Approaches to drawing

Working from observation and curiousity

Learning to look closely at natural and manufactured objects will help to develop children’s drawing abilities and to focus and sharpen observation. They will begin to:

  • Notice rhythms, textures and shapes and interpret them in drawings
  • Notice how edges can be hard, soft or rough and how they help to define the character of an object
  • Become aware of the three-dimensional nature of form and notice form in objects
  • Notice light and shade on simple forms and express them in tonal drawings
  • Clarify and develop design ideas

It is important to guide children’s looking rather than their drawing. Children will enjoy observing and interpreting growth in nature, which would include plants, sea shells, tree bark and wood grain. Appropriate toys and playthings could also be interpreted with a variety of drawing media. More experienced children will be capable of drawing objects from direct observation, concentrating on their essential features. Sectioned fruit and vegetables or pieces of broken machinery or toys are ideal for this kind of exercise.

In time they will begin to notice areas of light and shade in closely observed objects. Younger children will enjoy drawing simple arrangements of flowers or grasses set upright in a container, or shelves holding favourite things, and talking about the shapes and the light and dark areas created. Still life arrangements of simple boxes and rounded forms can be interpreted in both two- and three-dimensional work. More experienced children may be involved in building up a composition in a variety of ways, e.g. by overlapping, by grouping or by laying out objects in a straight line.