Drawing: Children’s Secret Language

Drawing can be a door to children’s secret language. Understanding it can be the key to opening this door.
Drawing: children's secret language

Children amaze us with their creativity. Because children do not have an internalized standard way of communicating, they can be truly imaginative in the context of social interaction. One way they do this is by drawing. By this we refer to the making of markings with a certain concrete meaning. However, drawing can be more than just nonsense, and it can be one form of communication.

As children grow older, their way of communicating becomes more structured. When this happens, drawing turns into drawing, words, sentences, and stories as a new communication toolkit.

In this article, we’ll talk about what children’s drawing means. You will find that this is a kind of secret language. You will also learn new things about this world of expression.

Drawing: what is it?

Drawing refers to creative “markings” that become more complex as children age. At first, they may seem disturbed and impulsive. This is because the child has not yet developed fine motor skills. However, each sign seems to have some meaning. We would understand this if the child could only explain what his drawing meant or if we had the resources to interpret it.

A set of entries may follow some specific theme. You may see the following things in the children’s drawing:

  • Feelings
  • Desire
  • Fears
  • The stage of child development
  • The child’s biological rhythm
small draw

So we are now talking about a form of communication. Therefore, psychologists and psychiatrists interpret drawings in their work. In other words, they use them as instruments to analyze a child’s potential problems. These can be biological as they reflect the stage of development of the child. On the other hand, they can also be psychological, as they allow the child to express their inner world. The drawing basically consists of two components:

  • Function. This includes the expression of purpose and spontaneity, or the purpose of communicating something.
  • Markings. These indicate the level of skills of the child. This refers to the level of ease or difficulty with which the child creates these markings.

Thus, the drawing is combined with sensory and motor aspects. The first reflects what the child perceives, and also the stimuli to which the child is exposed. The motor element allows the child to function in the outside world.

Children’s secret language

Drawing is a kind of language because it is the way a child expresses himself. Even if it is a really simple function, it can still be an emotional function. By this we mean that drawings are expressions by which a child communicates with others. This is especially important because children may not know how to communicate in words, or they may not want to.

As lecturer and psychologist Evi Crotti and physicist Alberto Magni, who specialize in psychotherapy and psychosomatic illnesses, say in their book Scribbling: The Secret Language of Children, “drawing on a piece of paper enables communication between adult and child” (p. 19).

Language can take different forms. According to one dictionary definition, it is “a person’s ability to express and communicate with others through articulated voices or other communicating systems”. Based on this, you may find that it’s not just about speech. Language also consists of writing, nonverbal communication, and symbols. Thus, language also has room for drawing, for it is also a form of expression. It is a way for a child to tell something about his inner world.

Interpretation of the drawing

In order to interpret a drawing, we need to consider two important things:

  • Nervous system maturity. We mean in particular its maturity in terms of representational abilities. Motor skills, space, symbolic functions, language, etc.
  • The fact that not everyone is qualified to interpret a drawing. We need to be aware that while there are certain parameters that indicate certain things, the only people who are able to truthfully interpret such material correctly are professionals in the field: psychologists, professors of psychology, and psychiatrists (depending on the state).
a small child is drawing

Next, we are going to present some models of interpretation. However, it must always be kept in mind that each child is unique. The descriptions we have listed are not sufficient to obtain a complete and complete interpretation. These are just typical interpretations that can help an adult get started if he or she feels the child has something going on. Whatever the case, contact a professional if you feel it is necessary.


It is important to pay attention to detail so that the child’s drawing can be interpreted. Keep the following in mind:

  • The way a child draws. Pay attention to how the child holds the pen. Is the child calm and free, or is he tense?
  • Starting points. When a child starts drawing in the middle of a piece of paper, it usually means that the child knows his or her place in the outside world. If a child does not start drawing in the middle, it can mean shyness or excitement.
  • Status. If a child uses a lot of space for their drawing, this can mean self-confidence, outward orientation, and a desire to grow. When a child uses little space, this can mean that the child is scared, blocked, or introverted.
  • Pressing the pen. When a child draws lightly and distantly, this can mean that he or she is sensitive in nature. Darker lines can mean more energy and the need for more personal space.
  • Lines. If these are confident, it can mean the drawing is easy for the child. If they don’t, they can signify some kind of fear. Alternatively, sensitive drawing may be the result of rigorous upbringing.
  • Lines. every circle, line, curve, angle, broken line, or other pattern is a reflection of where a child places himself in the world. In other words, in this way the child perceives himself and how he develops.
  • Horizons. Projection of the most famous image for a child: the face.
  • Corners. Meaning excitement and resistance.
  • Sharp bets. This is a sign of a strong emotional life. They can also mean a cry for help because of some grief.
  • Broken lines. It can mean the fear of separation from someone loved by a child.

The meaning of colors

Colors also matter. They can reveal signs e.g. aggression, joy and love. The psychology of colors tries to classify possible meanings. For example, red can be a description of impulsivity,  yellow of joy, black of fear, grief or aggression, and white of serenity.

Drawing can be a window into a child’s inner world. Paying attention to these drawings can help us learn from a child’s feelings. This is indeed a wonderful language that will become more advanced over time. And while this language is “secret,” for we do not understand it, we can learn to understand the meanings it contains. In this way, we can also be more aware of the child’s personality and what is happening in his or her life.

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