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Draw-A-Man Test, developed by Goodenough in 1926 was the first formal figure drawing test. It was used to estimate a child's cognitive and intellectual abilities
reflected in the drawing's quality. The test was later revised by Harris in 1963 as the Goodenough Harris Drawing Test (GHDT), which included a detailed scoring system and
allowed for drawings of men, women, and the self. The scoring system primarily reflected the way in which the child is maturing cognitively. The GHTD is appropriate for
children between the ages of three and 17, although it has been found to be most useful for children between three and 10.
The Draw-A-Person test (DAP) was developed by Machover in 1948 and used figure drawings in a more projective way, focusing on how the drawings reflected the
anxieties, impulses, self-esteem, and personality of the test taker. In this test, children are first asked to draw a picture of a person. Then, they are asked to draw a
picture of a person of the sex opposite of the first drawing. Sometimes, children are also asked to draw a picture of the self and/or family members. Then, they are asked
a series of questions about themselves and the drawings. These questions can be about the mood, the ambitions, and the good and bad qualities of the people in the
drawings. The pictures and the questions on the DAP are meant to elicit information about the child's anxieties, impulses, and overall personality. The DAP is the most
frequently used figure drawing test today. A scoring system appropriate for adults was developed in 1993 by Mitchel, Trent, and McArthur.

In 1992, Naglieri and his colleagues created a more specific scoring system for figure drawing tests called the Draw-A-Person: Screening Procedure of Emotional
Disturbance (DAP:SPED), based on a large standardization sample. This scoring method includes 55 items rated by the test administrator and based on the child's drawings
and responses to questions. The DAP:SPED is appropriate for children aged six to 17. It is often used as a screening method for children who may be having difficulties with
regard to social adjustment and require further evaluation.
The House-Tree-Person (HTP) test , created by Buck in 1948, provides a measure of a self-perception and attitudes by requiring the test taker to draw a house, a tree, and
a person. The picture of the house is supposed to conjure the child's feelings toward his or her family. The picture of the tree is supposed to elicit feelings of strength or
weakness. The picture of the person, as with other figure drawing tests, elicits information regarding the child's self-concept. The HTP, though mostly given to children
and adolescents, is appropriate for anyone over the age of three.
The Kinetic Family Drawing technique (KFD), developed in 1970 by Burns and Kaufman, requires the test taker to draw a picture of his or her entire family. Children are
asked to draw a picture of their family, including themselves, "doing something." This picture is meant to elicit the child's attitudes toward his or her family and the
overall family dynamics. The KFD is some times interpreted as part of an evaluation of child abuse. The Kinetic School Drawing technique (KSD), developed in 1974 by Prout
and Phillips, requires the child to draw a picture of himself or herself, a teacher, and one or more classmates. This picture is meant to elic it the child's attitudes toward
people at school and his or her functioning in the school environment.
For example, five-year old children are expected to make fairly basic drawings of people, consisting of a head, eyes, nose, mouth, body, arms, and legs. An 11-year-old, on
the other hand is expected to have more details in the picture, such as a more defined neck, clothes, and arms in a particular direction.
figure drawings are assessed with regard to self-image. Children often project themselves in the drawings. For example, females with body image concerns may reflect these
concerns in their drawings. Victims of sexual abuse may stress sexual characteristics in their drawings.
Psychological, neuropsychological, or emotional dysfunction can also be considered in figure drawing interpretation. This type of interpretation is often done with figure
drawings made by adults. For example, a person who omits or distorts body parts may suffer from emotional impairment. Excessive detail with regard to the sexual nature of
the drawing may indicate sexual maladjustment.
Figure drawings are also interpreted with regard to child abuse. In 1994, Von Hutton developed a scoring system for both the HTP and DAP focusing on indicators of child
abuse that may be present in drawings. The drawing of the family in the KFD test may also provide indicators of abuse.
Stages of creative development
In 1975, Viktor Lowenfeld launched a theory of artistic development based on systematic creative and cognitive stages. Each stage demonstrated specific characteristics and
had an age range. He encouraged the use of his artistic development stages in classrooms and as guides for parents.
These stages are as dependent on a child's exposure to art and art media as they are on a child's innate artistic ability or fine motor skills . It should be noted that because a
child does not seem to go beyond a specific developmental stage, it does not mean that the child has a cognitive or developmental problem. This apparent arrest of
development may be due to limited exposure to art, lack of interest, or fine-motor differences. Cultural values can also affect artistic expression and development,
influencing content, art media, style, and symbolic meaning as represented in the child's view of the world.
Children may overlap stages, making drawings with elements of one stage while progressing or regressing to another. Generally, boys and girls will develop similarly in the
initial stages. Whether any child progresses to the latter stages usually requires instruction of some kind.
SCRIBBLING STAGE The scribbling stage usually begins around two years old and lasts until the child is about four years of age. In some cases, it can begin as soon as a child
can hold a fat crayon and make marks on paper, which is sometimes around 18 months old. At first, the child is interested only in watching the color flow on the paper. Some
children are more interested in the marking itself and may even look away while scribbling. What results on the paper is accidental and often delights the child, even though
it is indistinguishable to adults.
With about six months of practice, the child will be more deliberate and may start drawing circles. Later, the child will name the drawing, saying, "This is a dog." The child
may even look at the drawing of the dog the next day and say, "This is Daddy." The child will also start drawing people that resemble a tadpole or amoeba (a circle with arms
and legs, and sometimes eyes).
PRE-SCHEMATIC STAGE The pre-schematic, or pre-symbolic, stage begins around age four; however, it may start earlier or later, depending on the child's cultural and artistic
experience. In this stage, the amoeba or tadpole people may have faces, hands, and even toes, but no bodies. These figures face front and often have big smiles. Omission of
body details is not a sign that something is developmentally wrong. It just means that other things in the drawing of the person are more important.
Colors are selected on whim and usually have no relationship with what is being drawn. Figures may be scattered all over the page, or the page turned in every direction as
the figures fill the paper. Objects and figures may appear to float all over the page because children do not yet know how to express three-dimensional objects on a two-
dimensional surface.
The child's self-portrait appears as an amoeba person, but it will usually be the biggest figure, appearing in the center of the page. The child may test different ways to draw
a self-portrait before settling on one for a period of time. In this instance, art helps define a child's self image.
SCHEMATIC STAGE The schematic stage usually begins around seven years old and extends through age nine. At this time, the child has developed specific schema, or
symbols for people and objects in his or her environment, and will draw them consistently over and over. Human figures have all necessary body parts. Arms and legs also fill
out, instead of being stick-like. This is usually due to more body awareness and recognition of what body parts do; e.g. parts of the body help the child run, catch a ball,
jump, etc. Adults usually have very long legs because that is how children see them.
Houses and people no longer float on the page. They are grounded by a baseline that acts as a horizon line. As the child continues to draw, there may be two or more
baselines to show distance or topography. Children may also draw a series of pictures, like cartoon squares, to show action sequences over time. This seems to reflect a
child's desire to tell stories with the drawings. By eight or nine years of age, children will often draw their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes.