Builder Art

I have shared on this blog here and here how my artist son used this creative outlet as part of his process toward writing.  I also used drawing samples from my builder son in a traditional comic book format as well that depicted some of his process toward writing.  On my Homeschooling Creatively list, we had a discussion some time back about the lack of traditional drawing by those right-brained learners who choose building as their preferred creative outlet.  I mentioned at the time that Eli, my builder son, typically had a builder style to his drawings which looked different from his artist brother.  However, because he did have an older artist brother, Eli did draw in that manner simply from the example he was exposed to as he watched that brother draw for hours upon hours a day.

I said I would gather some Builder Art examples from Eli (from about the age of 6/7 to about 9/10 years old) and share it on my blog, and that’s what I’m finally doing here.  I would say that 80% of what Eli drew depicted this following format.  Only about 20% reminded me of his artist brother’s style, and I believe, as mentioned before, that it was from the exposure to that from him.  So, here goes:

I believe this depicts his train track schematics.  Notice the codes on the left-hand side.

I don’t know what this is; it looks like contraptions.  Again, there is a symbol code on the left.

This looks like one of his mazes, but with a map aspect to it.


This looks like some block constructions with a guide above each that shows how many pieces of each style of block is required to complete the below indicated block construction.

This appears similar to the previous in that maybe he is showing what is in each space below by the “close up” depiction above.


Another “close up” representation of a larger map drawing with a symbol code below.


The outline of a map construct, possibly reflecting a role-playing video game pathway.

It looks like a maze pathway on the left, and often, Eli would mess around with creative/three-dimensional lettering.

Another track plan?

The inside of a castle, but by the looks of the keys in places, it may be the “visual key” to finding the hidden keys in a video game; maybe Luigi’s Mansion.  This was a common theme for Eli:  giving a visual depiction of either what he is building, what he is drawing, or what he is playing.  That would definitely be a “builder’s eye” to drawing:  code cracking type of thing.

This appears to be the old Game Boy system, if you notice on the bottom (for those old enough to remember the first ones), and the above must be a scene in one of the games.

This was from a book he entitled, “Maps”.  It appears to be the pathways leading to the hidden keys, maybe in a game system.

This is how to draw a car, seen from many angles.  This goes along with their three-dimensionality, and he shows you by showing the sides, front, back, and top angles of this car.

I recognize Lego pieces in this picture, so he is diagramming how to build something.  This was one of multiple pages.

Since I notice water coming out of the bottom, this may be a series of pipes of some sort.

I recognize the mushroom head people in this picture, so it must have to do with a video game with some kind of numbering system.

Here is some kind of map with numerical depictions associated with colors.  I’m not sure if this is a made up game or one associated with a video game.

Now this one I recognize as one he made up because I notice his mazes involved throughout that he created himself.  So, it looks like he’s incorporating his mazes with his map-making.

This is when he went through a stage of drawing the various parts of trains and showing piece by piece how to do so, and then leaving a space for the person to attempt their own drawings.  This is for lights.  There were books and books on “how to draw” trains, Lego direction style.

This shows how he could get interested in things like these optical illusions.  Anything three-dimensional and such would peak an interest and he would want to explore.

All in all, as I look back over some of these examples, there were inspirations from video games, his interest in trains, and his preferred building materials of Legos.  But, the thing one notices that has commonality is the map/maze/instructional aspect to his drawings.  Therefore, although we often value traditional object/people drawing, there are other viable venues to drawing that reflects the creative gift of the person doing the drawing.


3 responses to “Builder Art

  1. This is fascinating! You can clearly see the influences of different computer/video games in his work, as well as the train track schematics and legos instructions. Such a different way of looking at art and the various influences on art and design. Just incredible!

  2. I think it’s incredible, too. I love the fact that he gave us all a peek into his gifted, mechanical, visual-spatial mind.

    My 10 y/o “right brained” learner likes to draw maps. (He used to draw a lot of mazes too.) He recently drew a large map of the yard on our whiteboard and used it to create a treasure hunt for his best friend (he hit me up for the money for the “treasure” — candy and matchbox cars *LOL*) Happily I remembered to snap a picture of his map for his portfolio. There are NO math worksheets in that portfolio, but a smattering of photos of Lego creations and such.

  3. My guys aren’t artist by any means, but I love it when they go through “art phases.” Their chosen paper alwasys seems to be a spiralbound notebook, and when they are in one of these modes, they will literally fill it to the brim from cover to cover with their creations! Thanks for sharing your son’s cool builder art!