Duplication Exercise

Train your stu­dents to notice details and “see like artists” with this fun activ­ity!

In her clas­sic draw­ing books, Draw­ing with Chil­dren and Draw­ing for Older Chil­dren and Teens, art teacher and author Mona Brookes offers an engag­ing way to prac­tice see­ing and drawing using her “Dupli­ca­tion Exer­cise”. This activ­ity is com­pletely adapt­able to any abil­ity level, K through adult. You can start out easy and increase the dif­fi­culty as you go, as you can see in this spread from Mona Brookes’ book. And did I men­tion that it’s FUN, too??!

I cre­ated a Dupli­ca­tion Exer­cise for my last teacher work­shop (with designs drawn in and being copied at the top of this post). All you do is draw a sim­ple (or not so sim­ple) design in each box across the top and then make a copy for each of your stu­dents. Then ask them to copy each design in the box below it. This activ­ity will train them to really look closely at their sub­ject and notice details. If you like to doo­dle (and who doesn’t?) you will enjoy both cre­at­ing the designs to be copied as well as copy­ing designs that oth­ers have cre­ated. Stu­dents love this activ­ity and espe­cially enjoy mak­ing their own designs for their class­mates to copy. This process is even ther­a­peu­tic.… try it dur­ing test­ing week or as a “filler” when other work is finished.

Be sure to check out Draw­ing with Chil­dren and Draw­ing for Older Chil­dren and Teens for more great ideas on devel­op­ing your stu­dents’ draw­ing skills!

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7 Responses to Duplication Exercise

  1. Holly@MotherIsNotConcerned May 29, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    Thanks for the great idea and book rec. I’ve done some­thing sim­i­lar with my 6-year-old, but not with designs. He loved mak­ing pic­tures for me to copy.

  2. mrs. kelly "sully" yackel November 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    love this idea= do you have a pdf. ver­sion of the exer­cise to share?



  3. TeachKidsArt November 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Thanks, Kelly… I don’t have that yet, but hope­fully will before too long. Stay tuned!

  4. Jen August 21, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Hello, I have pur­chased both Mona Brooks’ books, “Draw­ing with Chil­dren” and “Draw­ing with Older Chil­dren,” but was never able to find the pages with the dupli­ca­tion exer­cises. Do you remem­ber the name of the book you pho­to­copied for your photo?

    • Cheryl Trowbridge August 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Jen, the photo of the open book is from my copy (1991) of “Draw­ing For Older Chil­dren & Teens”, page 82/83. The photo at the top of the post is just a work­sheet that I made. This activ­ity is easy to cus­tomize to the abil­ity level of your stu­dents. If it’s too easy, they just fly through it, and if it’s too hard they’ll get frus­trated and not even know where to begin. But when you start at an appro­pri­ate level and grad­u­ally increase the com­plex­ity, stu­dents love the chal­lenge and enjoy com­ing up with their own strate­gies for re-creating each design… great for devel­op­ing prob­lem solv­ing skills!

  5. Caira Williams February 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    I LOVE ART Sooooooooooooo Muuuuuuuucccchhhhhhhhh

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