A Family Collaboration

Whilst at my Grandmother’s house I was admiring some art she and my (quite frankly adorable) cousin had been making. I couldn’t help but notice that one in particular looked like a beetle and thought it was a good opportunity to transform what I was seeing into a 3D printed drawing.


I printed out a photograph of the original drawing at the same scale as the original and cut it out, using it as a template to form my 3D bug around. Once a simple exo-skeleton was built around the drawing it was then cocooned in layer upon layer of plastic filament until I was satisfied that it was complete. Legs and extra detailing, such as a darker colouring to help define different sections of the shell, were then added. The legs are admittedly painted black as I’d ran out but this was more an exploration to see if I could transform the drawing, there is still room for refinement on my part, quite frankly I could learn a thing or two from my cousin!


I guess you could say that this was an opportunistic collaboration, had I not seen the painting at my grandmother’s then this insect would not be. Perhaps the moral of the story here is to visit your grandparents more often!

I have seen a few examples of collaborative works between adults and children but the relationship has usually been parent and child; such as Ruth Oosterman or Dave Devries  – I’ve not yet come across another Grandmother, Grandson and Cousin collaboration as of yet!

If we may not turn to look at my actions in this act of cocooning a child’s painting we see that my drawing mirrors our natural instincts as adults to protect and defend children. Of course, I say adult and child rather than make reference to paternal and maternal instincts, as I have no first hand experience at either due to not having children of my own – so who am I to throw such words about such haphazardly!

The hard outer shell of the beetle protects the painting contained inside, art mirrors life in the sense that the outer shell of a beetle keeps its soft innards safe – and without blowing my own trumpet, seasoned artist is protecting art of the purest form.

If, as Edgar H. Schein says, artists are ” to help the rest of us see more, to broaden our perspectives, and to get in touch with both internal and external forces that we might otherwise not notice”(Schein, 2001) then we must also consider that my cousin could one day be responsible for the future of fine art as we know it and that “All children are in a rapid state of mental growth.  They are learning so much faster than adults can and although an adult may see rough scribbles on the paper, that child could have had a major breakthrough in emotional color theory”(Woodward, 2010). 

This, then, is a practice that should long continue, activities such as painting and drawing for young children and also that we, as fully developed adults, encourage and protect this important stage of our children’s development.

I’m certain that my cousin is well on the way to becoming a genius!



Schein, E.H. (2001) ‘The Role of Art and the Artist’, Research Gate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Edgar_Schein/publication/247712925_The_Role_of_Art_and_the_Artist/links/53fe2adc0cf21edafd1508a5.pdf (Accessed: 24 August 2016)

Woodward, R. (2010) Advice for parents with artistic children. Available at: http://ryanwoodwardart.com/info/advice-for-parents-with-artistic-children/ (Accessed: 24 August 2016).


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