How to Get Your Kids to Love Drawing: Tips from an Art Teacher
“My favorite thing about being a teacher was seeing kids start the semester feeling frustrated and unexcited about drawing; however, by the end of the semester they’d be transformed into little artists with suggestions, self-esteem, and a renewed interest in creativity.”
Want to encourage your kids to draw but not sure how? This week, art teacher Aki Berry shares her teaching techniques and how to get your kids to love drawing! Aki is a school art teacher for children from kindergarten to 5th grade.
My favorite thing about being a teacher was seeing kids start the semester feeling frustrated and unexcited about art; however, by the end of the semester they’d be transformed into little artists with suggestions, self-esteem, and a renewed interest in creativity. I had several favorite kids, but one of my favorites was a little kindergarten girl.
When she started the class, she had no interest in anything. She didn’t want to hold her crayons right, she didn’t care about coloring within the lines, she didn’t try, she gave-up easily. But by the end of the semester she blossomed. She started helping the other kids with their artwork, she took her time with erasing and trying again, and again, and again until she got the image she wanted, she took her time coloring, and she had so much pride in her artwork! It’s so rewarding to see this change and to see them enjoy artwork.
The lesson plan:
When I first started to teach, I had to follow a really strict lesson plan which I didn’t like. I felt like this stifled their creativity. I had to ensure kids copied my drawing and lesson plans, color a certain way and use certain colors; however, by the end of my teaching career, I actually found that the structure HELPED the kids. The structure helped them plan their drawing and execute it correctly.
To have kids follow a similar structured lesson plan at home, try drawing a picture yourself and having your child copy it. Make sure their image is similar to yours in terms of size and placement of the image (more tips are below), but they can add their own creative embellishments. Structured lesson plans assist kids in create a drawing that they are proud of, and I think that’s the most important thing when creating artwork. Hope these help, and have fun creating!
Here are some tricks I learned in the classroom:
- Draw the object before outlining it, then color it
- Take time to draw the image. If they’re not happy with the image they draw, they won’t be happy with the final product. (This is the hardest concept for little kids to follow. Most kids wanted to rush through their drawing, but then they aren’t happy with the end result. Try encouraging them to take their time as much as possible.)
- Encourage proper coloring and drawing techniques (hold the pencil correctly, and color in the same direction – no scribble lines!)
- Call them “artists” and their artwork “composition”
- Kids work really, really well with visuals. For example, if you want them to draw an image of a giant butterfly that takes up the whole page, be sure to ask them “Is this butterfly as big as my hand or is it bigger? Notice it takes up the whole page. How big is the head? Is it the size of a quarter? or is it the size of a baseball? No, it’s somewhere in between. Try to keep that in mind as you draw!” This also helps them process their visual world.
- For more advanced kids, break the image down that they want to draw. They can start with boxy objects and then erase and transform the shapes into the actual image.
Art vocabulary helps break down the creative process:
When they’re trying to copy the image you created, use vocabulary terms that will help them compare their drawing to your drawing. Even kindergartners could understand concepts like these:
- parallel and perpendicular lines
- foreground and background
- texture (silly words like bumpy, pointy, spiky, wiggly can help)
Ways to encourage growth through feedback:
Now that you have the finished product, instead of saying “that’s nice!” or “what’s that?” try commenting on:
- Their use of complimentary or contrasting colors
- Their use of fading and shading skills
- Their attention to detail (and give examples!)
- The placement or position of objects within their composition
- Use the vocabulary words like “You really understood the concept of symmetry,” or “I like the pattern you created in the girl’s dress,”
- Ask them questions using art vocabulary “What do you have in the foreground/background?” or “Where are the parallel lines?”