Form Drawing in Grade One

An introduction to Waldorf Form Drawing

Movement is the way in which we explore the cosmos and ourselves within it. The very act of breathing is movement. Movement is one of the most primary activities of nature and of the human being. As such, movement is at the very foundation of all learning and development.

When we engage in archetypal, healthy movements, we revitalize and harmonize our physical bodies, we strengthen and balance our life forces, and we lift our consciousness. Form drawing is the process of exploring such healthy, archetypal movements in the cosmos and bringing them into ourselves, rendering them into lines.

The forms themselves, as finished works, may become beautiful, but they are not nearly as important as the processes through which we explore and embody the movements. Form drawings, as finished pieces, are merely the footprints left in a medium such as pencil on paper, evidence of the wonderful movements of the human being and the cosmos. Form drawing, as a practice, can be an essential path of human development.

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“It is not easy to see the educational value of form drawing by looking at the children’s drawings; for its effectiveness is realized in the process, not the product...Form drawing is a present record of a past movement...just as the meander of a dried up water-course records the flow of a river.”
Rosemary Gebert, “Form Drawing”

Form Drawing in Grade One

In first grade, we strive to bring the child into a balanced relationship with inner and outer space. This is achieved by highlighting very basic elements of movement/space. The child needs a basic introduction to the simple but profound truth that there are really only two kinds of movements and/or lines, the straight and the curved.

We can apply these movements in a horizontal plane, a vertical plane, or on a diagonal. Likewise, many movements and/or lines can be a harmonious blend of straight and curved elements. With only these basic elements, we have more then enough possibilities to work with fundamental and profound forms for the rest of our lives. Though they are basic, these elements help us to develop a healthy relationship to the world around us and to begin to feel the world within us. In this early stage of exploring forms, it is always first to be experienced through the grand movements of our limbs and then, only later, in the actual drawing.

“To develop a feeling for form, the hands must be brought to feel the form; we need to see with our hands. We need to describe the feeling of the movement. We need to work through a form until it is incorporated into us.”
Embry-Stine and Schuberth, Form Drawing

Next week we’ll share more from Rev about Form Drawing, this time through the lens of Grade Two. We’ll also share another video clip from inside one of the Grade One lessons!

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