There are perceived to be some differences between how and what girls and boys will draw. A theory is that over the age of about 4 or 5, rounded shapes will usually be doodled by girls (including flowers, hearts etc.) while angles, boxes, straighter lines etc. are more characteristic of boys, along with typical subject matter of methods of transport. There is a general tendency for children to prefer to draw their own gender. Girls tend to use more colors per drawing than boys do, with a preference for warmer colors .
The choice of color apparently can be significant:
Black and purple suggest dominance and can be favored by a child who is relatively demanding.
Blue is popular with children who have a caring nature and enjoy company.
Red is the color of excitement, may be used especially by children to don’t want to miss out on anything, and is one of the most popular colors for children to use.
Pink shows a need for love and appreciation and is favored by girls
Green is the color of those who like to be different, like space, and are artistic and intelligent.
Yellow also demonstrates intelligence and a sunny nature.
Early research seemed to suggest that younger children preferred the warm colors, while older children preferred the cooler colors.
When it comes to how a drawing is positioned on the page, apparently the left side of the page is traditionally associated with the past and with nurturing. It is also associated with mothers. The right side relates to an interest in the future, and a need to communicate. This side is associated with fathers. A child who places a drawing of a good size, prominently on the page is considered to be well-balanced and secure, while in contrast, small figures drawn at or near the lower edge of the paper or in a corner, express feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.
Detailed, careful drawings may reveal a child who feels the needs to try very hard. Bold strokes, especially if close together, can be a sign of stress, strong feelings, determination or anger, while softer marks suggest a gentler nature. The quality of line can also be significant – a figure drawn with light, wavering, broken lines, reveals a hesitant, insecure child who appears to think as he goes along. By contrast the bold, continual, freely drawn line is expressive of self-confidence, and a feeling of security, this child is carrying out what has already been clearly visualized.
When drawing figures, the size, and the relative size of the figures drawn is considered to be significant, with more important or dominant figures being drawn larger. The absence of arms is sometimes interpreted as indicating timidity, a sign of non-aggressive children, whereas exaggerating the size of the hands is seen as symbolic of aggressive tendencies if the figure is a self-portrait. Likewise, tiny feet are seen as a sign of insecurity – literally an unstable foundation.
Consideration also has to be given to the age of the child. Younger children have less motor control than older children, and it will of course affect the quality of line, shape and organization that they use. They have a relatively limited visual vocabulary.
When it comes to use of color also, studies have shown that perhaps unsurprisingly there is a correlation between art education and culture in children’s use of color, which suggests some caution should be exercised in drawing conclusions about a child’s personality and emotional state from their use of color. This too can also be influenced by age, and where detail is important to a child, color may be subordinated.