Why teach step-by-step drawing?
Many children arrive in September and draw with great confidence but there are always some who say they don't know how to draw and are unwilling to try.
Some are very upset when they compare their results with their peers.
I teach two kinds of drawing to my students - drawing by observation and step by step drawing.
Teaching children to draw by a step-by-step drawing process has a number of purposes:
- to increase children's confidence
- to teach children to follow directions
- to increase directional, spatial and other vocabulary
- to have fun drawing
Although I am a keen advocate of teaching children to observe closely what is in front of them and attempt to recreate it with lines, shapes, textures and colors, I also teach step-by-step drawing in my class.
Learning to draw by observation is a valuable skill for kids and is explained briefly in the "Recording your observations" section of the science center page. The process of step-by-step drawing is explained below.
Four steps to teaching the step-by-step process
Large newsprint paper for each child
A large felt marker for each child
Have a larger paper of the same dimensions as the children's papers clipped to the chalkboard and make sure that all children can see it easily. The children are seated at tables.
Step One: Teach one shape
To begin with I put a dot in the center of my and each child's paper with a red felt.
The dot helps the children understand the term the "middle of the page" or the "center of the page". Don't assume that your students have a well developed directional and spatial vocabulary. Keep the students who lack confidence close to the front so you can quickly show them where to put their felts or guide their hands.
For each step-by-step drawing lesson give the children scrap newsprint paper and tell them that this paper is for practice and they can throw it in the recycling after if they want to. Give the children one felt only, a brown, blue, green, or purple so that it shows up on their paper. Using felts keep the children from constantly trying to erase.
At the end of the drawing steps, let those who want to color their pictures use crayons, as the lines of the felt markers will not get covered up by crayons.
On one side of the paper teach the children how to of make a circle. First let them put their arm in the air and go around and around and around. Then have them make a tornado on their paper by going around and around and around. Ask them to go around big, then smaller, then tiny. Model this on your paper before each step.
Step 2: Make page divisions
Ask the children to turn their paper over. Although I can make the page divisions more neatly myself, I get the children to make them as it trains them to organize their pages. Say slowly as you show them....
"Put your felt at the top of your page above the red dot and draw a line right through the red dot in the middle of the page and all the way to the bottom." Walk around and help all children do this. When all have completed the first step..."Draw a line from one side of your paper through the red dot all the way to the other side. Now you have 4 boxes to draw in (Show them, don't assume the children will perceive boxes and not a cross in the middle of their page). We will draw a step by step picture in each box."