Thursday, 28 September 2017

Minor/Major: Research - The Psychology of Children's Drawings

"Kids Drawings Speak Volumes About Home"

The first article I looked at starts of with the opening statement of "When children reach 6 years old, their drawings matter."

The Article shows a study of how a child's home environment can affect their drawings. Researchers found that children with a more chaotic background of life were more likely to draw themselves at a distance from their parents, isolating themselves in their own images. Or they found that the child was also more likely to draw their parents smaller in comparison to other features in the drawings. The researcher did not blame the parents or caretakers but called this kind of stress in the home a "function of poverty."

"In some cases, these kids drew themselves with drooping arms and indifferent or sad faces. Their drawings were a reflection of this simple fact: Chaos at home meant parents were interacting with them less and, in many cases, the interactions that were happening were shorter and interrupted. As a result, kids ended up with a depreciated sense of self" -  Roger Mills-Koonce

"Interpreting Children's Drawings"

Understand How Children's Drawings Develop

1. Scribbling - At this stage, there is no realism in the pictures, and they are mostly just marks on a page. It might seem like there is nothing there, but sometimes children create something called “fortuitous realism.” This means that when the scribbles are done, you might be able to see certain shapes or drawings in what appeared to be simple marks.

2. Pre-Schematic - At this stage, children are attempting to create things that they see with their eyes. They might draw the simplest things, such as faces, stick figures, cars, trucks, trees, and houses. There are usually no realistic details to these drawings. At the end of the stage, they begin adding in certain things that set their ideas apart, such as flowers in front of a house or clothes on the stick figures.
3. Schematic - In this stage there are many details, and the child might use words and symbols. They might use clever shapes, such as a “v” for birds. They draw as realistically as their skills allow, and they show the picture from a certain viewpoint or perspective. They can often tell a clear story with these drawings.

How to Interpret Children's Drawings

Interpreting a child's drawing means to discover and understand their way of thinking and their emotions. Through the research I have looked at I have found that it is important to not look so deep into the drawings as to over think the meaning but to instead allow the child to explain to you what they have drawn and what it means to them. By asking the right questions you might find answers you were looking for and also unexpected answers.

When looking at this article, I found a 'General Rules' header to interpreting a child's drawing and found the following information helpful in a psychological way to understanding how a child draws.

The General Rules of Interpreting A Child's Drawing
  • Gender and color preference. 
  • Darker colors tend to be used by a child who is more dominant or demanding. 
  • Girls tend to like warmer colours.
  • Boys tend to go for the cooler colours.
  • Green tends to mean a child is more creative.
  • Yellow means happiness.
  • Red is the colour of excitement – and one that most children love to use.
The position on the page can also mean:
  • Those who put drawings on the left side are looking to the past and to a nurturing presence.
  • while the right side is the future and a need to communicate. 
  • Drawings that are at the bottom of the page often mean insecurity or feelings of inadequacy.
When drawing figures, the size matters:
  • Those who are larger are the more dominant personalities
  • Those without arms are non-aggressive. 
  • Those with exaggerated hands might mean someone who is aggressive
  • Tiny feet might mean a child is feeling unstable or off balance.

Many emotions can seep through a child's drawing, for example in the research I found, if a child has recently experienced a family death they can be found to be adding holes into their drawings with family their closest to during that time around the hole. Details can allow some to perceive if the child is living in a happy family in their eyes and how they view each member of their family. Facial expressions on stick figures can for example demonstrate that family members general mood. It can also be noted that these emotions can be an indication of the child's personality of such:
  • Impulsive child: Big figures, no necks, and asymmetry of limbs.
  • Anxious child: Clouds, rain, flying birds, no eyes on the figures
  • Shy child: Short figures, no nose or mouth, tiny figures and arms close to the body
  • Angry child: Big hands and teeth, long arms, crossed eyes
  • Insecure child: Monstrous figures, tiny heads, no hands, and slanted figures

Minor/Major: Other Peoples Childhood Memories (I Still Need More!)

So after asking, this is the few stories I have received back, each of them are quite different and especially with the story behind them which some have included. When I receive more stories back (hopefully reaching my target of 10) I will continue to write them into this blog post and create them as thumbnails to be able to visualise them fully myself. But so far what I have received is good and what I was hoping to get back from those I asked.

Danielle - "When I was quite young I spent most of the summer in our card shop, and I usually made a little den at the back of the shop behind the counter, full of note pads, coloured pencils and blue tack animals.
It was an L shape secluded part behind the counter, with corner shelves incredibly high, and a small counter top full of clutter. There were a few purple/blue veils to separate it from the rest of the shop. There were blue carpets with bits fraying at the edges. The colour scheme of the shop was blue and gold and that was quite prominent in this little den, with clear boxes and boxes full of cards like birthday, sympathy, good luck cards etc. Stationary sets everywhere. We also sold ornaments of dragons and fairies which I used to 'borrow' from the shelves and play with, usually flying a dragon around the shelves or two dragons fighting an epic battle over the prettiest card designs etc. I felt quite safe and secluded and also quite sneaky because none of the customers could see me but I could see them.

