Are you a parent who loves to encourage your child to draw and from observation, but you have no idea where to start? Maybe you feel you aren’t a strong artist, so the thought of showing your child any drawing techniques is simply overwhelming. Let me show you three easy steps to encourage your child to draw and paint from observation. I bet, you’ll want to join in as well.
It’s finally Spring…..
the tulips are beginning to slowly pop out of the ground. I thought this would be a great opportunity to show my 5-year-old students how to draw and paint from observation. While, I believe art and creativity should involve play, discovery, and exploration, I also feel there is ample room to teach children observational drawing in a way that will boost their confidence.
3 Ways to Encourage Observational Drawing
1. Set Up A Still Life
In our lesson, I chose to use a simple vase with tulips. Our other materials included, white paper, a pencil, and watercolor paint.
While, I focused on showing my students how they can draw from nature, other still life ideas might have included, setting up a toy still life, using jars, bottles, fabric, fruit, shoes, etc.If you have never set up a still life, keep it super simple.
2. Talk About What You See
Once the still life is set up, ask your child to name everything they see. As they identify each object, encourage them to reduce them to basic shapes. For example, the vase is an oval with a sharp edge at the bottom. The shape of a tulip looks like the letter “U” with the letter “W” at the top. How would you draw a stem? Are the flowers close to each other or far apart? What is the vase standing on? Would you draw the table or not? What colors do you see? Let your child describe and identify what they see as specifically as possible.
3. Draw What You See
Encourage your child to draw what they see and then back away. Think of it like teaching them how to read. In the beginning phases of reading a child may sound out every letter of a word, and still pronounce the word incorrectly. With reading, parents are usually discouraged from correcting every wrong word a child pronounces. The same is true with drawing. Letting your child draw what they see within the context you have given them is mainly about building their confidence.
In our studio, my younger students definitely took liberties and exaggerated their observations, while my older students were more keen on drawing in a more representational manner. The older kids, were able to draw the vase standing on a table, while the younger kids drew flowers floating in the air. All of my students created observational drawing that were appropriate for their age and development. In the final step, they outlined everything with a crayon and then painted with watercolors.
In the end….
1. Set up an easy still life.
2. Talk about what your child see in detail, ask questions.
3. Let them draw what they see, even if it looks nothing like what you see.
I’d love for you to try these techniques and let me know how it went!
Better yet, leave a comment below!
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I love this concept. Amazing way to engage children.
Flash Bugs Studio says
Thanks Meghan! I encourage you to give it a try, it’s a super fun family activity as well.
I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time hwoveer it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.
Bernard Charles says
Oh this is enjoyable. I think I want to do this for myself!
I love this and am totally going to use this the next time I have my niece and nephew over. We’re doing art projects and I’m gonna set up a still life! Thanks!
Ana Dziengel says
I love this activity!
Flash Bugs Studio says
Thanks Ana… Let me know if you give it a try.
Lisa Lewis, MD says
What a lovely post. I like how you summarized the concept in the end. I am not super creative, and would love to promote more artistic expression in my children. Thank you so much for the information.