HOW TO DRAW ABORIGINAL SYMBOLS WITH RHEANNA LOTTER I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing. Vincent van Gogh
Not only is Aboriginal art a beautiful form of self-expression, but every artwork has a wonderful yet meaningful story.
We enlisted Aboriginal artist and proud Yuin woman, Rheanna Lotter, to share how we can better understand and draw Aboriginal art.
Rheanna’s artwork represents the story of her family.
The red circles represent a meeting place, where all the boys and girls gather, with the connection lines leaving the meeting place.
The first line represents the husband-and-wife meeting, while the other three connection lines represent their three children with the connection lines meaning that there is always a path back home.
For this activity, all you’ll need is a few pieces of paper and a good pen, pencil or even a paintbrush!
Rheanna’s Symbols and How to Draw Them: The Meeting Place:
In Aboriginal culture, the meeting place plays a significant role in representing everybody being connected and sitting together. Nobody is more important than anybody else and the circle never breaks. So, to create the meeting place:
Draw three circles, each looping around each other. They don’t need to be perfect, just round!
Different artists will all have different ways of drawing symbols with people represented differently. This is the way Rheanna draws boys and girls or men and women:
Draw a U shape which signifies a person sitting down with their knees up Girls are illustrated with a simple U shape Boys are a U shape with a line next to it to signify that they are hunters To draw adults, you can draw larger U shape so you can see the difference between the adults and kids Connection Lines:
Connection lines bring the storytelling into the artwork and the more detail, the more meaning behind the artwork. To draw your connection lines, simply:
Draw three or four wavy lines alongside each other Now draw dots running along each line to make the connection lines stronger. The Sun, Moon and Stars:
Rheanna draws lots of suns, moons and stars because when she was a child, she was told that when we pass on, we become stars in the sky, and we look down and look after all our loved ones. Even when we pass on, we’ll always be able to protect our family and look after them.
To draw the sun and moon:
Start with one big circle and then draw a smaller circle inside Then draw more smaller circles around the outer circle to make the rays To make the sun even brighter, add some extra dots at the end of each ray so the sun has four layers while the moon only has three To draw the star: Draw a small circle to begin Then draw four other circles around it to form a cross shape You can then add smaller circles to the cross shape to make it shine brightly To draw a shooting star: Draw a line of circles. The first circle should be the biggest and become smaller as they go on.
Now that you’ve got the basics of Aboriginal symbols, feel free to practice the symbols as much as you like before Rheanna’s next lesson!
We’ve also included some colouring sheets on the following pages for some added fun and practice.