My first year homeschooling I didn’t go all in with form drawing. It kinda seemed like a waste of time and resources. Honestly, I’m suppose to draw straight lines for how long? However, I have since fallen in love with and learned so much about the method and importance of form drawing.
The following article was found here: https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfideas/home/contents/curiculum/subjects/form-drawing
Form drawing is the freehand drawing of lines, patterns and structures. Out of an inner awareness forms are put to paper. The lines and curves with which the forms are built up are recognisable in the outer world – the geometric forms of snowflakes and honeycombs, spirals, shells, the paths of the earth and the planets are outer impressions that can be experienced inwardly. The geometric laws are inherent in all creation and have been used in art since time immemorial.
The children first walk the forms in space before drawing them in the air, in sand or they may feel the forms on sandpaper or trace them on the blackboard with their fingers. Finally they draw the movements on paper. This also lays the basis for geometry later on in the sixth school year. It furthermore prepares the children for what they will meet in the ninth up to twelfth class in mathematics, astronomy and art history.
Form drawing has an awakening effect on the children and leads them out of living in images toward the ability to combine thoughts, evaluating a situation and drawing conclusions.
When the four lower senses, sense of life, sense of touch, sense of movement and the sense of balance is well developed in the first seven years, the child can potentially manage the first six learning years successfully. It is important to keep on paying attention to the development of these four senses during the first three school years.
The sense of movement does not only incorporate outer bodily movement but also the movement when the eye follows lines and forms. The most important sense used for form drawing is the sense of movement. Through this sense the movement in space as well as the own movement is experienced, but also the movement that has stopped = form.
All forms work on the sense of balance and the sense of life through the sense of movement.
We meet many different forms in nature. Look at the plants, at moving water or the movements caused by the wind. We should attempt to let the forms we observe come into movement, to actually move with the forms. Then they come alive. Then they start speaking to us, they speak in a language that is not symbolic but is movement that has become visible.
Movement and speech are closely related. Movement lies at the basis of all form. By following the movement inherent in the form I call up the creative forces that are the basis of all physical manifestations. That is how one gets to understand the language of form by reading the book of nature. The teacher knows this when letting the children draw the forms. The children will take it in unconsciously and when they are older they will be able to recognise the etheric forms hidden in the natural phenomena.
The forms are built up according to certain basic specifications. In the first class the teacher approaches the lessons from a different starting point than in the sixth class. The developmental phases are taken in account.
When children, after putting in lots of effort, at last succeed in putting the movement down on paper as form, they can hardly stop and love to stay in the streaming movement. They live in a stream of creative movement. It is important to give them the chance to repeat endlessly so they can experience this joy of life. By the fourth class they love designing their own forms, thereby making their own movement visible and experiencing the joy of that!
Through form drawing spatial orientation and awareness of body geography is practiced, sensory experience and inner picturing abilities enhanced. Eye-hand coordination is integrated with spatial awareness. Motor activity is stimulated – fine and large – spatial direction and crossing in space is experienced through larger (walking) and finer (on paper) movement. Through movement the physical experience is imprinted in the ether body (memory).
What do we achieve with the different forms?
Geometric shapes – helps develop spatial orientation and wakefulness; also helps to develop mathematical thinking.
Spirals – work with centre and periphery, moving from the outside inward or vice versa. (Inward = I-strengthening, incarnating; outward = excarnating, letting go, relaxing) Forward and backward walking stimulates and strengthens the (own) senses of movement and of equilibrium. Motor skills are developed and enhanced. Inner imaging is encouraged and positive and negative space is unconsciously experienced.
Symmetry and mirroring – lateralisation, middle point crossed. Stars, loops, lemniscates and (later) braided forms – experience of in/out and encountering the polarities leads to I-perception, awakening consciousness.
Metamorphoses, finishing unfinished forms – strengthening imaging and fantasising forces, flexible thinking and social skills (to be aware of the other)
Rhythmic repetition – estimating distance and becoming aware of relationships in space, experiencing harmony and beauty.
Rudolf Steiner gives form drawing exercises for healing the cerebellum, the part of the brain where movement and balance is regulated! Form drawing can work very deeply. It is never meant solely or primarily as a preparation for writing. It is extensively used in art therapy where for example inner dexterity is needed, it activates the ability to combine and relate thought processes and metamorphosing processes. What is experienced outwardly, works inwardly and supports organic processes. One works here with life forces and forming forces. And never forget, it works further during the night!
Up to the seventh year there are forces working downward into the organism, after that the stream of forces work from below upward. At first cosmic forces work in the child, building the physical organism; then we start to work out of the earthly realm into the cosmos. On the right hand side we are orientated outwardly, we act in the world. Left is the feeling side where we internalize experiences. When we are moving towards the periphery and expanding, we are like the rays of the sun or a crown of flower petals. When the focus is from outside inward everything pulls together, it is like a seed or like a vortex in water flowing down a hole. When it is a closed, rounded form it is like a hand that receives or like a flower showing its face to the sun. Such a closed rounded form encloses something – like the skull or a seed. The very young child still experiences something of the harmony and unity of the cosmos, of the good. That is why the circle plays an important part as picture of eternity or of a finished or rounded off development. Centre and periphery is experienced as contrast as well as totality, the image of a closed movement and the centre point resting therein.
In addition to the circle the triangle is drawn. “All good things come in threes.” A harmonic whole is manifest herein: the divine Trinity, the threefold man (thinking, feeling, and will), Cosmos, Earth and man, the harmony of the third, the three primary colours etc. In Egypt the principle of three is seen in the pyramid form, in the threesome of Isis-Osiris- Horus.
In the Lombard art all motifs are worked out in triple braid tires. The Celts used many spiral motifs in triplicate. Geometric shapes are drawn in combinations and in rhythmic order. Forms can even be experienced and described as growing, still, surly, sly petulant or smart.