Some of the most amazing artwork is abstract art. Abstract art allows for the free expression of feelings and uses colors to create the emotions. Art is used as a therapy for children because of how it facilitates self-expression. My children love to express themselves, but sometimes struggle doing so. We practiced this essential skill with an art experience involving open line drawing. This was a great experience and something that my normally hyperactive children settled right down to do. It’s simple to set up and allows for great creativity. That’s why this Art in Action is O is for open line drawing.
Open line drawing is a drawing concept where that involves creating shapes that aren’t closed. The line is continuous, and never touches itself. The line can be twisty, loopy, and squirmy – it just must never cross itself. This technique allows for fabulous artwork and is a great way to practice fine motor skills.
Blank paper, such as typing paper
Crayons or colored pencils
First, explain to the children that they are going to draw shapes without every crossing the lines they have drawn. Talk to them about how this line is going to be any form they want it to be – as long as it doesn’t touch a part of it that has already been drawn. Also, this drawing will be done with one continuous line.
Next, talk about ways colors and shapes communicate feelings in the person observing the art. Also, talk about how colors can highlight that feeling or diminish that feeling. For example, reds usually are seen as strong or angry; blues are usually understood to mean calm or sad; yellows are usually seen as happy or exciting.
Once these concepts have been discussed, it’s time to start the activity. Have the children start drawing their shapes. Remind them that the lines should not touch each other or cross each other. Encourage the children to fill their paper up with squiggles. The more squiggles on the page, the more fun the paper will be to color. After the line is drawn, encourage the children to color their pictures. This may take a while, or even two sittings to complete – depending on the attention spans of the children.
My preschoolers were very engaged by this activity. They enjoyed the designs they were able to make and color. The open line drawing was such a fun activity that all of my older children spent hours the next weekend making their own pictures.
This was a fantastic activity to do as a family. I loved how my children explored the concept of inside versus outside the lines. I had one child say, “It doesn’t really matter how I color, because there’s no inside or outside of lines.” I thought that was a very interesting way of thinking about the activity and art.