Directed drawings are a great way to teach early drawing skills. I often hear students complain that they want to draw something, but that they don’t know how. Breaking it down into step by step instructions makes it accessible for everybody – no matter what their skill level is. It is also great fine motor practice!
I get most of my ideas for directed drawings off of Pinterest. The majority of the ones I’ve done so far come from From the Pond. I do these activities as a whole-group activity and we do them every two weeks because they generally take a couple of days to complete. I always introduce our new project by showing the class my example. We discuss what it is and what shapes we can see in it. Then I send them off to their tables with a pencil and a piece of cardstock. I then bring our chart stand to the middle of the room so that they can all see it and I draw step by step what I want them to do. I say what I’m doing and they follow along. They always start by drawing with pencil and then they trace it with a black sharpie.
Usually it is time for them to pack up for the end of the day when we reach this point (yay snowsuit season!) so I collect their artwork and put it aside for the next day.
Day two is reserved for colouring/adding in final details. We’ve used a variety of different materials to colour; watercolour paint, acrylic paint, crayons, pastels, etc. When we created our snowmen, we used a couple different types of mediums. They coloured their snowmen and snowflakes with white crayons and then painted the background with watercolour. The oil in the crayons repels the water and the area stays white.
Because I’ve done so many directed drawings with my class, I am now able to put out some step by step directed drawings for the kids to work on individually. I will put out styles that are concepts I’ve previously taught them that they can work on individually. I like to put out some directed drawing sheets for them, but I encourage them to create whatever they’d like. I will put these out during our afternoon centres.
Sometimes I mix it up and I tape butcher paper to the table and let them draw openly. It’s always a hit!
I admit, I was nervous when I started doing these. I had no idea how it would turn out! Luckily, my students blow me out of the water project after project with how engaged they are and the care they put into creating their art.
Our art lessons have very quickly become my favourite time with them and I look forward to doing them every other week. I hope this inspires your art lessons with your class!