Second grade is the oldest grade I work with this year so I’m trying to stretch them as much as I can in the drawing area. Learning how to draw objects is a tricky thing for small children. I love children’s art and never ever want them to lose their imagination or creativity; so teaching them realistic drawing skills is a mixed bag. How do they get the skills AND keep their own drawing style?
Observational drawing is important. It helps to see the world a different way. It helps us appreciate what we see. Ask any artist. For this lesson, the final goal was to draw leaves as we saw them; but in truth, I am hoping the students take it much farther.
Step 1: Blind contour drawing. Students picked out an object and were instructed not to look at the paper while they drew, only at the object. Get to know the object.
Step 2: Contour drawing. Students drew the object, looking at the paper and the object. This time it’s all about adding the main lines that make up the object.
Step 3: Students looked at leaves and turned them in different angles, to see how they could draw it. They made a contour drawing of the leaves. I helped them understand how to draw the curls a bit at this stage. The trick is to draw what we see and not worry about what we don’t.
Step 4: Adding dots, fine lines for details and texture. For this activity, I passed out a few magnifying glasses. The kids will really get into the leaf shape and draw the smallest details. Science connection!
The next goal is to make more time for this activity. Maybe I could have a type of show and tell in which kids bring in their own items to draw or focus on another theme. Let me know if you’ve tried observational drawing activities and what has worked for you.