May the Crayons Be with You

As a psychologist, I’ve seen several interpretations of children’s drawings. Sometimes when a child finds it difficult to talk, he or she is giving paper to draw on, and then the psychologist starts to draw conclusions. Sometimes a child’s drawings can be a cause for concern, particularly if there’s violence involved. Luckily most psychologists only use drawings as a starting point for discussion, not to make far-reaching inferences of a child’s mental health.

My kids are Star Wars fans. This means that even my 3-year-old who previously only drew “rocks”, which is to say oblong shapes, has been inspired to start drawing more. Practically his first human character ever was a representation of Darth Vader, complete with light saber. Now he’s even started drawing in details like Darth Vader’s buttons or whatever those colorful things on his chest are. Here is a typical example of his art from today.


These two Darths have got special two-jabs-in-one-go light sabers. Note the small green slime volcano in the background and the raging fire above.

At the same time my five-year-old drew a picture where Darth Vader chops Luke Skywalker’s hand off. There’s blood and fire. There are also several slime volcanoes spitting multi-colored slime over the hapless fighters. I have no idea what these drawings say about my children’s psychological state.

Luke’s getting his hand chopped off in a fiery incident. Han Solo (on the left) seems to be enjoying himself.

I don’t think children used to draw like this, at least not at such a young age. Popular culture is everywhere and my children already know a lot more about Star Wars than I ever did. Their impression of it is somewhat warped since all the little boys are rooting for Darth Vader, but come on, he’s got the suit and everything! All super stars are usually in cool costumes, aren’t they?

Luckily I’ve also developed a mild interest towards Star Wars. I think that I’ve actually never seen the movies before, so maybe it can be a hobby we share. Although, after they’re about twelve I would prefer to see them moving on. All I can do is hope.


14 thoughts on “May the Crayons Be with You

  1. If there are volcanoes in the pictures, that is not Luke and Vader. That is Obi-Wan and Anakin who became Vader. Luke lost his hand while facing his father, now Vader, in a air lock of sorts. [Not to get too technical. But, it’s the truth. :)]

    I suspect that might be Darth Maul instead of Vader, too, since his sword goes both ways.

    Yes, I’d recommend giving the movies a try. They can be great inspiration for the science fiction genre. But, I do not agree with their present “empire” status. They are not “all that.” But, someone sure hyped them up to be. Any decent writer could come up with a deep space adventure series just as good if not better. It boils down to budget, good press and who your creative teammates are.

    All you can do is hope they move on from Star Wars? Does that make you a New Hope or a dying hope. 🙂


    1. Wow, sounds like you know your stuff! My boys are still getting all the names confused. The only one that everyone knows and can pronounce is Darth Vader. Hah, I’d love to be the New Hope 😀


      1. I’m not a licensed professional, but you can send me a check. 😛

        Are the boys getting them confused or are you? 🙂 I suspect either someone is feeding the boys info about the movies. Otherwise, only the 2-3 yr-old might confuse names and call every bad guy or good guy by the same name as my nephew does. Every woman is a Mama. Every old man is a Grandpa. Every puppet is an Elmo.

        You know, A New Hope is one of the movie’s titles.


  2. Also, the interest in violent art stems from both genetics and who the kids interact with. My brother got it from somewhere and passed his input onto me. After fourteen years, that effect wore off, and I no longer followed in his footsteps because I had developed a moral code of my own that–to use your mention of Star Wars–turned this Stormtrooper into a Jedi-in-training to face my brother’s Dark Side. Actually, neither of us had much interest in violent art. But, my brother picked up words I didn’t need to learn. He would then try to get me to use them for his amusement.


    1. Stuff like this is very contagious. It’s just part of the kids’ culture, I’d say, but of course there may be some individuals who take it too far.


      1. Uh, wait. Are you going a lil overboard? I was merely suggesting…jesting someone might use a fake lightsaber in some act of violence. I was not making a news bulletin about such an act. Of course, anything is possible these days. And, for all we know, someone could invent a lethal lightsaber within a year. But, I was not outlawing toy lightsabers as dangerous weapons. So…


      2. Okay, it’s good to hear that’s not what you were going for. I’ve run across people who do actually think this way, and since I don’t know you, I thought you might be one of them. I’m glad to be wrong this time.


      3. I find psychologists usually are wrong when they guess what I am thinking or evaluate my feelings. 🙂

        Like I said, it’s possible. Someone could turn a lightsaber into a weapon. Heck, we’ve got machines that can replicate objects with liquid plastic in a person’s home now. If you can make a gun, you can probably make a lethal sword. But, since guns are still so frightfully popular, who wants to use a sword? Maybe laser guns will come first. 😛


  3. My kids never colored like that either. Even AFTER they saw Star Wars. Violence permeates our world in such small does on so many levels. Just like with chemicals, we’re being poisoned to death by the violence.


    1. I don’t know about that. I posted today on the subject and children, particularly boys, have always drawn violent pictures. I think it’s mainly just playing. Violence is born from things like neglect, poverty and loneliness.


  4. The Force is evidently strong in your family ;). One of the most hilarious conversations with my boys (a long time ago in a galaxy far away 🙂 ) took place when I delivered boxes of their early art that I’d saved through the years to them at a private gathering for my youngest’s wedding rehearsal dinner. One son with some psychology training interpreted (and critiqued) the preschool drawings of “snakes” and “rocks” as only a brother can without offending. A good time was had by all. Most moms can likely appreciate the scenario. This is good writing on a couple of hot topics. Well done, Laura!


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