I always thought that drawing was a skill you were just born with. Either you were good at it, or (like me) you just plain sucked. I envied those who could draw well, especially when i saw the beautiful art journals of an artist friend. I liked writing and journaling and wanted to express myself through painting and sketching, but my stick figures were rather embarassing!
Then my friend showed me simple and fun drawing exercises that were so simple that she said my son could do them too! And she was right.
Getting over the fear of bad drawings
My friend said that ‘Drawing Phobia’ is really rooted in a fear of making mistakes. But drawing, like walking or cooking, is a skill that is built by trying and making mistakes.Babies fall when they make their first steps, and we’ve all had our share of disastrous recipes. By embracing the creative process my child and I would not only learn how to draw, but we would also help overcome perfectionism—and that’s a life skill that I want my child to have!
Basically this involves drawing without even looking at the paper. It completely obltiterates fear of making a mistake because you’re not watching yourself—you’re focusing all your attention on the object. Your eye follows the contours and you move your fingers inch by inch. You get some pretty funny drawings (which my child loved doing!) but you also sharpen your powers of observation and hand-eye coordination—two important drawing skills.
Upside down drawings
When we draw we often switch to pre-conceived notions (‘this is what a chair looks like’ or ‘this is what a person looks like’). But these are not realistic or even proportionally accurate. To overrule the preconceived notion, try drawing a picture upside down. Then you’re forced to draw exactly what you see. My child and I were both very surprised at how more detailed and accurate our drawings were simply by turning the picture we were copying upside down.
Zentangles are just shapes and lines repeated over and over again to form abstract patterns and designs. (The photo for this article is a Zentangle.) It’s actually doodling, but you fill up a page, forming amazing mosaics and patterns (they’re fun to color in, too!) This exercise helps you practice your hand muscles. And since everything you draw can be broken down into squares, circles, lines and curves, it can also improve your sketches in the long-term