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Process vs Product Art

Blog - 14 May 2024

Process vs Product Art

What is Process and Product Art?

In the world of art, there are two big parts: making art and the art you end up with. Regardless of who is creating, the concept is the same, but I will use myself as an example. As an artist I can paint, stroke by stroke, involved only in the moment with the colours and brushstrokes without thinking about what it will look like at the end. This is called the ‘process’. Alternatively, I could have a vision of what I want to paint and how I want the artwork to look at the end, often using a psychical visual prompt such as a photograph or item, such as a bowl of fruit. This is called the ‘product’ part. I paint both ways, but I have to say I love the process of creativity and often find myself getting lost in making marks and adding colours with no thought to the outcome of the artwork.

But the question is, what is best for children to engage in? Process art where they have total freedom to create? Or product art where they follow along a creative journey to create a set piece of art with an arty vision in mind? Let’s delve deeper.

The Creative Process

Children engage in the creative process of art by exploring, experimenting, and expressing themselves through various mediums like paint, clay, or crayons. They tap into their imagination, uninhibited by rules, to produce unique and meaningful creations. This supports and helps develop emotional, cognitive, and motor skills along the way. The process also allows for mindfulness and staying in the moment, which allows a safe space for children. This can have a profound effect on a child's ability to reduce stress and anxiety, although children often just see it as fun to be freely creative.

A great example of an artist who was all about the creative process is Jackson Pollock, who threw paint on canvas in wild ways, making splashes and marks in bold, bright colours, creating without a care about the outcome.

The Product Aspect

On the other hand, I believe guided or directed art can offer children a structured path to follow, and this can be particularly helpful for children who struggle with the creative process and have a need to know what the visual goal is. It is great for helping them feel comfortable and develop focus, patience, and attention to detail. This also provides opportunities for learning new skills and understanding the principles of art and design. Creating a goal and reaching that goal can bring great confidence and a sense of pride to a child. We all love seeing those big smiles when they present their creations!

Which approach is best?

I strongly believe that both approaches have their place in a child's artistic development. Process art encourages exploration and individuality, while guided art offers structure and skill-building. Ultimately, the best approach depends on the child's interests, temperament, and developmental stage. Balancing both methods can provide a well-rounded artistic experience, nurturing creativity, and confidence in young artists.

Here are some tips for mixing Process and Product Art:

  • Start with a plan but be flexible: Allow some options such as colour or material choices.

  • Give the set materials and show the child an image of what the artwork should be: For example, show them a house made out of glued lollypop sticks then remove the image and allow them to create it themselves without instruction, using only the materials you have provided.

  • Try new things, but get stuff done: Create a project where a part is process focused and another part is for product. For example, making bookmarks. The children get to play and create with patterns, colours they want to use then follow instructions and pop it through the heat sealer to complete the product.

Conclusion: Enjoy Best of Both Worlds!

Art is so much fun in both making and finishing. They are both important for learning and development. So, whether you are painting for fun or showing off your art in a gallery, enjoy every step. That is where the real magic happens. Do it however you like, but just keep creating!

Process Art process art kerry.jpg
Product Art product art kerry.jpg
Combined Process combined process kerry.jpg

Feeling inspired to unleash your child's creativity? Don't miss out on Big Art Fridays at Your OSHC! Book in today to let them discover a world of colourful fun and artistic exploration.

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