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Drawing with kids: 5 artists on how to get creative in quarantine times [longread]



Due to the coronavirus, you’ll probably be drawing with your kids more often, right now. Want to up, both your own as well your kids’ creative skills? We asked some of the most exciting artists around to share some tips about drawing with kids. For today, artists Mike Perry, Ricardo Cavolo, Bodil Jane, Hedof and Ginny Ramkisoen are your art teachers!

Artists Mike Perry, Ricardo Cavolo, Bodil Jane, Hedof and Ginny Ramkisoen (Studio Stardust) live in different parts of the world. But they have one thing in common: they designed a Face This T-shirt by using Indonesian kids’ drawings. And this makes them the perfect artists to get advice from, when it comes to drawing with kids. Within this article the artists share their insights on how drawing with your kids can be fun and inspiring. 

Drawing with kids tips from Ricardo Cavolo

Photo: Ricardo Cavolo’s visuals blend folk art with pop culture subjects

Artist Ricardo Cavolo is renowned for his vivid motifs. Hypebeast: ‘They blend folk art with pop culture subjects’. He lives in Spain which is ‘pretty bad’. Ricardo explains: ‘We are living in one of the worst situations regarding the Covid 19 crisis. Thousands of dead people. Overcrowded hospitals. Confined at home already for three weeks. Not easy at all.’ Fortunately, he and his family are OK.

How kids inspire Ricardo Cavolo

When drawing with kids, pay attention, because kids can teach you things as well. Ricardo explains: ‘For an artist, when a kid draws is always a lesson, because they are free to do whatever they want. They are not restricted. And when you are an adult, society and yourself create rules about how to do things. Also, the non academic way of creating from kids is always what most artists want for themselves. A lot of artists love kids art as a lesson. The freedom, the non academic process and the ingenuousness are really powerful. And something pretty basic, they create without minding the market, just for fun. Not like artists.’

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Photo: Ricardo Cavolo’s son working on a new master piece…

Ricardo Cavolo’s tips:

‘I think, if kids have a nice background in terms of imagination, it’s gonna help them a lot to be able to create stories. Also a variety of materials can be important, as they feel free to create with the process they feel more comfortable. And last but not least: Freedom, freedom, freedom!!!’

Ricardo Cavolo’s Face This T-shirt

In 2018, Ricardo Cavolo designed a T-shirt for us, using a drawing made by eleven year old girl Hawanna from Lombok. Ricardo recalls: ‘It was a beautiful experience. To me, kids’ art can be as elevated as the masters from history of art. I’m really into that rawness and wild way of working. I just wanted to add some details and colors to the original drawing. I didn’t want to change the structure of the original drawing. So we can enjoy the kid’s art, and just add some details as satellites.’ The Ricardo Cavolo x Face This T-shirt raises funds for Hawannah’s school on Lombok, Indonesia.

Follow Ricardo Cavolo on Instagram or check out his website.

Drawing with kids tips from Bodil Jane

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Photo: Bodil Jane in her Amsterdam based studio

According to Its Nice That, Bodil’s illustrations are ‘ornate, exotic and really very lovely’. And we couldn’t agree more. Fortunately Bodil has no need to change the way she works, due to Covid-19. She lives in Amsterdam and explains: ‘We’re in what our prime minister calls an “intelligent lockdown”. Meaning that we’re advised to stay in and work at home as much as we can. But we can still go outside as much as we think is responsible. Keeping 1.5 metres distant of course. Personally I still go to my studio. I have the space for myself and it’s only a 10 minute bike ride. It’s still okay to do that and it keeps me sane. Tried to work at home for about a week, but I don’t get as much done as in my studio.’

How adults can learn from kids

When it comes to drawing with kids, Bodil feels kids can teach her to be more OK with things not being perfect. Bodil: ‘I think kids don’t feel as much pressure as we do, for the drawing to become something amazing. I think they mainly care about having a good time while making it. That’s something that I also try to incorporate a lot more in my personal work. Not really caring about the result that much (or plans to make money from the drawing) but focussing more on having a nice time when creating. This gives more space to experiment and it’s a good way to practise not judging yourself all the time and not always being result minded. I love how kids are okay with things not being perfect. Perfection is pretty boring!’