I guess I kind of stopped thinking about the den as a play thing when I started helping out in the shop and got more involved, about 12? But to this day I still sit near the back with my laptop or something and catch a glimpse of a dragon or pirate figure the fell behind the shelf haha looking back it definitely makes me feel nostalgic and quite 'cozy' cause usually the shop was quite cold and I used to wrap myself up in my coat or something."

Eleanor L -
"When I was younger (about 7/8) we used to have a secret area in the playground at school. It was an overgrown area made of a tree tunnel and a load of foliage, in the middle of which there was a little opening. It always smelt of wild garlic in the spring and early summer. The ground was full of pottery and we used to pretend to be part of the Time Team crew and dig up as much pottery as we could every lunchtime. We really enjoyed exploring the past and working out whatever we could find. I used to always come home with coat pockets full of a mixture of pottery and dirt. People could have come into our area but given that it was tucked away, they never really seemed to bother. Later in life I seriously considered studying to become an archiologist. In the end we stopped playing there because we left primary school (although we did go on a few more archiologist digs and explore a bit more later on). It was a truly happy time."

Manisha "Light in the Dark" - "I tried to remember hard about a place I went to as a child, and I suppose it would be a large play house there was at a Women's Refuge garden (where people go when there are domestic problems).  It was fantastic; a large colourful shed, and inside were so so so many toys, I would be occupied for hours, along with a couple of other kids. When I was in it I felt very happy, relaxed, and safe in the room, surrounded by happy things; we played with all sorts of things, teddies, dolls, cars, musical instruments. It made me forget about the problems at home!

I think there was a rule of no eating in the room, and family members generally left us kids alone to play. After we left the refuge, i remember going there again after about 5 years due to another domestic problem, and i was shocked to see the play house completly abandoned, rotting away and unused. I wanted more than anything to look inside again (I was about 11?) But the staff said no one could go in there. I was gutted, but i had to forget about it. When I think back, I get sad at how derelict it was and how no one cared for it anymore; the teddies shoved against the window, the mould and rain damage, it was sad"

Eleanor S - "From ages 3-6 I lived in Guernsey, and the whole time I was there I had an invisible friend called Jack. From what I remember, Jack went between living in the house and living in an imaginary place. I could go to this place in my mind to play with jack, usually just playing tag. It was a never-ending grass path with trees on either side, a wire fence on the left with a mass of bushes and brambles behind it, and nothing on the right except the light on the sun. The trees created a canopy over the path, and Jack and I would run down it chasing each other. Whenever I was in trouble or being told off, Jack would wait there.

I remember the place felt safe, happy and warm. It was always daytime there, always sunny, always green. It was pretty idyllic. My last memory of it was that I was running away from Jack, not because we were playing but because he was being mean to me. After I moved away from Guernsey I never spoke about Jack again, until my mum asked if I remembered him about 2 years ago, and was surprised I could still describe him. I don't think I ever told her or anyone else about the place with the trees.Thinking about it now, it's not a place I would want to go back to. I think both Jack and the place with the trees were things I used as an only child dealing with my parents' recent divorce. But I do remember having fun there."

Pip - "Okay so in primary school me and my best friend would make a fort/tent in her room whenever I went round hers. We would get her bed sheet/duvet and tuck one end between the head of her bed and the wall so it was secure, then tie the other bit to her curtain pole, her window was above the length of her bed. Then we would stretch the curtains over the bed sheet and across to her bookshelf at the end of the bed, and tuck it in between books there to hold it and make a fort over her bed, and we'd take spare sheets from the airing cupboard and drape them half over top and down the front to cover it more but give us an opening to get in and out. All the bed sheets had different cartoons/characters on them. I distinctly remember a Bugs Life, Toy Story, Barbie, Action Man and 2 different star wars sets. Inside we would arrange her stuffed toys, the standout ones I remember was a huge white tiger that was about 3ft long, an a lot of small owls, penguins, and the pg tips monkey (the old style one). We'd also make signs saying our brothers weren't allowed in her room that we would do in bubble writing and colour in the letters with patterns and put stickers all over them, then sellotape them on the stairs and her bedroom door. Wed usually also make (not so) stealthy runs into her brothers' bedroom across the landing and steal their action men/ LOTR figures/ Thunderbirds figures to arrange in the fort (and annoy them). We also both collected crystals and shells and fossils, and I would bring round my collection each time and we would tip out both our collections and organise them along her windowsill, which was inside the fort, and divide them up equally between each of us because each time we met we had both probably added a few new pretty rocks or shells or something to our own collections but we wanted to have the same. Inside it felt really cool because it was quite a small space but we organised everything to fit just right and we would have our little boxes of pens and stickers and just draw and write terrible "joke books" or "poem books" which were literally about 4 pieces of a4 paper taken from her printer, folder in half and stapled together, but we thought we were really cool at the time. Also the lighting inside the fort was really cute becasue of all the different coloured bed sheets and how light came through them and also because she had quite a few stained glass ornaments hanging on suckers on her window so the light coming through them made really cool colours inside the for too."

