drawing with children

We simply enjoy drawing with our children

Hi from the Czech republic. Here I made an interview with talented graphic designer Lukáš Burda and his wife Pavla Burdová. Lukas and I studied together at Technological University and I remember his skills since then. But thanks to Facebook, I saw, that his young daughter is very talented too. As I am interested in this topic, because my older daughter loves drawing and she is literally better than me right now, I decided to bring some of my ex-schoolmate tips about development of children‘s drawings to all of you. I love his drawings and video ad with a „honey-bear“  or a little devil and I think that a little boys will fall in love with most of his dragons/monsters concept art. I was really surprised by skill level of his daughter and a little son.


Before we get to the topic of developing children’s drawings, can you briefly introduce you and your family?

We are a normal family with two children (Kryštůfek  4 and Leuška 5,5 years). We live in Jihlava. During my studies I started working as a 3D graphic designer in Prague, where we moved. I have been working as a freelance graphic artist for about 7 years and 4 years ago me and my family settled in Jihlava. Here I founded the creative, animation and graphic studio LBAnimations. While my wife was young, she studied drawing at the art class in an “Elementary/Basic Art School”  (the Czech Elementary  art education system is unique in the World). And after graduating from college she designed interiors for 3 years. However, during maternity, she found hobby in sewing and taking pictures. Gradually she got into creating children’s clothes with her own design. Creation is fun and fulfills and we can pass this energy on to children. 🙂

 I remember you as an excellent draftsman who was able to conjure up great drawings during a not very lively lecture. How did you get excited about drawing? And how do you motivate your very talented five-year-old daughter and four-year-old son?

I have to say critically that the level of drawing I had in college was very weak and I have made the most progress in the last 4 years. I love drawing from a young age, and I inherited talent from my mother, who unfortunately had no opportunity to develop hers. I gained the right inner motivation to improve and to create when I was a little bit older.

I think Leuška has inherited talent from her parents 🙂 I have a philosophy in my life that having talent is not enough, it is necessary to develop it. So I try motivate Leuška to paint by herself.

One of the things that helps her to do that, of course, is that we paint together. I enjoy painting a lot and spend a lot of my free time with it. Most of these works is the result of my evening drawing. So when we and kids think of what to do, I try to combine what I enjoy with what kids enjoy and so we draw together . Our drawing evolves, first everyone drew on their own, over time I drew children’s  wishes  and they returned me my drawn wishes. Then we color each other’s pictures. As Leuška improves and has a firmer hand and a more secure line and shapes, so I start to lead her, here and there I advise what to improve or recommend what to paint, sometimes I pre-draw and let her draw her version. She likes it as much that she started watching video tutorials on how to paint horses, characters, birds and she is really happy about how fast she is improving. Which motivates her to paint and improve again. It’s such a cycle. It is important, that she wants to do it on her own. I definitely do not want her to do it 🙂

The examples are moving, but what if the child does not have parents who can paint nicely and still the child enjoy painting? Where can such a parent find some help?

Whether he can paint or not is not important. It is important to help the child develop talent. You know the story. The mother and son come to the enlightened monk and say, “Certain sugar is unhealthy … I want you to tell my son not to eat sugar.” The monk said, “Ok, come in 3 months.” The mother does not understand, but in three months the mother and her son come to the monk and the monk said to the woman’s son: “Don’t eat sugar.” The mother does not understand why she had to wait three months for this, and so the monk explains: “To tell him calmly not to eat sugar, I first had to stop eating sugar.” 🙂

The bottom line is that if a parent sets an example and draws with the child, it will help him the most, and that is true everywhere.

When you enjoy something, you don’t have to force yourself. Leuška gets up before us at the weekend and goes straight to the dining table. She has a stack of papers in a box, markers in a cup, sits and draws. She then goes to our bed to show us her work.

We devote ourselves to making the all kinds of creative things, so it is a natural thing for us. But even thar  our children go to art courses. They can try other techniques there and learn to work more independently, without the help of their parents.


Children’s drawing can sometimes be very creative, which psychologists use as a gateway to the child’s soul. When it is the right time to start drawing according to the model? And should small children draw according to the model? What about hand guidance?

I think we should let the children, especially the little ones, have the space to paint what they want and definitely not force them. Leuška paints what she enjoys and asks for herself if she has a need for help.

I would recommend to incorporate the templates gradually, but rather for older children. The point is that nature is the best artist and children who have a desire to improve can take a lot from their references.

Generally, there is a lot of nonsense about drawing according to the model, for example someone considers it to be cheating. Which is nonsense because many of the best artists use the references constantly, even if they do not have to 🙂

Often the children express the story or emotions in the pictures. Kryštůfek can do that already. Although his drawings are not so readable, he can explain what a tangle of lines is. If someone wants to explore more, it is definitely worth writing it, when the child describes it.

The first year in kindergarten Leuška “caught” a strict lady teacher. Her emotions were also reflected in the pictures. She used a lot of black. I remember a picture from a kindergarden party where she drew our family and it looked pretty scary. But she was drawing nicely at home. Children perceive their surroundings. Now, at the age of five, she draws often „ love“ pictures. She is influenced by fairy tales, first kindergarten love and home environment. She draws our family, or just the two of us, parents, “loving each other.” These are the most valuable pictures!

What are your favorite tools – with which tools should we start, what to use and what not?

Markers! Children love distinct colors and fat lines. Sometimes we interleave it with watercolors.


How often do you paint with your daughter?

Every day one hour at least 🙂 I love painting, so even I am not at work, I spend with it a lot of time. And Leuška is the same. My 4-year-old son also spends more and more time with it. Children are simply sponges that are learned by observing the surroundings, so I recommend that parents have drawings as one of the main activities with children. The great bonus is that parents learn to paint too 🙂

Arno Stern, the artist and drawing teacher, recommends not to evaluate children’s drawing in any way. Do you comment your daughter’s pictures at home somehow?

We praise and share with children their enthusiasm for the thing. We do it somehow honestly, otherwise praise has no value and even the child will sense it. I am not much of a supporter of evaluation, I think a person (and a child) feels it himself when something goes well. When it is not possible, it is good not to push, encourage and let it “mature” or try to seek inspiration. When someone wants to draw ponies like our little ones, they just look at how others do and imitate. And then she no longer needs the “crutch” at one point.

What would you like to tell to our readers – parents or children about drawing skills?

Lead by example, paint with children as often as possible, even if you are not good at it. As a bonus you will improve your drawing yourself 🙂 Also, if you give the children a tablet in their hands, find for them on Youtube some coloring, still better than the normal nonsense that runs there 😀

Drawing is a form of self-expression and relaxation when one feels it. Just like someone is jogging,   reading and so on.

We create what the mood is for. We exhibit pictures at home. I figured out the “peg system” – pegs glued on both sides of the cabinet. The pictures can then be easily changed. With other pictures we make the “books”. I sew them by hand and before our  children go to bed, we look at them. The biggest “art project” so far has been the home theater. I drew it for children in the form of coloring books. The large box serves as a backdrop and storage space for puppets. Seventeen puppets (on toilet rolls) can handle an endless number of stories. Children gradually form another puppets for the “theater”. And they enjoy playing them before sleeping.

Now one question for your daughter: What do you like to draw the most?

Twiglight, Celestia, Apple pie and Simba and Kovo (my little pony and lion king). I also enjoy coloring and dinosaur (as seen by Kryštůfek).

Author: Jitka Hübnerová