As my sons, now in their 20's, grew up I encouraged creativity and was able to balance the lack of art and music in public schools. These drawings are by my son, Kyle. He created them BEFORE college level art classes.
Kyle's pencil drawings....see one more below.
I'd say he is self-taught. Here are other examples of his work.
People always attribute my son's abilities to genetics! (The other son is an excellent writer and computer game developer.)
Oh, people often say, they took after you or they took after their father, a professional writer! Well! Maybe so, but my sister and brother are not artists or musicians. My mother sang opera, my uncle was a photographer and my other uncle was a jazz musician and two of the three also had every day boring jobs that made them a living!
My grandfather was a school principal when he lived in Georgia and became a postal worker in Philadelphia, a great job for a black man back in the 1930's. He played the piano and was my mother's first music teacher. Three of my cousins are college professors teaching history, education and women's studies. No one teaches art but me.
Creativity may be genetic. I have seen traces of it in my family. But I have a lot of relatives who are not obviously creative. Maybe they are, but as with most of America, they were not encouraged to pursue the arts.
Because I was determined my sons would have everything I did not have growing up I signed them up for Wiggle Worms music classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music when they were just toddlers. I took them to story hour at the Chicago Public Library branch in my neighborhood when they were 18 months, the youngest age they were allowed to attend. I took them to galleries in the neighborhood after a few hours in the playground or visiting Family Focus a drop-in center for parents and young children where they played and I volunteered to teach a workout class.By the time they started preschool they had been to children's plays, read to daily by both parents, taught something about musicality, been sung to. They signed up for their own library cards as soon as they could write their names. They took out books regularly.
They also had healthy bodies; they ran, climbed and played every day with friends at home or in the park. They were fed healthy and balanced meals including fresh fruits and vegetables.
At three years of age they started preschool and I volunteered weekly teaching songs I had learned when I had been a camp counselor for four years and from my sons' other music classes and our public library story hour.
When they were in high school and had excellent art and music teachers I went on field trips and met with teachers.
My sons were exposed to visual art, music, theater, books, writing and even dance from infancy...stuck securely in a snuggly or a stroller or baby back-pack my guys went to art exhibitions before they could say the words. And I gave them art materials to play with from the time they could pick up a pencil just like I gave them blocks, legos, puzzles and trucks. I actually sat them on my lap to help them draw the characters they liked when they could not. I drew them as best I could and the little tykes added their appropriate scribbles. As they got older I would simply put a new sketchbook in their room for each of them when I noticed the last one was full. I offered various drawing and painting tools appropriate to their ages. When older still, I would ask them if they needed a new sketch book and if they said "yes", I picked one up from the store and give it to them.Oh, and I gave them piano lessons. One son sang with the Chicago Children's Choir regional choir for years! I loved seeing him sing at Lincoln Park Zoo or Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. He sang with the choir when the Joffrey Ballet did the Nutcracker. Later he performed in plays at the Chernin Center for the Arts. One of the directors who trained him was noted playwright, Ifa Bayeza!
I believe everyone is potentially creative but it is not nourished in most! I believe "free time" is a critical component for developing creativity. If you constantly program children (or adults), always filling all their time with scheduled activities, there will be little time to be creative, in school or out! . As with most things in life BALANCE is essential to producing a creative human. Or more accurately, to NOT reducing a potentially creative person to a less creative person. Play is critical to being creative. I (and many artists) know that intuitively; it has been documented by people who study these things.
My sons had a stay-at-home mother who, as an artist, could work from home and adjust her schedule to accommodate their schedules including driving one son to several years of soccer practice and games and for the other driving him to his apprenticeship to learn to build computers for a year and for the months of prep time when he was on the Robotics Team preparing for a robotics competition, the first one for Whitney Young H.S. W.Y.H.S. was able to compete because my son could manage the computer components allowing the robot to perform. He spent a lot of his free time reading computer books on programming and other subjects.
I was a latch-kid who had lots of free time to piddle on the piano, read books around the house, daydream and doodle! I took dance classes that I selected myself. I asked for piano lessons, and later I asked to go to art classes and programs. My mother NEVER made me do anything! I don't think that was the best approach, but a nice, BALANCE is great. Don't expect the public schools to provide everything your child needs. Be creative and you can produce creative children. Not just visual artists. My other son, Scott, is a computer game developer.
Is it ever too late to learn to be creative? I'd say, "no!
If you believe me then go PLAY and let those creative juices flow!