Children's Drawings of the Human Figure (Hardback) book cover

Children's Drawings of the Human Figure

By Maureen V. Cox

© 1993 – Psychology Press

168 pages

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Paperback: 9781138876972
pub: 2015-06-25
Hardback: 9780863772689
pub: 1993-06-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203775707
pub: 2013-05-24
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The human figure is one of the earliest topics drawn by the young child and remains popular throughout childhood and into adolescence. When it first emerges, however, the human figure in the child's drawing is very bizarre: it appears to have no torso and its arms, if indeed it has any, are attached to its head. Even when the figure begins to look more conventional the child must still contend with a variety of problems: for instance, how to draw the head and body in the right proportions and how to draw the figure in action.

In this book, Maureen Cox traces the development of the human form in children's drawings; she reviews the literature in the field, criticises a number of major theories which purport to explain the developing child's drawing skills and also presents new data.


The book is attractive because it is well written and concise on the one hand and theory-oriented and adequately documented on the other. It contains approximately 240 relevant references and useful author and subject indexes. Moreover, it is carefully edited and illustrated. Admirably, and most importantly, Maureen Cox displays her research inclination in every chapter by questioning the adequacy of earlier studies, by considering alternative explanations and by refraining from easy generalisations and sweeping statements. This serves to recommend her book to developmental psychologists, educators, and those interested in cultural and developmental aspects of graphic art. - Bulletin of the International Graphonomics Society

This book is a comprehensive review of North American and European studies, covering development, intelligence levels, intercultural aspects, and emotional indicators in the drawings…This is a scholarly work that deserves attention. - Audrey Rieger in Science Books and Films

Table of Contents

The Meaning of the Marks. The Tadpole Figure. Children's Modifications of their Human Figure Drawings. Human Figure Drawings as Measures of Intellectual Maturity. Human Figure Drawings as Indicators of Children's Personality and Emotional Adjustment. Sex Differences in Children's Human Figure Drawings. Human Figure Drawings in Different Cultures.

About the Series

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Essays in Developmental Psychology is designed to meet the need for rapid publication of brief volumes in developmental psychology.

The series defines developmental psychology in its broadest terms and covers such topics as social development, cognitive development, developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience, language development, learning difficulties, developmental psychopathology and applied issues.

Each volume in the series makes a conceptual contribution to the topic by reviewing and synthesizing the existing research literature, by advancing theory in the area, or by some combination of these missions.

Authors in this series provide an overview of their own highly successful research program, but they also include an assessment of current knowledge and identification of possible future trends in research.

Each book is a self-contained unit supplying the advanced reader with a coherent review of important research as well as its context, theoretical grounding and implications.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / General