Drawing with wax blocks
Updated: Apr 30
Based on the principles of Waldorf education, the eco-friendly and natural beeswax Stockmar crayons that we use at school are deliberately designed to appeal to the children's senses. In today's world such a stimulus is more important than ever before.
A distinguishing feature of the Stockmar Wax Colours, is their outstanding brilliance. The colours can be layered one upon another to create a beautiful depth of colour. When we look closely at nature, we often realise how many colours can be seen in each tree trunk, flower, lake or sky. Through layering colours we encourage younger children to expand their creativity rather than reducing it by instilling our preconceived ideas that a tree trunk is brown and a sky blue. Later in the education, when older children begin a more scientific observations of nature, we return to this in a more conceptual and analytical way to help us understand the different elements that cause the differing colours that we observe.
Rather than showing or telling the children that yellow and blue make green, through layering colour, the children also begin to observe how through the meeting of primary colours, all the other colours emerge - discovering the magic for themselves.
When we teach drawing in schools, teachers often refer to the widest side of the crayon as the King Side, the opposite side of the rectangle as the Queen Side and the smallest side as the Baby Side. We use the King Side for wide expanses of colour when, for example, creating a drawing with sea or sky. The Queen Side is used for smaller objects such as houses, trunks of trees, the sun. The Baby Side or Stick Crayons are used for details like smaller people within a landscape, animals, flowers, windows and doors.
We draw from the inside out rather than drawing an outline and filling it in. An outline creates a definitive shape that once drawn is hard to change. Alternatively, a soft colour that is slowly built up as we begin to explore and refine the shape, discovering what feels right, gives us more freedom.
When we draw, we are also encouraging children to discover and capture the essence or life force of the object we are drawing - the courage of a lion, the strength of a bear, the mischievousness of a monkey or the nobility of an oak tree. To do this we capture the gesture and movement of the object, and this too is easier to find through layering colour and seeing the shape emerge through our exploration - rather than constricting our curiosity through defining our first thought with an outline. If we draw a tree we might begin with the roots and base of the trunk and then as the tree grows across our page, slowly move up the trunk and into the branches, following the way that a tree would develop in life. Finally adding the green for the leaves.
Through drawing an outline we are also imposing an artificial boundary between the object and its background rather than encouraging an understanding of the interrelationship between what we choose to draw and the world in which it lives. In reality, we perceive visual images as gradations of shade and colour, never as the distinct outlines we commonly use to draw with.
The drawings we do are often inspired by a story, a poem or an experience we have shared. This can be a festival, a walk or the changing seasons around us. Waldorf Inspirations have created a lovely film that helps to show some of the above: