Rhoda Kellogg’s research shows that a number of line configurations are common in children’s work. Crossing and radiating lines begin to appear in young children’s scribbles between the ages of three and five.

Crossing lines seem to be suggestive of ladders, fences, and train tracks. At about this same time, shapes begin to appear among other marks and scribbles. The first shape is usually a circle. Squares and triangles develop later. Often children can print configurations that they have not yet drawn.

As children gain more control over their marks, they begin to make combinations of shapes and lines.

As children practice basic lines, universal line and shape configurations begin to appear in their work.

“I made a ladder.” Jacob, age 4

Rhoda Kellogg, Analyzing Children’s Art, Mayfield Publishing Co., Palo Alto, CA 94301, 1969