Posts Tagged ‘Tadpole figures’

Primal Patterns, 4

Friday, April 12th, 2024

At the end of an earlier post in this series, I listed a couple of links I’d like to explore one day when I had more time,, Today I read part of this one – on the development of drawing behaviour in humans and chimpanzees – so therefore under the headings of animal behaviour and biological anthropology. Never having studied human or animal behaviour, I also hadn’t any idea of ‘biological anthropology’ either, and am a but an interested amateur, really, when it comes to anthroplogy as a whole.

In that paper was this statement – “One of the first steps of children’s early symbolic drawing development is tadpole figures10. Consisting of two lines (legs) attached to a round form (head), the tadpole figure arises around 3 years of age11 and is observed in Western as well in non-Western countries12,13. Thus, in the same way that children reorganize their spoken language to communicate efficiently, the appearance of these first recognizable drawings also allows them to be better understood by others14.

Tadpole figures I picked up a pen and did a test doodle – and yes, two legs attached to a round form do suggest a human figure, definitely!

It was quite fascinating reading, down to the bit where the authors moved on to the statistical analysis of their observations, and as this involves skills I don’t have, they lost me there. But that intriguing statement remains imprinted on my mind.

I don’t remember my now-middle-aged children’s drawing development, or our grandkids’ development either, (the youngest is now 21) So I picked up a pen and did a test doodle following that brief description – and yes, two legs attached to a round form definitely does suggest a human figure. I could be the last person to know this, as it’s probably old news to anyone who studied psychology 101.

So far my focus on primal patterns of lines and shapes has been Man’s physical environment through mark making of what are clearly symbols – but the tadpole figure as a primitive representation of the human form needs further thought on how I might use this amazing concept it’s taken me decades to encounter.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

All images and text are © Alison Schwabe
Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without written consent.

Translate »