Anytime I tell people what I do they there are usually two kind of responses.
One response is usually the kind that comes from a fellow creative, someone who is also an artist or musician or has some experience being creative. It can be encouraging, or engaged or excited and usually leads into some kind of dialogue around art making.
The other response is much more common and it comes from people who just don't think they're creative.
"I'm not an artist." they say or "I can't draw" or a multitude of variations on this same sentiment.
It saddens me every time.
Because usually when people say with some kind of certainty in their voice that they can't make art, it often means that at some point in their life someone told them their art wasn't good, or they shouldn't do it, or their drawing sucked.
Over the years I've learned that art isn't just about drawing or painting.
In fact art can be a multitude of things and sometimes it can be things that you might never have thought of as art.
Let yourself be open to the possibilities of what art can be and see how this changes your view and your child's understanding of art.
1. Teach them that creativity takes precedence over "good art"- you don't have to be Michelangelo to be considered an artist. There is only a narrow version of art that is concerned with realistic representation and you don't have to be a part of that and neither does your kid.
2. Encourage curiosity- art doesn't have to be about painting or drawing or any of the other mediums. It can be about exploring ideas, asking questions and probing your experience of life with these questions.
3. Never touch their art- of course you can touch it to hang it up or put it on your fridge, but never change something they've done or "fix" it so it looks nicer. This completely underestimates the effort of your child. Instead allow them to create, draw and make an abstract mess that is all theirs.
4. Don't judge- this is the single most important thing that you can do for your child. Don't let yourself judge their work. You can think things in your head that may be judgmental but refrain from saying something like "That tree looks nothing like a real tree" or anything vaguely critical.
This shuts down creativity.
5. Ask questions: it's so helpful in creative development to give kids a platform to talk about their work. Let them explain what they've done in their own words, ask gentle questions and be amazed at the thought that went into their creation.
Begin here, the best way to approach art making for yourself or for your kid is to just be gentle, curious and have fun!