Observational Drawing for Kids – What Do You See?

Observational drawing is such a fun and calming art project to do with children from preschool on through to school-aged. Fun and calming? Yes! It’s magic, I think. Observational drawing for kids is the process of looking for shapes and colors to encourage concentration and conversation about what they see. It’s really exciting to see the world unfold as a combination of lines shapes and colors. It’s even more exciting when those shapes start to look like a thing.

Observational Drawing for Kids

For my example, I chose to draw a red onion, but you could choose any item within your reach. It’s nice if the item can reflect light and cast a shadow, to make the contrasts easier to see, but it doesn’t have to. Over time, you can add more items, or even let the kids add more to create cool still life drawings. (Cool still life drawings make great holiday gifts!) When you do this project with your kids, emphasize that their image doesn’t have to be perfect and it might look different than their fellow artists. It’s all about the interpretation and perspective.

Are you ready to try your hand at observational drawing? Let’s do it!

Observational Drawing for Kids

If your kids love drawing, they will adore our Big Book of Drawing for Kids!

You will need:

  • White paper (pictured is 7×10″)
  • Colored pencil or chalk pastel pencils (crayons could work)
  • A thing to draw!

Observational Drawing Tutorial

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To begin, ask the children what shapes they see in the object. For the onion, the response would probably be a circle. That’s a great start! Encourage your group to make a circle and then notice how the circle ends with a stem on one end and sort of flat on the other.

Observational Drawing Lesson for Kids

From there, ask visual based questions:

  • What color is the object?
  • Do we have that color or what colors would you mix to make it?
  • Is it smooth or bumpy?
  • What color is the part with light shining on it?
  • Can you see a little color where the light is or is it totally white?
  • What color is the shadow?

Observational Drawing Lesson

You can ask more or fewer questions depending on the needs of the group. Also, let the group answer and share their own observations about your object. Talk about how coloring more firmly makes a darker color and coloring lightly  makes it lighter. If you are using chalk pastels, you can show them how to blend the colors even more, with their finger tips. Most importantly just have fun!

How to do observational drawing

When they’re all done, the artists should sign their work. Each piece would be lovely to display in your gallery or frame to share with family!

Observational Drawing Art Lesson for Kids

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You might also like these animal mirror drawing worksheets to help build line and pencil control drawing skills.

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