“Form Drawing”

Rick & Jennifer Tan present a Visual workshop to discuss the ins and out of Form Drawing.

Jennifer is a musician, fiber artist, prenatal yoga instructor, aromatherapist, wedding officiant and educator. Retired from service as an elementary school principal, she has homeschooled her children in a Waldorf-inspired environment and is an adjunct university professor. Jennifer consults homeschooling families, and runs two Etsy shops, providing families with fiber arts supplies.

Rick is a musician, artist, wedding officiant and Waldorf teacher.  He currently is teaching at Davis Waldorf School.  He has a Medical Doctorate, a BA in biological sciences, and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Steiner College.  Rick spent ten years at home with the children and was a homeschooling parent.

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Workshop Replay has expired

Below are a list of questions and answers that came through during the call:

Sara – Carmichael

How would you introduce this to a child in the 4th year who has no previous waldorf education?

***Waldorf education usually starts form drawing in Grade 1, around the age of 7.  If you are referring to a 4-year old, I would wait.  If you are referring to a 4th grader, then start as you would with a 1st grader with simply drawing straight and curved lines, then running forms.  Start with one of the books on our list for sequential forms.  If the 4th grader is struggling with handwriting, we recommend also doing The Write Approach workbook 3-4 days/week.

Liz – England

Class 3 forms – what sort of forms would go well with a farming block please

***Forms that look like plants or flowers, similar to the slide that we showed where I was talking about incorporating form drawing with botany.  3 and 4-leaf clovers, 5 and 6-petal flowers.  Also, running forms that feature square (like castle turrets) and triangle (like mountain peaks) shapes that would then lead to drawing houses and buildings.  In our home, we did a block on gardening and created forms that looked like roots and veggies, such as carrots.

Time and measurement block – for Class 3 – again what sort of forms would you recommend please?

***All running forms are wonderful for measurement, as you can count the number of bumps or peaks (or whatever is featured in the form).  You can count as you draw, both forwards and backwards.  Then, measure the space between the forms in inches and centimeters.  You can also make light dots on the chalkboard or paper a certain distance apart, like a straight line of dots 1 inch apart.  Then, show the running form so that each time it peaks or curves, that happens on the dot.  This will incorporate measurement and also help with making forms neat and even.  A standing form of a large circle with a cross through it can then be turned into a time chart showing the four seasons, the equinoxes and solstices, directions, or even a time clock.

How do you check the position of the body for grip please?
***Here is a link to a picture showing proper pencil grip for a right-handed child:  Posture should not be stiff or hunched over, but a relaxed position that keeps the shoulder blades drawn down a bit, the tailbone tucked under, and the head/neck relaxed.  Yoga before writing can help with posture.

Do you usually draw an outline of the form for the child?
***We usually draw the form in stages on a separate piece of paper or chalkboard, and then the child imitates on his/her own paper or chalkboard.  For a child with fine motor or other developmental issues, hand-over-hand drawing with the child, or drawing it first and having the child trace your form could be beneficial.

Lily – Rochester, ny

do you tell this story without lifting the chalk/pencil etc?
***As I’m telling the story, I am drawing until the form is done.  Sometimes there is a pause in the story and I’m still drawing.  I only lift the chalk or pencil if I’m done with the form.  Sometimes, this takes practice!  If the forms are a little harder, like the mushroom one that we featured, I practice it ahead of time and I also practice it while telling the story before I do it with the children.

Amanda – Laguna Beach

when she speaks about “the very young child or older child” what ages does she refer to?
***Young child in regards to form drawing is Grade 1-3 (ages 6-9).  Older child is Grade 4-8 or higher.  Forms become more complex and are sometimes done less frequently with older children.

bronte – berthoud

at what age do kids have trouble with form drawing ?
***Some children struggle at age 6/7.  If this occurs at home, wait until the child is closer to 7 before trying again.  By 7, most children should be able to create straight and curved lines, a precursor to drawing letters and numbers which usually occur next.  If an older child is struggling with form drawing, it could be because the concept is new, because there are fine motor issues, or because of grip/posture issues.  Watch the grip and posture, work on fine motor skills (handwork, playing with small objects), and start with simple forms.  Just doing a lemniscate (sideways figure eight) over and over can be very soothing for children and a nice to way to begin a lesson on form drawing or writing.