31 Art Teachers Describe The Most Disturbing Drawing A Student Has Ever Submitted

You can tell a lot about a child by their drawings. Unfortunately for these poor souls from Ask Reddit, sometimes you find out things you didn’t want to know.

Unsplash, GoaShape
Unsplash, GoaShape

1. Abandoned in a fire

“During draw and tell one boy held up a page with just red and yellow scribbled all over. The other children started laughing and I shushed them down and then the kid spoke up: ‘This is a drawing of the fire my parents left me in when they ran out the house.'” — Takbeir

2. Hanging by a noose

“One art class I took there was a student who didn’t get along with the teacher, whose last name happened to be a fruit. In this class sketchbooks were a requirement, so when it came time to hand them in he only drew one thing in his: the same fruit as the teacher’s last name hanging from a tree (by a noose). The kid was confronted but he claimed it was a coincidence.” — iamnotstephanie

3. Surrounded by pools of blood

“A nine year old drew a very accurate picture of the playground. The swings and slides were depicted just as they are. He also added all the other campers. The picture was well done and I would have loved it if not for the fact that every child in the picture had limbs askew and red pools around their heads and torsos. I asked the boy what he drew. He told me, ‘they all got hurt.’ He said, ‘I’m here’ and pointed to an empty spot on the page. Then he said, ‘and you’re there too Miss dersertchoir’, and pointed to one of the ruined bodies. He had a single father who was a MMA fighter. I assume he just watched a lot of gory things because he was otherwise a very nice child.” — desertchoir

4. Injecting heroin

“Not a teacher, but I am the legal guardian of my nephew now for reasons that will become obvious.

I used to pick him up regularly from his infants school as his mother, my sister is a waste of space. One day his teacher pulled me to the side and pulled out a picture he had drawn, took me a moment to realize what I was seeing before it focused into a picture of a woman with blood around her and needles scattered around. Teacher was very concerned and I mean borderline calling police and social services and not letting him leave with me.

I asked my nephew who is about 6 at the time what is this about, he explains this is what his mommy looks like most nights, I break down crying the teacher breaks down crying I call social services myself from the headmasters office they place him in my care as a temporary measure and investigate.

Turns out my sister had started to take heroin via needles and accidentally broke a vein one night hence the blood. 6 years later and I don’t know if she is clean but my nephew lives with me and my family as if he is my own and he has never been happier.

His now former teacher is a good family friend and regularly comes around and brings her kids.” — jcjcjcj

5. Watching me sleep

“I had a 2nd grader come up to me while I was still a student teacher in the art room. He showed me a drawing that looked like a stick figure in a cave. I said, ‘It’s great! Why don’t you tell me about it?’ (Kids react better to that than ‘what is it?’) His response?

‘It’s me watching you sleep!'” — BloodFleshBones

6. Held captive in chains

“I teach English to Japanese kids. Textbook had them draw their ideal pet. A 10-year-old drew a human chained up in a cage, with an electric shock box attached to them with wires.

Taught him for a few more years until he graduated from my class to Junior High School, he had really matured into a sweet charming boy by then. Or he was a psychopath who had mastered the skill of manipulating those around him.” — karlamarxist

7. Getting beat by his father

“I worked as a therapist in an elementary school. In art class, one of my kids drew their dad beating them. Then on the next page, it was a stick figure self portrait with the whole page colored blue to represent tears. So, that was wonderful…” — poor-self-control

8. Eyes in the darkness

“My cousin loves to draw, when she was about 4 years old she showed me a paper full of eyes. I asked her what was she trying to convey, she said, ‘Eyes, I see many many many eyes in my room at night.’


9. Roadkill nailed to a board

“Had a college sculpture class with a student who thought it would be clever to splay a roadkill cat on a cross as a project. After class was over, he proceeded to toss the project in a dumpster. Fine and good until it was discovered by someone who decided that it was a clear sign of occult activity and proceeded to notify local media. There were Christian marches through campus for a solid week.” — bluehold

10. Murdered in a bathtub

“I’ve been teaching art for 9 years. The most disturbing image I’ve ever run across was from a 5-year-old who was visiting our campus for the day to see if our school was a match for him. He joined our first grade class, and I had assigned our students to create a environment around an object that I had cut out and pasted onto a blank sheet of paper (the objects were from home & living magazines, so the images were mostly food, furniture, animals, cars, etc). The child who was visiting was given a paper with an antique bathtub glued onto it. This kid proceeded to draw a person being murdered in the bathtub with people looking in through the bathroom windows smiling at the murder. The image was pretty insane. When I asked him about why he drew this, he said, ‘This is the kind of stuff I like.’ I told him that I was going to keep it and give it to his mom when she came to pick him up. As class was ending, he swiped the drawing off of my desk, crumpled it up, and threw it into the boys bathroom trash. I pulled the drawing out of the trash, showed it to our school dean, and explained what happened. Thankfully, he wasn’t admitted to the school that year.” — plane86

11. S&M sex with cartoon characters

“It was double sided. It depicted cartoon characters having S+M sex with each other.

