While observers tend to agree that there’s a stage at which most children strive for realistic depiction in their drawing, many psychologists argue that at their earlier stages of drawing, children aren’t thinking about realism. Take, for example, the way kids tend to scatter objects in awkward places in their drawings; they might draw a house on the left corner of the page and then a road that somehow stands above it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand how these scenes look in the real world, some experts say; instead, the child is more concerned about achieving a kind of visual balance between the objects.

Reading this was a stark realization. As in, this should have been obvious. When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense that a child, when handed sticks of colored wax, would instinctually attempt to draw realistic figures. The medium — Crayon — does not easily allow for realism. Crayons are blunt artistic instruments. Of course children use them to sketch hard lines and wild scribbles.

I disagree with this line, however:

Their goal, ultimately, is to create something that’ll make sense to the person they show it to.

Their goal is to create something that makes sense to themselves. That it might make sense to someone else is surely secondary.

But this is also right:

For the museum-goers out there who tend to point to a piece of modern art and say, “My kid could have made that!” it’s worth remembering that often, that’s actually just what the artist had in mind.