Children’s drawings explained to parents


Show me your drawing… I’ll tell you who you are!

When Mathilde designs her princess house, she puts all her heart into it. Its colors are bright and vibrant, its shapes are full of movement and its characters are very funny. Exactly like her! Her dad and I are blown away by the talent of our 4 year old artist! », Notes with admiration Séverine, his mother. Yes, confirms Patrick Estrade, psychologist: “ What marks children’s drawings is their creativity and their wonderful simplicity. They don’t bother with agreed ideas. As long as we let them do it and take them individually (to prevent them from influencing each other), they let their imagination and their fantasy run wild at the whim of their fingers. »Black pencil, colored pastels, markers, markers, paint, everything is good for expressing their emotions. Home is a theme that inspires toddlers a lot. “While we adults are often very conventional and stuck in our storytelling, children, they show daring at the same time as poetry. The adult will either draw the usual stereotype of the house or think about how he is going to represent it. The child will let his spontaneity act. Unlike the adult, he lives, he does not prepare to live. The drawing process is therefore immediate and free, ”explains the psychologist.

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Through drawing, the child expresses his feelings about life

For example, a child can quite easily draw two suns above his house, this is not a problem for him. The adult will not dare or even think about it. There are often a number of invariable elements in the designs of children’s homes. There is a triangular roof, windows upstairs, and not on the ground floor, an often rounded door (which confers softness), equipped with a handle (therefore welcoming), a fireplace on the right (rarely on the left) ) and the smoke going to the right (if there is fire in the fireplace, it means that the house is inhabited. The smoke going to the right is synonymous with the future), a -ox in the roof (which can be considered an eye). If the house represents the child himself, what is around is also interesting to analyze. There may be trees, animals, people, a path that leads there, a car, a pond, birds, a garden, clouds … Anything is good for telling a story that is both inside and out. In this sense, the drawing of the house provides information on the relationship that the child has with the world and with others.

What interests the psychologist in a drawing is not its aesthetic aspect, but the psychological content, that is, what the house can express about the child and his life. It is not a question here of a psychoanalytic interpretation aiming to identify some faults or psychological disorders, but of a real tendency.

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    Ernest, 3 years old

    “I am blown away by the content of Ernest’s drawing. I could be wrong, but I think Ernest is not an only child. There is a beautiful sociability in this drawing. Humans, animals, trees, we find the usual trio when a child is asked to draw a house plus a dog, to the left of the house. I like that he misses the sun, because that means he didn’t “copy” from a bigger one. His house has a phallic allure, but obviously Ernest has drawn a building. After all, one does not preclude the other. On the left, we can see what must be an elevator. Maybe he lives on a high floor? In the center, above the door, a staircase leading to apartments symbolized by the bay windows. Despite everything, the roof of the building has a double slope, as on traditional houses. Ernest seems to love life, people, he is sensitive to people and things. It is both conventional and daring, and it is not hypocritical (transparency of the frame). His drawing is well balanced, I would say that he does not need conflicts to exist. He probably has a sweet and endearing personality. “

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    Joséphine, 4 years old

    “Here we have the typical case of those marvelous creative drawings of which children who are still young are capable, who do not care about the stereotypes that they will reproduce later. Joséphine does not lack originality, she knows how to assert herself. She already has her little personality, her little character!

    A bit like in Aaron’s drawing, the roof represents the protective house. The roof is figured and at the same time, I guess “toihuhti” indicates the roof, unless it is a foreign language, for example, Tahitian which I don’t know. Or do we mean “hut roof” in “toihuhti”? In any case, Josephine shows us that she already knows how to write. And in capital letters, please! We have the impression that this drawing of a house tells a love story to be recomposed. The lower part of the drawing is reminiscent of a heart. But this heart is detached from the middle part which seems to represent the top of a face. Is part of his family far away? Josephine says in any case that the roof is very important and that he has eyes. It makes me think that when you want to observe what is happening in the distance, you have to climb as high as possible. In addition, 6 strokes cross the heart, as if it had to be shared with others. This drawing does not therefore tell of a house, it tells the story of someone who is waiting for something or someone. Below the left eye is drawn a triangle which has the same color as the top of what I have called the heart. If we look at the lower part (heart) and the part with the eyes, we have the impression that if they were brought together, if we reunited them, they could reform a unit, like an egg. Joséphine tells us that the house has a cellar. I think that this detail should be understood as a need to establish the house well in the ground, that it be robust. In fact, Josephine didn’t draw a house, she told a house. When she grows up, she will be able to work in advertising without any problem. “

