The message of this book is a simple one: children learn to draw by acquiring increasingly complex and effective drawing rules. In this regard, learning to draw is like learning a language, and as with language children use these rules creatively, making infinite use of finite means. Learning to draw is thus, like learning a language, one of the major achievements of the human mind.

Theories of perception developed in the second half of the 20th century enable us to construct a new theory of children's drawings that can account for their many strange features. Earlier accounts contained valuable insights, but recent advances in the fields of language, vision, philosophy, and artificial intelligence now make it possible to resolve the many contradictions and confusions inherent in these early writings.

John Willats has written a book that is accessible to psychologists, artists, primary and junior schoolteachers, and parents of both gifted and normal children.

chapter 1|20 pages


part |2 pages

Part One: Studying Children's Drawings

chapter 2|22 pages

Contradictions and Confusions

chapter 3|12 pages

In the Beginning

chapter 4|22 pages

The Early Years

chapter 5|19 pages

Where Do We Go From Here?

chapter 6|23 pages


chapter 7|22 pages

Lines, Line Junctions, and Perspective

part |2 pages

Part Two: Mental Processes

chapter 9|18 pages

The Drawing Process

part |2 pages

Part Three: Child Art

chapter 10|22 pages

Children as Artists

chapter 11|17 pages

Art Education

chapter 12|10 pages

Summing Up