Just like adults, when kids practice drawing, they get better at it.
Students often become known at school for what they do well. This could be drawing, doing math, running fast, or making people laugh. The options for things kids could excel at are as limitless as the activities they enjoy doing.
When kids find something they enjoy and are good at, it does wonders for their confidence and self-esteem. Whether you’re the class artist or the class clown, it feels good to be recognized for doing something well.
With a little encouragement, students who haven’t yet found their ‘place to shine’ can often find it in drawing.
Finding their ‘place to shine’
This can begin when a child feels successful drawing something that’s important to them. Whether that’s horses, dinosaurs, cars, superheroes, fashion, or Manga – anything that interests them can provide the inspiration to draw.
With a little instruction and motivation to practice, all students can learn to draw and improve their skills. The key is having enough motivation to practice drawing until they begin to feel competent.
When kids have something meaningful they want to draw, they’ll be more likely to keep practicing until they get it.
But when you have a room full of kids all wanting to draw unrelated things, teaching them how can be tricky. Step-by-step drawing instruction isn’t practical if everyone is drawing something different.
Here’s how you can help kids draw the thing that inspires them while accommodating lots of diverse interests at the same time:
1. First, have kids collect a few photos of something they’d like to learn to draw. Doing a Google search should give them some good examples they can print out to work with.
2. Then, have students trace their photos onto tracing paper (affiliate link). Explain that unless they took these photos themselves, they shouldn’t claim the drawings they trace from them as their original art. These drawings are just to learn from.
3. Now, ‘deputize’ students to be ‘shape detectives’. Explain that anything they want to draw is made up of simple geometric shapes.
Circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, ovals, etc. all combine to create the things we see around us. Have students look for these shapes and loosely sketch them right on top of their traced drawings.
4. Next, have students lightly sketch their subject on a separate piece of paper using these same shapes. Use lines to join sections and smooth out places where shapes intersect, erasing where needed.
5. Then, students should practice making more of these drawings, looking at their photos for reference instead of tracing.
6. After that, students can practice drawing their subject from memory.
7. Finally, students can use their imagination to add their own unique twist to their drawings.
As students experience success with drawing something meaningful to them, they’ll be inspired to practice drawing other things, too. They may even find that drawing is their place to shine!
Motivation to draw for kids who love soccer
Kids everywhere love soccer! So learning to draw a soccer ball might be the perfect motivation for some of your students. However, making all those hexagons fit just right onto a curved surface can be trickier than it looks.
The good news is I’ve figured out an easy way to teach kids how to draw a soccer ball. My TPT resource, How to Draw a Soccer Ball, offers you 2 levels of instructions.
This resource begins with a basic soccer ball design that even grades K & 1 can be successful with. Then grades 2 and up can learn to draw a more realistic soccer ball, complete with shading for a fun 3D effect.
an inspiring quote:
“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~ Mark Twain
Teaching kids to draw from observation, reference photos, and memory is important, but why stop there? We can also encourage them to add their own unique ideas to their art. This will inspire them to think in new, more imaginative ways.
Kids need to practice thinking creatively in order to respond with resourcefulness to the world around them. And this practice will help tomorrow’s adults develop the healthy imaginations they’ll need for inventing, innovating, and problem-solving.