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Photo: ‘Kids mainly care about having a good time while making a drawing’

Bodil Jane’s tips

‘I love doing drawing games with kids. For example: You give your child a piece of paper. With a blue marker or pen you scribble a random doodle line. Almost with your eyes closed. Now your child can make something of it with another colored marker or pen. It’s like finding shapes in the clouds. But this time your child can make a face, zebra or tree from your scribble by adding some new lines. Another one I love is making a modern portrait. Sit at the table together with your child. Both of you have a piece of paper and some kind of pen or colored pencil. Now you make a portrait of each other. But the funny thing is: you can’t look at the paper. Only at each other. This will be a super beautiful abstract portrait! Another portrait assignment: Draw each others portrait, you can look now, but your pen can’t leave the paper. The whole portrait exists out of one line.’

Bodil Jane’s Face This T-shirt

We were very honoured Bodil was willing to design a Face This T-shirt. Luckily, Bodil also enjoyed the experience: ‘I liked it a lot! I worked with the 9 year old Salsabila from Lombok. I received her drawing and tried to translate it into my own style. But I tried to keep some of her stuff in it. Like her signature birds and funny shaped clouds. She loves the beach and me too!’ The Bodil Jane x Salsabila Face This T-shirt raises funds to renovate Salsabila’s school which was badly affected by the Lombok earthquakes of 2018. 

Follow Bodil Jane on Instagram or check out her website.

Drawing with kids tips from Hedof

Hedof street artist
Photo: Hedof in his studio working on a drawing for Ayu (10) from Lombok, Indonesia

Just like Bodil Jane, artist Hedof is located in The Netherlands. So Hedof is living in an intelligent lock down world as well. ‘It means we can still go outside to exercise and get some fresh air, which is nice. Especially with 2 small kids. Being at home all the time with my family is pretty intense, but also very valuable. I am spending so much more time with my wife and kids right now.’

Drawing with his kids

Drawing with kids is something Hedof can do quite more often right now. Hedof: ‘Lotta, who just turned 2 is too young to draw anything specific. But I can definitely see she likes the activity. James, who is five is getting better at drawing everyday but he is not super into it. He enjoys playing with Lego and K’nex more. Very much into building symmetric abstract structures which is very cool to see. Overall both kids seem very into crafts and creativity and that makes me very happy and inspired to think of cool ways to stimulate their needs, without pushing them too much.’

Kids can teach us to be more confident

While drawing with kids, there is a lesson or two we can learn from these little artists. Hedof explains: ‘I think the best way to improve your drawing skills is to be more confident and take things how they are. I am most certainly not the best drawer but I really believe in my drawings and what I do. So when I make an illustration, I just try to not be afraid and keep my pencil moving. When I have finished this, I’ll improve if needed but try to keep the original look and feel as much as i can, and take it into the computer. I think kids have this too. They just begin and see where they end up. The other day my son showed me his latest creation: a seal stuck in a jungle gym hahaha. I definitely think that he didn’t start out that way but he was proud of the outcome nevertheless.’

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Photo: Hedof’s son James working on his new artwork

Hedof’s tips

‘Try not to interfere too much, don’t tell them what to draw, watch at a distance and maybe keep them talking about something else so they get into a doodle kind of state. Also, try to invest in decent materials. real crayons, real markers. Not the crazy expensive ones for professionals, but no cheap fake stuff either. I always get so bummed out when kids get those sad crayons in a restaurant. You can try them as long and hard as they want but you won’t see anything on your paper. And finally: keep things FUN, it is not the end result that counts, it is the activity. Try to let them amaze themselves. Also if you want to steer them in any way, tell them to consider them what they are doing. tell them to move slow, consider their lines more. It is just like writing. If you move slowly the letters look way nicer than if you try to go fast. Go slow, but don’t stop drawing.’

Hedof’s Face This T-shirt

The T-shirt Hedof designed for our 2019 collection was a real eye catcher. In the T-shirt design, you can see he really enjoyed the process of working with kids’ drawings. Hedof: ‘Yes! That was so much fun. I really liked the project and it felt almost wrong to interfere with their creativity. So that’s why I only thought of an overall structure to place Ayu’s drawing in. Now that the sun is shining more and more every day, it is time to actually wear the shirt, yay!’ The Hedof x Ayu x Face This T-shirt is raising funds to renovate Ayu’s school which was badly affected by the Lombok earthquakes of 2018. Watch the video to see how the T-shirt was created:

Follow Hedof on Instagram or check out his website.

