has
developed greater muscle control. (Visual Expression of Young Children, pg.2)

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

When looking at M.s artwork I would also say that her new pieces of work
would now lead me to believe that she is in the preschematic stage or in between
stages, when looking at Lowenfeldian stages. She drew multiple drawings each week
I came to the CDL of her brother, mother, and her. Her drawings show that objects
tend to float around the page, size of objects not in proportion to one another,
gradual inclusion of arms and body, and people looking at the viewer.
(Lowenfeldian, 1970 pg. 475). When looking at the Beginning Stages of Visual
Expression of Young Children I would say that M.s artwork here shows
characteristics of combining shapes to make simple symbols. The child attaches
appendages to suns and mandalas to make simple symbols; that is, forms to which
he or she attaches meanings. (Visual Expression of Young Children, pg.3)

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

The last two pieces of artwork I analyzed was a scripted art drawing. I asked
each of my students to draw a self-portrait. When looking at my artists drawings I
would again say that my students might be in between stages; the preschematic and
scribbling stages. M.s drawing was almost identical to the drawings above of her
family and her, except that she only drew one person, herself. R.s drawing of
himself I feel might have been too complicated for him or he might have felt
uncomfortable doing this. I felt like this because his previous drawing indicated a
growth in his ability. He seemed to be moving or be in-between the scribble stage
and the preschematic stage. Now his self-portrait instead of following this growth
and being in the preschematic stage as his other drawings were was now leaning
more to the scribble stage. This showed me that R. might be in between stages and if
he felt uncomfortable drawing himself might have reverted back to the scribbling
stage; somewhere he felt comfortable. I know when I asked him if he could draw me
a picture of himself he was very hesitant and kept shaking his head no. He later

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES


drew multiple circles; stating that this was his head and his self-portrait. His
drawing showed that he returned to previous repeated motions; such as circular

motions. Also when looking at Art in Early Childhood, Maryland Institute College of
Art, A Rubric for Understanding Early Steps in Drawing Development I would say
that Ms artwork is in stage one, single shape plus lines. Her people are made up of a
single shape, circle and links connected to it.

Conclusion:
My findings through out this investigation showed me that early artists are
just developing their skills in how to convey a message through art. These young
artists are still developing motor development skills and therefore are just
beginning to explore in art making and mark making to convey big ideas. You can
see in my finding that my students are still working on fine motor control. My
findings showed me that young artist will grow, be in-between developmental

MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

stages, and may revert back to previous stages. Overall I learned that art is all about
experiencing and practicing mark making and how to convey a message.
All of my findings I found from my early artists showed me how important
art is for children. Not only does art help childrens fine and gross motor
development but it also helps in my other areas of development. I saw how art
could help language development. My young artists had to grow in their language
development when describing their art; thus improving their vocabulary. My
students used art as a way of communication. They understood that not only could
they communicate through words but also through art/picture. We say this
especially with M. who created a map and then used her map with a friend to go find
treasure. I also realized how art also developed my students cognitive development.
My students had to problem solve how they wanted to go about creating their art,
they had to make key decision-making skills when it came to their art, and lastly
they sometimes drew about things they remembered all of this helping their
cognitive development. With all that art can do to help develop major skills for
children it I feel that it should be integrated throughout the regular classroom.
Overall, I would recommend to other early childhood educators that when
working with young artists they should allow students to express in their own ways
while scaffolding them to grow developmentally. I would allow my students
multiple materials to work with and ample time with the materials. Finally I teach
my students the value of art and how it can be used to communicate.

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MARK MAKING AND BIG IDES

References
Art in Early Childhood, Maryland Institute College of Art, A Rubric for
Understanding Early Steps in Drawing Development
Brittain, W., & Lowenfeld, V. (1970). Creative and Mental Growth.
Kellogg, R. (1970). Analyzing Children's Art.
Visual Expression of Young Children, pg.3.