In my years of teaching drawing to kids, some common drawing mistakes seem to be almost universal. They are so prevalent that it’s more likely a student will make them than not.
So why not warn students of these potential problems in advance? A warning may not prevent the mistakes from happening. But it may help kids recognize their mistakes and learn from them more quickly.
Here are 3 common mistakes kids can avoid if you talk about them in advance:
1. They press too hard with their pencil.
The problem with pressing too hard is that it makes it difficult if not impossible to erase completely. Kids will want to be able to erase, so controlling their pencil pressure is an important habit to develop. The Circle Challenge is a fun way to do this!
When they do need to erase, the Magic Rub Eraser works like a charm, leaving no residue behind. But when kids press too hard with their pencil, not even a Magic Rub Eraser can fix that!
2. They start drawing without planning their space.
When kids don’t plan their use of space in advance, a tiny drawing in a sea of white space can be the result. Or maybe their drawing will be unintentionally “cropped” as it runs off the edge of the paper sooner than expected.
Either way, using light tick marks to plan where their subject’s top, bottom, left, and right edges will be is a game-changer. My Shoe Drawing lesson is a simple but effective project for learning how to do this!
3. They “name” things in their drawing as they draw them.
Nearly every beginning artist does this and it can be a hard habit to break. Rather than looking at a flower and thinking about drawing a flower, an artist should think about the lines, shapes, colors, and values they see.
This is what’s known as “seeing like an artist” and it runs contrary to our human nature of “naming” things. But kids can learn to “see like an artist” with these activities and plenty of practice and reminders.
When we warn students of common drawing mistakes it can help them avoid similar pitfalls. And the times when they do fall short, they can recover more quickly because they’re not so surprised by it. Avoiding predictable mistakes also lessens the discouragement that can come with the struggle of learning new things.
an inspiring quote:
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I’m all for learning from the mistakes of others so I don’t have to make those same mistakes myself. We can redeem our own mistakes when we share them with kids, saving them from having to “learn the hard way”.