Talking pictures of your child

Drawing is one of children’s favorite activities. The field of their work is wide – from ornamenting new wallpapers in the living room to covering their own face with the mother's makeup. Drawing gives children an extra boost to the intellectual and creative development. And we, adults, are to know how and by what criteria to evaluate children's creativity.

Of course, one should not judge harshly the skills of young artists (although, needless to say, it happens to discover in kids a real talent of the artist). Instead, one should focus on inartistic features and try to read off the children's drawings the potential of intelligence, temperament or other permanent psychological traits and temporary states.

First there meet the eye the colors of the picture. Dark, dense colors are most often chosen by willful or demanding children. Pale and delicate colors are liked by quiet and humble children. At that the boys often draw with cool colors, girls – with warm ones. Green color indicates a remarkable imagination, creativity, optimism. Yellow – the predominance of joyful emotions. Red speaks of delight, excitement; blue – the thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand the world.

The layout of drawing on the sheet can say much of that. The children who place the picture on the left base themselves on the past, and seek protection and care. The right side indicates similar orientation for the future and the need to communicate. Drawing at the bottom – the child feels uncertainty, insecurity, helplessness, at the top – inflated self-esteem.

If the picture isdetailed, the child is observant, paying attention to the individual characteristics of people and objects. For example, a sister is depicted in a dress and a brother is holding a ball. Often detailed pictures are the evidence of significant mental abilities. Details in faces can be interpreted more specifically:

  • Big head denotes a person of great intelligence, the contrary is also true

  • No nose means the lack of desire to communicate

  • Big eyes – fear, little or no eyes – unspoken feelings

  • Smile – a favorable emotional background. Mouth as a strip or absent – tentativeness

  • Teeth, especially large – aggressiveness

  • Big ears – painful criticism perception, small or no ears – immunity from criticism

  • Very long neck – problems with self-control

  • Large limbs (especially arms) – energy, domination, small – doubt

  • Big body – unmet needs, small – feeling of humiliation, uselessness

Impulsive children usually draw large figures, often without neck and asymmetrical. Children’s anxiety can be expressed through figures without eyes, or through rain, clouds, birds in flight. Angry or aggressive kids draw people with big arms and teeth, shy children – small figures, with no nose or mouth, without arms or with arms put tight to the body. If a child feels unsafe, there will be enormous, often stooped people with small heads, without arms.

In general size of a person reflects kid's attitude to her. For example, if there's a family in the picture and mother is the largest among all, it means that either the child has the closest bonding with her, or she is (from the kid's point of view) the master of the house. If the child draws himself by far smaller, it indicates low self-esteem, and if kid’s own figure lies aside, this is a clear sign of sense of abandonment and loneliness.

Positions of family members also have their meaning. Who is standing close to whom, who is holding whose hands in the picture – this all reflects children's perception.

Perspective illustrates the development of the child's visual-spatial relationships. If people are drawn not only to the full face, but also in profile, from above, from the back, the child is probably not only observant, but also artistic, and adaptable to new situations.

Plot of the picture plays an important role. Children who have experienced the loss of loved ones, sometimes draw a pit in the ground. Pictures of children who feel happy and safe in the family, the latter is often depicted in a kind of cooperation – playing baseball, walking in the zoo, or playing a board game.


In order to interpret a kid's picture you shouldn't force the kid to draw. Except that you ask him without expressing your wishes on the picture. When the picture is ready, it would be good to ask your child about it before guessing who is drawn there. You should ask open-ended questions so that the kid is able to answer, not just agree with your perception. In any case do not interpret every line in the picture too literally – perhaps the child is just tired and in bad humor. However, do consult with a child psychologist, if there are often figures in the drawings that make you worry.