Guided illustration with kids
While watching my younger cousins the other night (3 kids, ages 5-7) I discovered something interesting.
Any time I visit with younger family I bring a craft project, because obviously. But I always felt I had to go in with a specific project, that if I didn’t have a plan the kids would loose interest and not have fun. So this time I went in armed with cupcake liner fish art, inspired by this project from I Heart Crafty Things:
I added one step, I started by having the kids draw an ocean scene on a piece of paper so they had somewhere to put these cupcake liner fish. My assumption was that these scenes would be just a few waves, but one girl started to draw pink seaweed and it started a fun conversation. A boy said seaweed is green, and she said it was her picture so she could make it whatever she wanted. I chimed in about artistic license, explaining that as artists we can create fictional things to put in our awesome oceans. This spawned a half hour drawing session where we didn’t even get to cupcake liner fish, we all just drew our ocean scenes while talking about what we were drawing. And let me tell you, a half hour of nicely sitting at a table and drawing with two 5 yr old boys in the mix felt like quite the success! We had rainbow coral, square sharks, colorful water, and treasure chests guarded by lasers. It was so much fun!
Granted, the boys only lasted the half hour before they went on to play their own freeze dance party game while me and the girl continued crafting until bedtime, but I’m calling is a success!
Here are my tips for doing this type of creative illustration with your kids…
• Draw with them
• Give some open direction, like “let’s draw ocean scenes!”
• Draw something creative, perhaps a square shark, and start the conversation about artistic license
• While drawing, continue to ask about what they’re drawing, ask why that treasure chest is guarded by lasers!
You’re going to get some great drawings and silly conversation out of this activity!