How to Teach Kids to Draw People

Written by andra land
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How to Teach Kids to Draw People
Children need time to learn to draw people. (A child's chalk drawing of a family on a tree. image by ryasick from

When a child expresses an interest in drawing people, he will typically begin by drawing a wobbly circle with stick arms and legs. In time, he will add facial features to the circle. Considered the "tadpole stage" of a child's drawing development, the circle is a representation of what the child sees when he looks down at his body --- legs and arms that seem to protrude from his head --- instead of what he sees when he looks at another person. When a child is developmentally ready to draw a depiction of a more realistic person, he adds lines and geometric shapes to represent the rest of the body parts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drawing paper
  • Crayons

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  1. 1

    Give your child crayons and drawing paper. Ask her to draw a person. Take note of the details in her depiction of a person. Recognise that a drawing of a sphere with lines is a developmentally appropriate depiction for a young child's first attempt. Praise any scribbles that she places on her paper to draw the picture.

  2. 2

    Encourage your child to draw people whenever you give him art supplies. Point out the body parts he has drawn and ask about any additions to his picture that you can't identify. Talk with your child about all the parts of the physical body and where they are located to get him thinking about adding them to his drawings of people.

  3. 3

    As your child progresses to drawing a full body with a neck and trunk, suggest that she add defining features. Ask her to draw hair and clothes, eyeglasses and hats on the people.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep drawing supplies handy at all times so your child can practice drawing people whenever the mood strikes.
  • Hang your child's people-drawings in a prominent place and praise his efforts.
  • Never draw an example-picture of a person for your child to follow. Adult-drawn examples of even the simplest kind cannot be perfectly matched by a child, leading to her frustration and possibly to her refusal to keep trying to draw people.

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