Fun Drawing Exercises for Kids

Be as inventive as you can as you look back through the exercises in this book and adapt them for your young friends and family. We've done some of that for you, but don't let us stop you from coming up with some variations of your own as well.

For the very young: Recognize and copy. Young children enjoy copying sets of shapes or lines. It's good practice for observing the differences and good for coordination, too.

Try Your Hand

Try thinking of lines and shapes as animated, with personalities. Be funny about it. Name them with the child. Draw them as characters to reinforce their identity, then try the same tactic with basic shapes, and even three-dimensional ones. You may get some very amusing results.

Back to the Drawing Board

Avoid generalities or "art speak" with kids (or adults, for that matter). Save it for cocktail parties instead. When you're working with kids, explain specifically what you mean and where.

Drafting Exercises

> After a while, try drawing with basic shapes. Give the circle, oval, triangle, wedge, square, and rectangle a try. You can set up building blocks and then Lincoln logs in simple groups to serve as models.

> For the older child, to help build a vocabulary of lines and textures, use a variety of simple lines. Practice dots, straight lines, curves, jagged lines, spikes, spirals, and crisscrossed lines for different shapes, tones, and textures.

Mirror-image vase exercise. Kids like the mirror-image vase/profile drawing from Chapter 2, "Toward Seeing for Drawing." Let them invent a simple profile for the vase.

Drawing without looking. Review this exercise in Chapter 2, too, and try drawing a hand or a thing without looking.

Negative-space drawings. Set up a simple chair, as in Chapter 6, "Negative Space as a Positive Tool," and try the negative-space drawing.

Upside-down drawing. Try the upside-down drawing from Chapter 2, but pick a simpler subject to start, maybe a picture of an animal.

Drawing things that overlap. Spatial relationships may take some time for a child to grasp. Try making a still life arrangement on a large piece of paper and draw a line around each object to show the space it needs.

Portraits and self-portraits. Kids like to draw one another and themselves. Show them the simple proportional lines to arrange the features on a face. Then, hand them a mirror and see what happens.

What Kids Like Draw
Kids love to draw themselves—just look at these examples.

On the sliding glass door. Drawing on a sliding glass door with dry-erase markers is a favorite with Lauren's classes. Take turns posing on the other side of the door, make still life arrangements on a stool, or draw chairs, boots, baskets, and boxes—maybe even a bicycle—on the glass. Remember to close one eye to flatten the three-dimensional space and stay very still as you are working.

Here are some drawings kids drew on sliding glass doors. (Be careful when doing this exercise to protect kids from accidents; maintain good supervision at all times and make sure glass panes are marked with masking tape so kids won't mistakingly walk into them.

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

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