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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts

    Teaching a 1st grader how to draw?

    (Sorry if this is in the wrong section in advance.)

    I signed up to donate four hours of art lessons to a charity auction to help raise money for my high school's prom. I had not expected for my highest bidder to be the mother of a 1st grade student!
    I have experience with babysitting young kids, but not teaching them. Does anybody have any tips for me on teaching a kid? I don't want to bore the child or make her feel inadequate in drawing.
    I found some fun lessons plans online would be helpful. This site with a bunch of drawing lesson plans for children:
    Sadly, majority of these lesson plans follow along with a story or involve a history lesson, and I don't want the poor kid to have to study anything silly like Ancient Egypt to learn to draw. I want her to have fun.
    Does anyone here have experience teaching children to draw? Ideas?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    The magical Kingdom.... of Fife
    Thanked 1,584 Times in 1,007 Posts
    Why not ask the kid to think of a story or make up a story and draw it?
    Or he/she can choose the story; you make some line drawings and they colour it, then do it their way?

    Only so much you can ask of a 5 year old; just keep it fun and let them use their imagination.

    What they're buying is a playmate to help them have fun drawing and let their mom have some pics to put up in the kitchen. Kids' drawings are great fun.... enjoy!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Savannah, GA
    Thanked 1,557 Times in 608 Posts
    Lolz, sounds like a sitcom.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    You know, 1st graders are great, because they know how to draw. Bring some neat still life objects and some colored markers, and tons of paper. Give him about a minute or two per object, and have the mom join in. Kids have more fun when they can compare. Let's see some examples I have.... sorry for the long download time...

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanked 6,554 Times in 4,513 Posts
    Teach her to draw cartoons and where the features of the face should roughly go. If nothing else, she'll be popular at school.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanked 59 Times in 30 Posts
    There's an excellent book called "Drawing for Children" that covers the basics.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Thanked 708 Times in 426 Posts
    It'll be a great thing to mix up the mediums you use! Drawing with pencils, nice colourful markers, crayons, glitter, etc. You can also show how to make textures by using those mediums, putting things beneath the paper and having the student mess around drawing over it!

    Also mix up your content--part of your lesson could be showing more general things about drawing, including how different shapes and objects/people can look when drawn. Then maybe work on a little "project" in small steps--something your student is really interested in drawing, and make it a goal to get something big complete! You could keep the project where you are while you work, and then give it to your student to proudly take home when done!

    Hope that helps, too!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thanked 458 Times in 338 Posts
    This is a GREAT time to nail some of the basics too. If you can, get a pink and a blue light bulb from a party store. Show em that in the pink light, the shadow looks blue, and vice versa.

    Kids are much less ingrained with concrete ideas about color.

    Basic perspective, too - the big red block looks littler than the smaller yellow block when you put it far away. Wow, from here, the block looks bigger than mom's car!

    Basic head measurements too - the egg shape with the x in it for placing features - if she really digs it, you can go more in depth.

    Kids have a huge capacity for sucking up information.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    here and now
    Thanked 152 Times in 125 Posts
    The attention span of first graders is typically around 12 minutes max. You will keep their interest if you are doing lots of step by step with them, in chunks of short duration. Also, encourage them to draw large, using the space provided. Otherwise they will often make a drawing the size of a nickel in 20 seconds or less and tell you that they are done.
    As the ego shrinks, so the spirit expands.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New Haven, CT
    Thanked 974 Times in 521 Posts
    As a first grader I'd skip a lot of the usual art lesson stuff and focus on what would be to us would be the blindly obvious stuff. Kids tend to draw very 2d, so start with something simple like if one shape is in front of another shape, then the second shape looks like it's further back. Show him/her that sometimes making something smaller makes it look like it's further away. Start introducing some thoughts that might get them thinking about things a little different.

    You can also teach them warm colors and cool colors. Maybe show them a color wheel (or have them make one), but without bogging them down with too much theory on it. Don't get too involved with things, unless they are eating it up and seem able to understand it. The worst thing you could do is somehow make drawing seem boring or like work if they aren't ready for it.

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