And there was another piece consisting of a cave of broken glass surrounding a crumpled pile of loved letters soaked in her own period blood. That one was not allowed to be displayed to the public… However it did make an appearance in class.” — Hunter_meister79

12. Voices in his head

“Former teacher and Sunday school teacher here. At Sunday school the kids, aged 9 or so, were making drawings of the bible story they’d just been told. One of the kids was making a rather nice one but when I got back to him a few minutes later, he had scratched it all over with a thick black pencil, creating an ugly black mess and destroying the original drawing. I asked him why and he said..

..because the voices in my head told me to!” — gnarft

13. Sliced open wrists

“I was the student, but this applies… I was extremely depressed, suicidal, my grades were shit because I just couldn’t see living long enough for college.

Our project was the whole “trace your hand and decorate it.”

Other girls gave themselves painted nails, designs, etc. I gave myself a sliced open wrist, and I don’t remember the other details, but it was bad enough that this should have been a big red flag to my teachers that I needed help.

My art teacher only told me that it was inappropriate, and to redo it. I was 10.

Teachers, if a kid is obviously in mental pain, and something is wrong, don’t ask them if everything is okay at home. They WILL say yes, because that’s what they live with, and probably for a long time, so as long as they weren’t beaten before going to school, it’s all good. Helping them earlier will give them a better shot at surviving an abusive or neglectful home. I’m 25 now, and can’t get into college because my grades all through high school were awful, because I was constantly thinking, ‘I won’t live long enough to graduate or go to college, why bother.’

I really wish that someone had stood up for me.” — Cielaisyellow

14. Shootings and stabbings

“At-risk kindergarten teacher here.

I had a student who, when told to draw an animal, scribbled furiously all over the page with only the red crayon. When I asked her to tell me about it, she told me she would only color with red, “it’s my favorite color because it reminds me of BLOOD.”

Worse yet, I had a student constantly talking about guns and weapons. He would routinely include them in his drawings. Later in the year when I asked about a particularly concerning image he drew of himself with a gun he said he when he was older he was going to get a gun and shoot everyone who made him angry. This was also a student who threatened to stab me, threw a bolt at my head, threw chairs (managed to break a stool once)… And many other things. Mom wouldn’t sign to let the social worker meet with him regularly. Wonder why.” — kbaumgar

15. An axe in the crotch

“I’m not an art teacher but a mental health therapist. I was doing in-home therapy at the time with a 13 year old boy and his family. The therapy was mainly for him and his sister due to his extreme behavioral issues and the accusation that their biological father (not in the home) had sexually abused the four year old daughter. To build rapport, we were coloring and drawing. The boy drew a man with a massive axe in the crotch area. There was blood dripping from the axe and the face was distorted. He told me this was what he wanted to do to his father after hearing of the abuse.” — Jaimass

16. Tanks attacking

“Last year I had a refugee student, he was initially from Iraq then his family had to flee to Turkey before they were able to move to the US. He used to just scream in class so I’d let him calm himself by coloring in a journal. All of his pictures were of tanks shooting people, people shooting at each other and bloody bodies on the floor. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this kid saw in his short 5 years.” — Hawt4teach

17. Shot dead

“The kids were creating comics. One girl drew a detailed recount of how she and her mom came back from the store to find her dad shot dead. Heartbreaking stuff.” — corban

18. A bloodied hammer

“When I was young I drew disturbing pictures. My elementary school principal told me that ‘in all his years doing what he does he had never faced a problem like me.’ One picture I remember drawing was a dark take on those silly inspirational posters that hang in classrooms. It showed a bloodied hammer sitting on a desk with a dead hand in the corner with the words, ‘No pain, no gain’ written across the top.” — GhostofSalieri

19. Naked and bloody

“One student painted a picture of herself naked, covered in blood with legs spread, staring sinisterly. It was creepy but well done.” — justnodalong

20. Raped by her stepfather

“One time a 5 year old drew a picture of her stepfather raping her twin sister. First time the ongoing abuse had been disclosed.” — random_girl_me

21. Incestuous shirts

“Not a personal story, but one I never forgot 20+ years after I read about it. There was an art project to draw attention to abuse issues, where victims of abuse made t-shirts that represented the abuse they suffered. Each color represented a different type of abuse: red for rape; yellow for assault; blue for incest, etc.

