People ask me if he loves to watch the movie Coco. He HATES Coco and runs out of the room screaming whenever we put it on for my older son. Some people seem surprised, but when you think about it, there should be nothing surprising about the fact that a tiny human can be scared of skeletons or monsters on TV, yet spend hours drawing them on paper.
When you draw things, you’re in control of them. You’re making them exist. You’re in charge of the world. When you watch TV, you’re totally passive. You’re at the mercy of whatever comes on the screen next.
Drawing gives you power over your own mental and emotional life. Like other forms of play, it allows you to explore the scarier parts of life in a safe, controlled way.
This is the essential thing to know about kids’ drawings and why they are so good: they are not about representation as much as they are about conjuring and exploring. “Having an experience on the page,” as Lynda Barry puts it.