Most kids, at some point, become interested in drawing.
These days, it’s my 6 year old who is a sketch-o-maniac!
Even as an adult, I find that I enjoy doing simple sketching for and with my children from time to time, showing them how to draw certain things better, or helping them to visualize something we’ve read.
I’ve done quite a handful of rough sketches as I have read through the Little House series with my daughter, particularly when they are describing something that she has never heard of or seen before. She gets excited when I pull out a sheet of paper to “show” her what they’re talking about, and these little pictures are often saved and used as “imagination fuel” long after we’re done reading.
While free-style, impromptu drawing should always be encouraged as your kids observe the world around them, sometimes a simple art lesson and some concentrated drawing practice is a great way to teach them something new, which then empowers them to be observant and sketch more on their own.
I’m always amazed how much they learn when they watch someone model the drawing process. Kids pick things up quick, and a little instruction goes a long way.
So today when I noticed my daughter struggling a bit when her math page instructed her to make a picture story that involved frogs (her pencil eraser was gettin’ a real workout), and knowing that she is particularly interested in sketching, I took some time to do a quickie art lesson once our math was finished.
Together we sketched a few frogs, then owls, mice, etc, before I invited my little boys to join us (ages 3 and 4) for an official
“How to Draw a Sitting Cat” lesson.
I was a bit surprised that the boys enjoyed it so much.
This is certainly something I’ll be doing more of from now on!
Art lessons do not need to be elaborate.
Here is what you can do as the parent:
Watch a short drawing video like this one on youtube, either on your own, or with your kids present.
We watched ours together. I can always learn something new from these simple little videos, and the internet is full of them.
(If you enjoy illustrating for yourself or your kids, this video is one of my absolute favorites!)
After the video is done, provide your kids with some paper and pencils, and model the process for them, step by step (using a chalkboard or whiteboard helps) while they follow along with you.
Break up the drawing into steps, and REMEMBER: keep it simple for young kids.
Don’t start adding in lots of details that they’ll be unable to do just yet.
You don’t want to hear “but I can’t do that” right off the bat.
I find when I model and sketch with my children, they ALWAYS do better when we get a very basic sketch done first, and then, once they feel the reward of their success, they are more apt to stick with it, and add in all sorts of additional details to make it look better.
Their cat drawings turned out great, and the kids really had fun with this simple, 30 minute lesson.
They took it a step further and outlined them in marker, then colored them in. (this happened on their own–I was long done with my part).
My 3 year old got his basic sketch done, but had to have a lot of hand-over-hand assistance from mama. 🙂 But why not let the little ones try, if they are interested?
Later on, I encouraged my oldest to try to remember what she learned and create another similar cat drawing, without any visual aids. So far, she’s presented me with a half dozen sketches over the last couple hours. It’s quiet time here, but she’s in her room, still sketching away while I type this post (she’s on to puppies and chicks now!).
Did you enjoy sketching as a child?
Take some time to show your kids some simple tricks, and watch their creativity take off.