El’s Colouring and Drawings

“I want to be an artist and a scientist,” said El a week ago when I asked him what he wanted to be in the future.

He absolutely loves his dinosaurs, animals and countries of the world. When I probed further, he told me that he wanted to study other places, such as Egypt.

“What about Egypt do you want to study?” I asked, “Mummies?”

“Yes, mummies,” came the reply.

“What about pyramids?”

“Yes, and pyramids.”

He actually wants to be an archaeologist, but that is another story.

I had started him on art lessons since he turned four, because his colouring was really bad. He did not colour within the lines, which was actually expected of his age, and he would just colour a little. I had also witnessed how my students were really bad at drawing, and art is an examinable subject.

Being a typical kiasu mother, I decided he should pick up basic art skills. After asking other mummies, I decided to let him join Global Arts. To accommodate both’s schedules, I had to switch Gar’s class.

In the first few lessons, the teachers kept complaining about him.

“El is not focused.”

“El doesn’t colour everything.”

“Why did El write on his paper? Don’t do that.”

Starry Starry Night

Starry Starry Night – His first colouring.

Woah, I had never thought El was causing so much trouble. I had complaints from his school teachers before, about how he would be daydreaming or busy doing his own things. He loves to write, so he had taken his crayons and wrote words on his picture meant for colouring. However, despite the complaint, which the teacher said she would just skip that page and make him start afresh, they managed to find a way to cover up the words and colour the picture.

I thought after a term, I would stop the lessons. After all, I was already making him go for his piano lessons which he was not really excited about. However, he started to pick up interest along the way, and then suddenly, he started kicking up a big fuss if we were slightly late for his lessons. He would be extremely upset if there were no lessons on that day.

If we were early and could not enter the centre, he would get a bit anxious, and kept trying to go in. Usually he will end up running with Gar along the corridor. Gar with his boundless energy, would be running non-stop and we would be trying our best to catch him.

Occasionally we would see his former classmate, but not very often. El sometimes ignores him and just wants to rush into the class.

His colouring has improved greatly. He blends the colours and colours everything within the lines. I noticed that usually the teachers would be the ones taking the crayons and passing them to the children to colour at a certain area.

Flying on a plane

Flying on a plane

I started to think that they only did colouring. Shouldn’t they learn how to draw? Blur mummy finally found out that they did when I checked his bag. Some of his pencil drawings are very cute! He is able to draw cartoons!

Wall E

Wall E which looks like a balding old man

As time passes, I see El blending colours on his own when we do a bit of colouring at home. That is, if his brother does not snatch the colour pencils away.

To my surprise, his English teacher complained that he did not colour within the lines, and did not put in much effort. When I told her that he was able to colour the entire pictures, she was speechless. That led me to reflect on my own teaching. Why is it that some people are just able to draw out more from a student compared to others? Food for thought, I guess.

By the way, when I told his father that El wanted to be an artist and a scientist, the pragmatic Singaporean immediately said he should be a scientist and draw as a hobby.

Drawing Faces

El is still young, so his drawings are still somewhat crude. In fact, he doesn’t draw much, but instead loves to write. His handwriting is slowly improving, but that is another matter.

We bought markers that could write on glass. He had been writing words and names on our glass windows in the living room. I had drawn an alligator before. Now, I’m not a very good artist, but I can copy simple drawings.

One day, I decided to show him how to draw a spider. I drew an oval, added eyes and a mouth, and then added eight legs. He was pretty amused by it, and drew his own little spider. I thought it looked pretty cute and it had that bug-eyed innocence, a little like a character from Monster, Inc.

Blue Spider drawn by El

Blue spider drawn on the glass window

His preschool had an art exhibition where they raised funds for charity. The school did up the place very nicely, and invited the parents to the place at night. Some of the works were amazing, and I could not believe that 2 to 6 year old children could produce such high quality works. The teachers must have worked very hard on these.

His teacher told me about how he had drawn the pictures, and she had helped him with the outline. He came up with the title of the artwork himself.

My World

Artwork by El, aged 2 plus going on 3.


I missed his artwork, and it was one of the first place I had started. I went through the entire exhibition before my husband finally located it. The two faces were just like the spider’s face I had drawn, and the eyes mirrored my spider and his spider’s eyes. The title of the art piece was something he had been singing – Save My World. I was totally surprised that the teachers could get this artwork out of a little boy who drew nothing much, and could not even hold his pens properly.

When I asked him about his drawing, he told me that both were happy faces.

Of course, parents were supposed to bid for the artwork, with the proceeds going to Very Special Arts, a charity for promoting art for people with disabilities. One painting with Chinese calligraphy was going for over $300 at that point, and it was a fierce fight. I saw my friend’s child’s artwork being outbid, and promptly told her.

For El’s artwork, I was pleasantly surprised to see the principal of his school place a bid of $100 for it. We had not planned on bidding much, but seeing that figure, from a starting bid of $25 by his school, we decided to bid $150.

Did we win the bid?

Stay tuned to find out. Actually, I really have no idea because he has been sick and had not gone back to school to get the results of the bidding.

Update- We won the bid! It has been on our display shelf ever since.
He had also requested for art lessons, and now takes art lessons regularly.

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