Drawing with kids tips from Mike Perry

Mike Perry
Photo: Mike Perry in his studio, located in New York City

Mike Perry is an artist living in New York City: one of the most infected cities in the world right now. But Mike is doing relatively well: ‘New York is quiet and somber. We are all trying our best to stay positive and support each other.’ Mike’s work is colorful and playful. Did you watch the Comedy Central TV series ‘Broad City’? Mike created the trippy animations for it. And that even got him an Emmy Award for best animation.

Scribble together

‘Sometimes when I’m making a drawing with kids we just get into scribbling. And then I try and turn their scribble into a funny face or a dinosaur. This is a game I played with myself. Scribble, look at the drawing, let my imagination run wild and turn the scribble into something.’

Enjoy the process

‘To me the most important thing to try and remember when making a drawing is to have fun and enjoy the process. When you make a piece of art there are so many stages where the piece does not look good. This is the process. It is like baking bread: you would not eat a chunk of dough, you need the final bread to be baked in order to enjoy it.’

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Photo: This is a drawing Mike did after a friends kid made a mess on the page. You can see his hand print in blue on the left side. 

Extra thoughts

Mike also wants to point out that: ‘having fun should be your top priority when you’re drawing with kids. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. Just try and enjoy the process.’

Mike Perry’s Face This T-shirt

Mike Perry designed us a Face This T-shirt, using a drawing made by Shafa (8) from Lombok. ‘The experience was simple and fun. I approached it like I approach most things. With an open mind and trust in the process.’ The Mike Perry x Shafa T-shirt generates funds to renovate Shafa’s school which was badly affected after the 2018 earthquakes on Lombok.

Follow Mike Perry on Instagram or check out his website.

Drawing with kids tips from Ginny Ramkisoen [Studio Stardust]

Photo: ‘Tell kids there are no boundaries’

Just like Bodil Jane and Hedof, artist Ginny Ramkisoen from Studio Stardust, is living in The Netherlands. Ginny shares her thoughts on the current situation: ‘A large amount of the population decided to self quarantine due to the virus. The streets are empty. Most shops are closed. All the restaurants are closed except for takeaway or delivery. Almost nobody is seeing friends and family. It’s weird, but necessary! Hopefully this virus will be contained within a few months.’

How kids inspire Ginny

For Ginny, drawing with kids is helpful and inspiring. ‘Kids don’t create in limitations and expectations,’ explains Ginny. ‘They just create. That is the biggest form of inspiration for me. There are no rules in making art. Just do whatever you feel is right. That is exactly what little kids do and I often see art pieces made by them that I would instantly hang on my walls.’

Ginny’s tips

Ginny feels kids should be encouraged to just start drawing and use their imagination: ‘Tell them there are no boundaries and they can make whatever they feel like. Also: give them as many different materials as possible, like pencils, markers, glitter pens, whatever stimulates their imagination!’ And last but not least: ‘Praise them for everything they create. Hang it on a wall!’

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Photo: ‘Give kids as many different materials as possible, like pencils, markers, glitter pens, whatever stimulates their imagination!’

Ginny Ramkisoen’s Face This T-shirt

The Face This T-shirt Ginny designed was an excellent piece of the 2019 collection. Ginny designed a tee using three different kids’ drawings from Gia (12), Salsabila (9) and Ayu (9). Ginny recalls: ‘Well that was one of the most fun assignments I ever got. My drawings are only as good as the inspiration they originated from. Being able to create art with the help of kids on the other side of the globe is awesome. Together we created something cool and I wanted it to be something they also would love to wear themselves.’ The Studio Stardust x Face This T-shirt is raising funds to renovate the kids’ school which was affected by the Lombok earthquakes of 2018.

Follow Ginny’s art on Studio Stardust’s Instagram or check out her website.

Face This foundation

Picasso, Keith Haring and Damien Hirst were all heavily inspired by how kids create art. Picasso once said: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’. At Face This we like to think we have found a solution for Pablo’s problem: we let artists from all over the world collaborate with Indonesian school kids. The artwork that comes out of this collab is printed on T-shirts and the proceeds of the tees are being used to improve the kids’ schools. Go shop a tee to do some good!



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