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    Aaron, 3 years old

    “At first glance, it is rather a drawing that one would expect from a child of 2 years to 2 and a half years, more made of scribbles than recognizable traces, but on second reading, we can already see a structure. A roof, walls. It’s hard for us adults to imagine that it is a house, and yet the idea is there. We can clearly see a sketched roof in blue, which seems normal to me: the roof is a symbol of protection. At the same time, the roof symbolically represents the attic that is inside. We put things in the attic that we want to preserve, or even store provisions there. The two blue lines on the left and the brown line on the right sketch what could be the walls of the house. This drawing gives an impression of verticality, and consequently of strength. And at this age, this is something very important. Personally, I’m not sure Aaron really wanted to draw, did he want to do something else? Has his hand been forced? In any case, he made the effort and showed great concentration. I could see him sticking his tongue out while pressing very hard on his marker. Did you want a house? Here it is. “

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    Victor, 4 aastat vana

    “Here is a very pretty house designed by Victor. The overall impression is that this house leans on the left. Symbol dictionaries often equate the left with the past (sometimes the heart) and the right with the future. Victor’s house seeks security. Unless Victor is left-handed? In any case, all the symbolic values ​​are there (including the stereotype of the bull’s-eye, surely not invented by Victor, but copied from a larger one). The chimney with the smoke coming out of it and going to the right means that there is life, presence in this hearth. The door is rounded (soft access), with a lock, you do not enter it like that. The windows are fitted with bays, but we do not really know what is drawn to the right of the door, a window? The only thing colored is the door. Maybe Victor got bored and wanted to stop his drawing? He doesn’t bother with details. Home is that, home is me. I’m a dude, I made a dude house. No need to pick up noon to two o’clock. Victor seems to be telling us: there you have asked for a house, I made you a house! “

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    Lucien, 5 ½ years old

    “Lucien’s house, I should put a plural because he drew two. The large one, with a chimney to the right, but no smoke. No life ? Maybe, but maybe real life is in the little house in the attic, with mom? The little one, located in the attic with written Mama (mom?). No front door, a bay window on the first floor. In fact, the real house does not seem to be the big one, but the small one, where one is in the shelter, in the attic. And then, the bestiary: the hardworking ants, always in groups, and the snail which carries its house with it (the shell). If the house is barely sketched, the tree is clearly detailed. It is a strong tree, the trunk is strong, and nourishing, certainly cherries… The branches go towards the house, undoubtedly it is intended to feed the household. Does the house lack masculine elements? There is no door or lock. Lucien’s interior space, in other words, his territory shows a certain fragility. The walls do not defend it, we can see the interior (table). The real house is the little one where MAM MA is written. “

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    Marius, 6 years old

    “We are moving to another age group. At 6 years old, the child has already seen a number of drawings of houses. And was able to draw inspiration from it. From around this age, we can see how the houses are structured. They are less living houses, lived houses than cerebralized, organized, thought-out houses. Thus, that of Marius. But despite everything, they remain houses lived by the unconscious. Marius took the trouble to make a complete drawing. He is undoubtedly very cooperative, he likes to lend a hand, he is meticulous and therefore demanding. The door is recessed and it looks like it is accessed by a staircase. With him, we have to prove ourselves. Rather rare, Marius drew the fireplace on the left. And the smoke rises vertically. So as not to suffocate the bird on the right? Marius therefore cares about others. The head of the cat Minette seems to have been copied from another drawing. Marius “forgot” to draw his little brother Victor – failed act? -. In any case, the family constellation is set: mom, dad, me (narcissist, Marius). He has a “me first” side, the senior style of the family. “

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    Ludovic, 5 ½ years old

    “A typical boy’s drawing?” Divided between the phallic vision (war) and the sentimental vision (fireplace). This is a house that defends itself and attacks. Where does Ludovic get this representation of the house? Is it a little one who would like to give himself the air of a big man, or a little one who has grown up too quickly? Is there identification with an authoritarian father or with those greater than him, authoritarian, or the Playstation sleeps with him in his bed? And that huge sun on the left, but we hardly see it. A masculinity that is difficult to say? And that other house on the far left, with its two eyes, what does it mean? Isn’t it the real house, the gentle house, which would counterbalance the citadel-military house in the center? Ludovic specifies that the building is bombarding the houses on the left, why? Is it houses or humans. Is there a conflict between the two houses, and would the small houses on the left suffer retaliation? There is a lot of symmetry in the details, almost obsessive. Surprisingly, these four small houses aligned on the right, they look like “soldiers houses”. Another curious detail: the door here is a tiny representation of a house. And, rare enough to be noted, there are windows downstairs. You have to be able to see everywhere, not to be caught off guard. Surprisingly to be noticed, the smoke leaves vertically, which gives all the more verticality to the whole (search for strength). “

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