Drawing is a vital skill for becoming visual communicators at home, at school, and at work. This is not about having natural talent or artistic ability…. anyone can learn to draw! Drawing is all about looking carefully at things and seeing the relationships between lines and shapes, and gradations of light and dark. We call this “learning to see like an artist”.
“Echo Drawing” is an activity that helps develop observation and drawing skills so that anyone can learn to “see like an artist”. Through copying a series of designs from simple to complex, students begin to notice visual details and relationships that they previously took for granted. In the process, they also learn to look more observantly at the world all around them.
This activity was inspired by the “duplication exercise” in Mona Brookes’ classic, “Drawing with Children”. You can create your own version of a duplication exercise, or visit Teach Kids Art on Teachers Pay Teachers to download my 12-page pdf, featuring a more detailed explanation, lots of helpful tips, and hand-drawn designs that span four levels of difficulty.
Like anything worth learning, the skills of careful observation and eye-hand coordination improve with practice! In addition to the four practice pages included, you’ll also find an extra page of blank boxes that enable teachers to create more exercises at whatever level they want. Students also enjoy using this page to create their own designs to exchange with their friends!
Echo Drawing is great as a stand-alone drawing lesson or as an activity for students to pull out when they finish other work. You can find my “Intro to Echo Drawing” and my “More! Echo Drawing” resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Kim Hyman says
I’ve done this with first grade students for years and developed my pages after reading “Drawing with Children” myself. It always amazes me how quiet my young students become as they concentrate on this process. Some take to it very quickly and others struggle a bit more but it is a terrific process and introduction to training students to develop their eye.
Cheryl Trowbridge says
I agree, Kim… this is a totally engaging activity for young students… and even adults! I like to do a form of this by making quick “echo-sketches” of random designs that catch my eye. Another reason to keep a sketchbook and pencil/pen handy at all times!
Almost Unschoolers says
I like the idea of teaching children to “see like an artist” – great activity!
Art Mom says
Great idea to get those little ones drawing.