Sunday, 4 October 2009

Une Ménagerie for Max and an Ant Fourmi

I'm sure it's the height of egotism to post my own son's drawings and expect others to be interested in them. But I'm doing it anyway.

Here is Max's drawing of a zoo. What an elephant! There's also a friendly tiger, a giraffe, a butterfly and an 'orange-bottom ant'.

Max is five-years-old, and until about a month or so ago he showed very little inclination to draw anything. And I struggled to hide my disappointment. Not that I pressured him or anything, but our shared time with crayons and paper amounted to me drawing whatever he wanted on demand, and him sobbing 'Daddy, I can't!' if I suggested he do a little picture for me. Now he draws all the time. Imagine how I feel! Imagine how he feels!

I won't pretend that he's showing any great talent. All children draw like this at his age, without fear of error or of empty space. But natural aptitude or not, he will develop his new habit now, and my job is to encourage it as far as it will go and try to prevent it from being trampled on by some misguided teacher with an eraser and marks-out-of-ten.

Some say that we all have a talent for something. Others that there's no such thing. I don't know the truth of it, but I do know that everyone can aspire to draw to a certain extent. Not, it's true, as well as Rembrandt (or this exceptional young man), but anyone who can make a mark can probably make another, better one next time. So if you're reading this and have come through school with the idea that you can't, I say this to you: pick up pen and paper, think back to your fearless, five-year-old self, and then draw an orange-bottom ant.

I bet you can.


  1. Well done, Max! Brilliant zoo animals, I am especially fond of the elephant - it is so detailed - but all of the animals are wonderfully drawn! And so cute! My daughter's eight now but still likes to draw and paint. After seeing this, I might just "publish" her painting! If she approves that is!

    I think it's lovely :)

  2. Great post - I'm forever trying to convince students that they can draw. Great zoo drawings from Max!

  3. Many thanks for the kind comments, Rachel and Gina. I'll read them out to Max -- I think he's already quite proud of this one and all the fuss I've been making of him.

    Note to self: make less fuss.

  4. Ok, so along comes doting granny! I love it! Will Max draw an orange bottomed ant for me? Seriously though, isn't it sad when you lose your inner five year old? Every time you say you can't, it makes it reality...

  5. I'll put in an order for you. What colour bottom would you like?

  6. My Baby!

    You forgot to mention the little windows at the top, so that THE ANIMALS can see the people in the zoo (sic).

  7. Beautiful drawing! The color combinations are so appealing to the eye, the lines on the elephant's legs and that orange-bottomed ant, nice touch. The detail, so smart.

    Well done, Max.

  8. Thanks, Terry. And thanks again to everyone. I showed this to Max and read out your comments. I thought he'd be pretty blasé about seeing his picture on the web, but in fact he was amazed by it. And so pleased with what you said that he rushed off and drew a whole page of colour-bottom ants, some even growing carrots! maybe I'll post one of them soon.

  9. Do the orange-bottom ants light the way for the other animals at night to stop them stubbing their toes as they go pee?
    Or do they simply cheer the other animals up with their cheery coloured btms when they feel a bit down?

  10. OH lovely, lovely. Quite a geometric portrayal of an Elephant- terrific interpretation. And the thinking behind the windows is terrific! Quite 'out of the box' but then, that's where 5 yrs olds live isn't it?
    Very inspiring for the mom of a 2yr old Thomas who won't hold a crayon for more than 3 seconds (unless his canvas is our brand new kitchen cupboards and then he is Rembrandt drawing tractors).

  11. What a lovely amazing elephant, and how good it is to see that Max. is as expressive as you were Thomas when you were his age. Tractors and chickens were your speciality,elephants I dont remember!! Keep up the good work


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