Ask Vanessa: How to Stop Drawing Stick Figures? — 26Feb 2013

A parent recently shared with me that his son has been drawing a lot at home, but does not seem to be able to draw properly. I often hear parents passing such comments, but from experience, not being able to draw properly means differently to different parents! How exactly was his son not drawing properly?

In this case, the child was not drawing properly because he has been drawing humans with stick figures! The parent exclaimed that the child has no problems drawing buildings, cars and trees properly. However, when it comes to drawing humans, he could only represent them as stick figures. “Stick figures?” I repeated with raised brows. “Yes! Kung-fu style stick figures!” the parent exploded. We shared a moment of laughter and I heaved a sigh of relief. I assured the parent that this was normal for most pre-school children.

There is a useful technique which I share with parents to encourage their children to go further than just stick figures. It’s easy, fun and a great way for parents to do art with their children!

Don’t stop drawing stick figures – Complete them!

Stick figures are the simplest way to represent the posture of a human, and is usually the first method for children to represent the human body. Instead of allowing your child to stop at that, egg them on to complete their stick figures!

Explain to your child that the stick figure is only a skeleton, and to give life to the human, we have to place flesh onto the body! To do so, draw basic shapes over the stick figure, starting with the torso, followed by the arms, hands, legs, and finally the feet.

Artary How to stop children from drawing stick figures
Draw basic shapes over the stick figure, starting with the torso.

Continue to let the story unfold into one that your child is familiar with, so that you can design costumes and clothes along with your child. Draw in sleeves, fill in shirt buttons, pants, shoes, or any other accessories for decoration! Fill in as much details as possible.

Completing stick figures allows children to recognise that stick figures are the first step to drawing humans. By decorating their characters with costumes and clothes, the image of how a realistic human should look like will strengthen in the minds of the children. Over time, this process will influence the child to not only draw stick figures, but to continue on to compose realistic and meaningful characters of a story!

Try it, and share your results with us!


Ask Vanessa is a new blog series where Vanessa shares insights into children arts education, parents’ questions, best practices and tips. Follow Artary’s Facebook page or our blog for more updates.

Artary featured on “The Surprise Party” on OKTO! — 9Feb 2013

Artary will be featured on the debut episode of “The Surprise Party” on OKTO, this Sunday, 10th Feb 2013 at 1230pm. Catch us on TV this Chinese New Year!

This episode is especially meaningful for us, as we’ve also had the honour to work with Club Rainbow (Singapore) for the artworks that you see featured in the episode!

Watch the episode on xinmsn Catch-Up TV now!

Learn more about Artary Kids’ art programmes.

Featured on TV. Stay tuned! — 23Nov 2012

The studio has been transformed into a film site. We’re going to be featured on TV! Stay tuned!

Artary children art class featured on TV programme on OKTO

Artary presents, December 2012 School Holidays Art Jams! — 27Oct 2012

Artary proudly presents, December 2012 School Holidays Art Jams!

Your child will be delighted to join our popular School Holiday Art Jams!, full of enjoyable, educational and artistic experiences. Join us on our fun-filled two days art holiday programme sessions that are immensely stimulating and fun!

For more information, visit Artary’s Art Jams!

Artary's children and kids holiday art class, Art Jams!

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From 11 Oct 2021: All classes will resume in campus.