What are your reasons to learn how to draw for kids? There are plenty! You can use your drawing skills to teach art to children. You can entertain your own kids with unique creations. Or, you can even illustrate a children’s book. You will soon be creating coloring books or sketching out favorite characters to delight kids with the skills you learn.
Learning to draw is an easy new talent you can learn – you do not need to go to art school in order to pick up a pencil and start sketching. Soon you will unlock the secrets to drawing. The more you practice, the better you will become. In no time, you will be illustrating with ease and confidence.
Your first step in learning to draw is to get plenty of materials to practice with. As a beginner, you will make mistakes – it’s only natural. And you will need to try repeatedly in order to get better. So that’s where a healthy stack of paper comes in!
As you are first starting out in your efforts to learn how to draw, you might want stacks of cheaper sketch paper. Even a child’s drawing tablet will do. The paper quality might not be high quality or worth framing, but it is well suited to your need to draw over and over again. Why waste your first failed efforts on expensive paper? As your drawing skills improve, then you can choose different paper. If you are sketching off some quick images for your kids to color in with crayons, then even computer paper will do. But if you are aiming to keep, frame, or publish your drawings, then you will want to go to an art store and select high-quality paper.
You will also need a supply of pencils and erasers as you start. This is not just a way of saying you might make mistakes – which, of course, you will. (You’re learning! It’s what happens.) But part of the skill of drawing – as you translate what you see or what you imagine onto the page – is sketching out lines and shapes that you will later erase. Do not settle for the small eraser on the end of the pencil. Go shopping at a real art supplies store and buy some nice pencils and a large separate eraser. Ask the store clerk for more suggestions, and try out different pencils. Pencils come in different hardness levels – we are all familiar with the number two pencil used for scanned standardized test forms, right? But that is a hard pencil. There are lighter pencils, like a 6 or even 8, that allow you to sketch more lightly and erase more easily. (You can also simply push harder when a darker line is needed.)
You will also want a sketchbook with a sturdy back, or a small portable easel or drawing board to lean against. That way you have a smooth and solid surface on which to work, and will not poke through your paper with your pencil.
The Shapes You See
Drawing is a way of translating what you see onto the page in front of you. The easiest way to do this is by breaking down what you see into shapes. If you can draw the most simple shapes – like circles and triangles, even lines – then you already have the basic skills needed to create more complicated images! The basic geometric shapes compose everything you see around you.
Look around you and think about what shapes make up the things you see. For instance, your keyboard is a rectangle – and the keys on it are smaller squares. On top of those squares are the shapes of letters and numbers. And each one of those is composed of curves, lines, and shapes. Practice looking at the world in this way. Soon you will notice the shapes that make up everything you see.
Put your skills of observation to work and begin sketching. Start with something simple you can look at carefully. Perhaps a coffee mug or a bowl of fruit will do. Whatever it is, make sure it is nothing too complex – filled with curves and curlicues and tiny details – so that you can hone your skills without feeling frustrated as you try to draw something difficult. Start with something easy! We are all beginners at some time. And the more your practice with one subject – as you draw it repeatedly and from different angles – the more your development will be apparent.
Sketching It Out
Now it’s time to put pencil to paper. Use light strokes – you want to start with faint lines that are easy to erase since you might realize you need to correct something. Start by roughly drawing the whole object. If you were to draw a person you would not start with just one ear and work from there – your proportions could be totally thrown off. Instead, sketch out the whole thing to keep your size and perspective accurate.
The important thing is to know that not every line you draw is set in stone. That’s why you have that big eraser sitting next to you! Perfection does not come with the first line drawn. You are simply getting the rough basics onto the page. Keep checking back to the subject you see and adjusting. Are the lines in the right place? Are the shapes the right relative size to each other? You can also overdraw – that is to say, draw the most basic shapes you see. Then when the object is complete, you erase the connecting lines and are left with the outline of your subject.
Once you have the basics down, then you can add detail. Say you are drawing a bowl of fruit. The first thing you need to do is rough out the shape of the bowl itself, and the unique shape of each piece of fruit. But then once that is complete, you can observe and add detail. Now you notice the stem on the apple. You see the dark spots on the banana. There is a sticker on the surface of the orange.
You can add depth and texture with shading techniques. You will start to notice and practice with adding perspective to the whole image as you fill in a background. Just keep sketching, observing, erasing, and perfecting your work.
Eventually, expand your repertoire. If you started by drawing objects, next try living things. Try to sketch your snoozing dog. Ask a friend to pose for a few minutes and rough out a human figure. You can even use photos – ones of your own or ones in books – to practice drawing a wide variety of animals, objects, and ideas.
Coloring Books for Kids
Now that you are comfortable drawing a number of different creatures and creations, you can make your own coloring books! Kids will delight in having their very own pages to draw – you can illustrate to their demands or draw unique stories that speak to their favorite ideas. You just need to sketch out your drawing – a bear, a clown, a bear and a clown riding a bicycle together, whatever you can imagine – and erase all the fine lines of the sketch. Once it’s ready, go over your initial drawing with pen. You can even scan the drawing in, touch it up on the computer, and print plenty of copies! Personalize the coloring books for the children in your life, or create ones as party favors, holiday gifts, or activities!
You can draw more realistic images, or create your own cartoony characters when drawing coloring books. The only object is to make clear line drawings with plenty of open space for eager young crayon-wielders to fill in with their own ideas.
Whether you draw cute cartoon characters or beautifully realistic images, you can expand your ideas into a book for children. Children of all ages love books with pictures. Even some chapter books contain illustrations here and there to engage the reader. And books for young children and beginning readers are, of course, full of beautiful illustrations.
As you develop your own artistic style, you will find you are ready to write, illustrate, and publish your own children’s book. Learn more about the steps you need to take to make this a reality.
You will want to flesh out an original story, and tell part of that story through your illustrations. You want to make sure your story and pictures are age appropriate for your intended audience. There are very different stories, language, and images to use for toddlers and for tweens!
After your work is finished, the final step is getting it out there for sale! You can go the route of being published on paper. Or, with the digital world at your disposal, you can electronically publish your books, too!
Whatever your goals, learning how to draw for kids is fun. You could just be adding silly doodles to the note you enclose in your child’s lunch. You could be sketching alongside your creative child and sharing in the fun. Or you could be aiming to create the next beloved children’s literature characters. Whatever it is, you just need to start learning and pick up your pencil!