By Ziaskia Cain. Ziaskia, 14, lives in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Most people will tell you we have five senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, but we have six. Feeling, it’s completely different from touching because to feel something it doesn’t even have to be there and I think the age range that are the best at feeling are children. To feel you have to have some kind of creativity or imagination and no one is better at imagining than kids but if there are no pencils will it stay that way in the future? There are many different type of arts, martial arts, performing arts and so on but for children it seems the easiest is the art of drawing. To pick up a pencil and turn a line into anything they want, to let their imaginations run wild and draw trees pink and the grass orange. But old traditions like drawing are fading fast. I asked a child the other day whether he watched Bob the builder and he had no idea who he was. That’s when I realised how much the world is changing and we don’t even know it. It feels like I haven’t bought a CD in decades because who wants a breakable CD taking up space in their house when they can have a weightless unbreakable song downloaded straight to their mp3 device.

Maybe buying a CD will be the same as drawing with pencils. Maybe kids will finger paint on computer screens and use styluses (fake pencils!) to draw their master pieces. Maybe Art will become extinct; dead with the dinosaurs and the Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s of the world. But one thing’s for sure imagination won’t be free in the future, it will be copy and pasted from a computer.

When I was a kid I drew on paper, on my hands, on the walls (even though I was lectured endlessly about it), wherever humanly possible I would draw. But maybe in the future kids will have digital sketch pads where they can use styluses instead of pencils. And drawing will be a foreign word like whenever my mum tells me about tape cassettes. It’s already happening right this second, right now. Books are becoming kindles and CDs are becoming Mp3 downloads; writing on paper is slowly evaporating as we type everything now. So what will pencils become? The computer, the latest development in writing technology, promises, or threatens, to change literacy practices for better or worse, depending on your point of view. If kids don’t use pencils in the future it will be a beautiful part of childhood sucked down the drain. Drawing fuels your imagination, those colourful abstract swirls children draw are keys to other worlds. No two children draw the same and that’s what makes drawing special. It’s their stamp on the world. So if pencils are overrun by computer software then children will be limited to knowledge, to set rules and instructions. If you want to make orange you click on it with your mouse and it will magically appear on your virtual paint brush. You won’t be able to mix red and yellow together and feel the sticky slime of paints mixing as you create a new colour. Nothing will be original any more. It will be someone else’s idea; any child could come along and draw the very same thing on the computer as the one before it.

The Beatles for example; an icon in the music world. They showed how important drawing is with their song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds which was inspired by a John Lennon’s son Julian’s drawing of an imaginary world. A loved and successful song across the world spanned from a pencil. Pencils are so important because they inspire people to create their own masterpieces out of motivation from another drawing or piece of writing. It sounds cheesy, but art in all forms, in some way or another touches the soul, be it as it may positive or negative art provokes thought and thoughts turn into ideas. For myself I get inspired by music, I have a little ritual of music that I play in the morning before going to school to get me ready for the day, and it inspires me to be a better person. It’s scientifically proven that drawing helps children convey their emotions. Drawing can be very soothing for children and psychologists have said they are able to talk to a child through the picture enabling them to indirectly ask them important questions.

In the future the truth is children probably won’t use pencils any more, which I think is a real shame. Not only will it affect their childhoods but it will affect a creative child becoming a creative adult in a job they love like becoming a professional cartoonist. Yes graphic designers have shown the beauty of using a computer for designs, in all the amazingly realistic video games and animations, I study Graphics at school myself but it can’t be as rewarding to know you have worked a long time on a drawing completely by you with no computer operating your design. To know that you have drawn a picture straight from their head to the paper must be rewarding and not just to children but to anyone at any age, (especially if it’s good). Also pencils are still used in Graphics design to sketch up ideas so perhaps they will be sticking around but not as commonly used as they are now. But in conclusion I think eventually pencils will be extinct and upgraded for something new, like horses were upgraded for cars but in the foreseeable future they’ll be sticking around.

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