The shirts were all hung on a clothesline. Most of them were super busy and loaded with imagery. But the most disturbing one was the most simple.

Plain blue t-shirt. White text.

‘I was seven.’

Chills.” — wmbenedetto

22. Murdered with a machete

“This kid in my high school made a machete in metalwork and ended up actually murdering another student with it.” — Boopydoots

23. Slowly dying

“A couple of years ago my little cousin made a Christmas card for santa that looked like some surrealist piece. From front to back in small child crayon chicken scratch it read, ‘THE LONELY TREE IS WAITING. 7 DAYS. THE LONELY TREE DIED.'” — Sseancee

24. Receiving oral sex

“A kid in my video art class showed up with a flash drive of a 26 minute ‘endurance piece’ of him getting a blowjob from an obese woman with the same 2 second death metal scream sample playing on repeat the whole time. We watched the whole thing in critique and I kept hoping the building would catch on fire and kill me.” — aaroncarterfan911

25. Time’s running out

“I was in a Fraternity in college. Lived in the fraternity house for two years. Best time I never wanna have again! Anyways, next door to our fraternity house is a Kindercare. Yeah, idk why they did that, but they did.

Anyways, my senior year, one of our fraternity brothers died when he crashed his motorcycle. We don’t know how he crashed, but he did, hit his head and died. Apparently he was conscious til he got to the hospital and crashed when they put him in a medical induced coma.

As a kind gesture, the daycare ladies made the kids write us cards and delivered all of them to us. I don’t think the teachers looked through all of them cuz some of them were kinda brutal. Keep in mind these kids are like preschool age to kindergarten.

One of them was simple but cold. On the front it said ‘HEY’ and then you open up the card to a drawing of a watch and the bold words ‘Time Limit.’ We were shocked to say the least. There was a lot of confusion on whether or not we were being threatened by a 6 year old.

Another one drew a picture of our house and it looked like a legit prison. Bars instead of windows and everything.

Another one said, ‘I hope your friend stops being dead or else you’ll never see them again.’ That was quite disturbing.” — The_Brutally_Honest

26. Exposed genitals

“When I was teaching 7th grade, I had a vocabulary assignment where students were to draw each word on the vocabulary list. A few were difficult to draw- for example one word was ‘subtle.’

Well, I had one student who could sketch insane well. His images were by far the best. But then I reached his sketch for ‘subtle’ and I was confused. It looked like cloth with ripples in it and something underneath.

After class, I asked the student what the image was. ‘Oh, it’s your package. Can’t quite make it out, but it’s there. It’s subtle.'” — Azgard12

27. Pure blackness

“Disturbing by implications of the student’s life: My Mum use to assist in our art classes back in the day, and she said one student would draw really wonderful looking pictures that she complimented for. Later in the class Mum looked at this student’s work again, and she had taken a black pen and covered her entire beautiful work.” — TheUglyBarnacle42

28. Written on a tombstone

“My class of kindergartners were drawing pictures to put in a care package for deployed troops. Well, one girl, drew a picture of a family crying over a tombstone with a caption saying, ‘Don’t feel bad, it’s almost over.’ Holy hell kid. I almost put it in for humor, but I decided to put it on “the wall of little horrors.” — Secretly_psycho

29. Suicide

“The assignment was to take a piece of art and reimagine it in your own format. Could be sculptures, painting, song, anything.

This student took a song by a band called Underoath. I can’t remember the name of the song but I know the lyrics referenced veins.

Anyway the student played the song and explained how much it has resonated with him.

One week later he tried to take his life.” — orangeshades

30. Emotional meltdown

“I was an art teacher at a violence against women shelter. I worked with kids of all ages, and sometimes if they didn’t want to do art, they would read or play with the toys or color.

One day a 4-year-old wants to read me a book. He can’t read, but I say sure why not. A few minutes in I realize he’s telling me the story of his mom having a meltdown the morning he was evicted and the police came to his apartment. He’s just flipping pages casually telling the story somehow relating it to this book. Although it may not be so disturbing, it was really sad.” — mermaidtheory011

31. Torture chambers

“When I was a kid (like 8 or 9) me and my siblings would draw bubble letters of our name (HUGE, on that old-timey connected printer paper) and inside the letters we would draw stick people being forced through torture chambers. Like, dying in acid pits, and acid rain, and dying on spikes, and eaten by ants, drowning, etc.

At the time it seemed perfectly normal. I even hung these masterpieces up on my bedroom wall. My parents didn’t say anything about it.

Looking back, I can see how that might come off as disturbing, but I actually had a great childhood with very loving parents. I just happened to enjoy killing stick people.

Long story short: Kids are just weird sometimes.” — Willows_Whiten Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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