Drawing may be the most common form of artistic expression amongst young children. However, in spite of its popularity, the potential of young artists is rarely tapped into. Rather than merely draw for fun, kids can be encouraged to fine tune their artistic ability in a systematic fashion. By honing their ability to portray human anatomy, kids have the chance to turn their love of drawing into a real artistic talent.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Drawing paper
- Graph paper
- Humanoid toy or anatomy book
Show the child any well-proportioned representation of the human body, and have them attempt to draw the large, simple components of the human figure. Don't have the child worry about details, just encourage them to focus on the positioning of the basic body parts (head, torso, pelvis) relative to one another. Don't worry about the child's ability to draw shapes that accurately reflect the body. Two squares for the torso and a circle for the head are sufficient. Just make sure that the body-part sizes and positioning are realistic.
Open a basic anatomy book and have your child sketch a simple figure or use a favourite toy of the child's as their "model" for this sketch. These sketches should be more refined than the previous one. Although features can still be simplified to circles and blocks, arms and legs must be added. Both arms and legs can be drawn by overlapping two elongated ovals, one of which will represent the upper arm or thigh, and the other of which will represent the lower arm or shin. Ignore more complicated body parts like hands, feet and face for now.
Rotate the toy figure, or find a picture in the anatomy book that portrays a similar body from a different angle. Have the child complete several sketches of the body or figure from as many angles as possible. These drawings need not be any more detailed than the previous drawings. The goal here is to teach the child to draw from multiple perspectives.
Give the child a sheet of graph paper, and have them draw tick marks to show where each body part should begin and end in a well-proportioned figure. Their ability to make accurate estimates of proportion before having drawn the actual figure is a sign that they've mastered the basics of human proportion.
On this graph paper, encourage your child to draw more carefully conceived representations of human body parts. They can begin with the same squares and ovals, but they should then be encouraged to draw in lines that more accurately convey body parts' shapes. Gentle curves for the neck, subtle arches for biceps, and legs with visible thighs, knees and calves should be encouraged. For this exercise, use a full-body, forward-facing photograph of a real human being. Make sure that the person in the photograph is not in an unusual position.
Stand in front of the child and tell them to draw you. Wear light, relatively form-fitting clothing. Face forward and smile, with arms and legs slightly parted. Don't give them any guidance; this should be their opportunity to show you that they have learnt the basics involved in drawing the human form.
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