Megan Snyders from DRAW Brighton takes us through different drawing activities suitable for the whole family, from drawing at your window, sensory drawings and family portraits.
The one-minute drawing challenge is a great way to encourage both kids and adults to draw from life. This challenge works great on its own or as a warm-up before starting a longer drawing.
Before you start, your little one will need to select their subject to draw: a favourite toy works great. The challenge works best at a table, where the toy is roughly at eye-level.
Now the stage is set, it’s time to learn the rules: you’ve got to keep looking at the object the whole time while you draw it. That means no looking down at your paper until you finish drawing! Artists call this technique ‘blind contour drawing’. The final drawing won’t be perfect, but it will be a fun, lively and loose drawing in response to what you see.
Take it in turns to draw, while one person stays in charge of the timer (and catches out anyone peeking at their paper before the minute is up!) You can repeat this challenge a few times by drawing the toy at different angles. For a bonus round, have a go at to drawing each other’s portraits using this technique
When we're home all day, everyday life can start to seem a little boring, especially for kids! This drawing exercise is all about taking something ordinary and looking at it again with fresh eyes. As much as the drawing itself will be important, this exercise is really about learning to see things in a different way. Silhouette drawings encourage us to pay attention to light, shadow and overall shapes of objects. Below are some tips on how to create a simple still life that children can follow along with.
- First, you’ll need to pick 2-3 objects in the house. Go for objects that have distinct and interesting shapes - plants, toys and kitchen utensils all make great subjects.
- Next, you’ll need to arrange your objects in a row on a windowsill. The light shining through the window will help to reveal the overall shapes of the objects, making it the perfect lighting for drawing silhouettes!
- Set yourself up so that you’re directly opposite the window. When you’re ready to draw, start with drawing a horizontal line for windowsill, then let your pencil travel around the outside edges of your objects. You’re looking for that boundary between the edge of the object and the light coming through the window. Keep going around the edges of the objects until all the silhouettes are captured.
- Finally, fill in the body of the objects with shading so that you create a nice contrast between the light coming through the window and the dark of the objects. And there you have it - a still life in silhouette!
This drawing exercise is all about drawing from memory and works especially well as a greetings card to send to a loved one.
- Create a blank card by folding a piece of thick paper or card in half. Make sure you have an envelope of a corresponding size for posting off the finished piece.
- Now it’s time to draw! Ask the child to pick a fond memory and create a picture which tells the story. There are no rules for this exercise, just have fun with it! This might also be a nice time to look through old family photos together for inspiration.
- Once the picture is made on the front, all that’s left is to write a message inside the card and post it off.
This drawing challenge is all about using drawing in response to an experience. You’ll need a timer, some drawing materials and a bowl of objects with interesting sensory qualities, such as fruit. You’ll be taking it in turns to draw with your eyes closed, so you may want to fashion some kind of blindfold.
- Start by setting the child up to start drawing, and get them to either wear a blindfold or just close their eyes. The key here is that we want to tune into our other senses - in this case, touch.
- Then, the parent must secretly select the first item to draw - bananas, peaches and oranges all work well. Place the item into the child’s hand without telling them what item it is, and set a timer for 2 minutes.
- The aim of the game is to draw the object based only on how it feels, rather than what we know it’s supposed to look like. We’re looking for scribbles that directly respond to the feel of the object. Is the object smooth or prickly? Is it round or are there any hard edges? Is it light or heavy?
- Once the drawing time is up, the child can open their eyes. Did they guess what the object was? Now its time to switch roles and let the child pick an object for the next person!
This challenge can also be adapted to respond to different senses - drawing the taste of a marshmallow, for example - or drawing the sounds of different styles of music
This drawing exercise works best with as many people in your household as possible, and the rules are simple. Set a timer, and have each member of the household model, while the rest of the family draws their portrait! Here are some tips for setting up family portraits:
A sense of urgency can make for very exciting drawings, so make your time limit the same for each person, and set it as long as your littlest one is likely to sit still. A time limit 3 - 5 minutes per person works great!
It can be helpful to prop your drawing up so that your eye can easily dart between the subject and your paper. You can do this by attaching your paper to a hardback book or chopping board and leaning it against the table at the angle that best suits you.
These guides were written by Megan Snyders from Draw Brighton
See more of Megan's work on her Instagram
Draw Brighton have set up Draw Patreon, set up to provide tutors and life models at Draw with ongoing work during the cover-19 pandemic. Supporters to the Patreon receive regular life drawing and portrait refernce to draw from alongside weekly drawing articles on drawing from home.
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