Graeme - "When I was younger my cousins, sister and I had this hideout in my neighbours field that we used to escape to all the time. It was perched on top of a big Hill that overlooked the surrounding countryside and it had many trees of every kind circulating the perimeter of the hill, it almost felt like an island as the rest of the grass was cut short during the summer from the grazing cattle.  

The hideout itself was in the middle of the highest point of the hill where a massive oak tree had fallen but was still rooted to the ground so it lasted year round. The branches of the trees hung down and arced around the inner part of the hideout it looked like some sort of a wooden carcass that encapsulated us from the outside with a canopy of leaves and braches. We used to swing off the branches, climb off them and try and jump to the nearest trees. At one side of the hideout it was very steep and we created this slide that was really a desire line ran down into the dirt from wear and tear, we would run down or slide down and try and use the branches canopied above us to catch and protect us from getting hurt if we slid too far - we called the slide the deathtrap :D. 

I remember it feeling like a fortress of solitude it was a place to escape too, I used to love to go there during the golden hour because there was an opening in the trees as a few were cut down for telephone poles that allowed the orange glow of the sunset to seep through, it felt surreal, like something out of a movie, it was green. very very green!, 
Nobody else knew about it only my cousins, my sister and I but I used to go there a lot by myself and would be happy too. I still used to go as a teenager and climb the highest trees I could and Just chill out up there and watch the sunset, 

After my parents separated my time there started to become significantly less frequent but once in a blue moon when I visit my Dad and even to this day any time that I do I always go back to my little sanctuary, It has a hell of a lot of sentimental value to me. I've always felt sensitive to nature and light so I'm glad I did stuff like that when I was growing up."

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Maya: Using Arnold

In todays lesson we looked at the new version of maya, We looked at the new mesh light feature and how it worked overall on the scenes and how it was a different way to create a glow in the scenes.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Minor/Major Project: I need your childhood memories! (please)

So for my Minor/Major project I am going to recreate miniatures of memories with a narrative over the top of said memories. I would appreciate it if some of you could give me some of your memories as I would like at least 10 different narratives as I don't have that many on my own. Below is a basic kit of how I recreated my "The Three Trees" memory from thought to paper, If you guys could use this and help me out it would be appreciated! And you could have this memory of yours modelled! 

1) As a Child do you remember either having:

          a) An imaginary world
          b) A den, hide-out or a secret place you used to go to.

2) Describe this place in detail and describe it from a child [your] perspective

          a) What was it like to be there?
          b) What were its stand out features?
          c) What was it fabricated from?

3) How did you feel when you were in it?

4) Did you play any games here? 

          a) Was there rules to follow? 
          b) Did others have access to this place and allowed to visit like parents, friends or family?

5) Do you recall when you stopped thinking about/visiting/imagining/expanding it? 

          a) Do you remember why you stopped? did you grow older, things changed or just forgot?

6) When you think back on to it, how does it make you feel?

Sunday, 24 September 2017

@Phil Minor Project: Creative Writing on Memories - The Three Trees

I slightly changed this from my original thought as I was struggling to write it down from thought to paper, When this came to mind I found it a lot easier than I did with the previous. I hope this sort of works like an 'Idiots Guide' to reimagine these memories. Im still working on collecting others memories and will get to writing those up shortly! Enjoy!

The Three Trees

Three 30-40 metre trees stood tall at the bottom of the garden at my mothers childhood home, always stood tall against the wind, their dark green colour contrasting with the bright green grass from the park behind the back fence. Towards the bottom of these trees, my imagination created an imaginary den from some rope, a tyre, branches, sticks and wooden planks. In my eyes, I had seen nothing bigger than this ‘tree house’ that I was seeing, made from odd planks of wood, rectangular and square shapes of different woody tones. Dozens of dirty windows in all sorts of places and shapes and sizes, doors and hatches placed in convenient places to get from one place to the next. The tree house made to work with and incorporate the trunk growing through its centre, a small ‘staircase’ curving round the trunk upwards with the trees branches to the next level of the centre den. Wooden rope bridges connecting one tree house to the next on the other tree, ropes dangling down with tyres and sticks attached for swings and ropes for abseiling down like a fireman’s pole, wooden planks nailed into the trunks to form ladders up into the trees. Small porches or balconies surrounded each of tree houses made, one side looking over the garden and the other looking over the wide open space of the park, like its own large kingdom. The place ideal for playing hide and seek or just a child’s pretend adventures, climbing higher into the trees, swinging as high as possible and being the ‘fastest’ to get up into the air.

These three great trees with the vision of this tree house attached made me feel small, even being the oldest child there at the age of 9 made me feel small, similar to how I imagine an ant would feel looking at a bird house, it was like our own castle. The idea of this tree house was shared with 4 others, each bickering about what should be on it, in it and what it could look like. But each time in my eyes this tree house only got better until I started getting older and visiting less, when family moved away and was no longer there when I was, I started seeing it as childish. I still do now, but I see it as fun and enjoyable memories to have as a child. In my imagination, this tree house was achievable, yet only at the time it was a few measly planks and a tyre swing hanging from one of its branches. None of which are no longer there, but the trees still are, they still stand there strong against the wind, towering over the rest of the garden.