Drawing With Children: Lesson 3

still life watercolor
Lesson 3, pages 116-140 “Drawing from a Still Life”

Lesson 3 is really great for applying to your nature journal. I suggest working through the lesson as outlined to learn the concepts of drawing a still life. There are so many good points in this lesson that I want to emphasize the ideas that I really appreciated and hope that you can apply with your children.

  • “Remember, as an artist you might not like many of the finished products, but they all serve as growing experiences toward the ones that give you a rush of satisfaction and appreciation.” Page 139
  • “Now you have a formula for choosing projects from graphics and inanimate objects and rendering them into realistic drawings. You have learned how to use a drawing process that involves training your eyes to see the edges of everything and to duplicate their shape on paper. You are now well on your way to handling any subject that you wish.” Page 139


How to adapt this lesson to your nature journal
1. After working through the lesson, use the “Building Still Life Arrangements” section on pages 135-140 to arrange objects from your nature study for sketching into your nature journal.

Pay particular attention to page 137 where there is a list of possible items to include in your own custom still life. Many of these items are things that you could look for on your nature walks. Keep your eyes open to interesting textures and shapes and bring them home to arrange for your own drawing.

One additional suggestion I have is to place the still life in a spot where you can keep it up for a period of time. We sometimes work several different days on a single still life. Another idea is to have the still life in the middle of the table and then to draw it from different angles or sides of the table.

I would love to see any work you complete using these lessons. Please email them to me at harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Drawing With Children: Lesson 2

black eyed junco

Last week I started a series of drawing lessons using Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes. I am adapting her lessons to help children learn to draw in their nature journals. If you missed last week’s lesson, click here for Lesson One. This week we will tackle lesson two.

Lesson 2, pages 80-115 Drawing from Graphics

Work through the lesson as outlined in the book. Make sure to use the proper level for your child.

Application for using in your nature journals:
1. Page 90 in the “Where to start” section: Make sure to point out that when you draw flowers you will normally start at the center, with plants start with the stem, and when drawing a living creature start drawing with the eyes.

2. Using Figure 2-10 on page 91, practice drawing leaves with your thick and thin markers. Make sure to follow the suggestions in the paragraph titled, “Using thick and thin line”.

3. After working through the appropriate level in this lesson, go on to the section titled, “Choosing Other Projects” on page 112. Pay particular attention to the drawing sequence on page 114. Look for ideas for practicing the skills you learned in this lesson on your nature walk. If you can take a photograph of a scene or subject and then look at it on your computer or print it out, you will have a custom project to add to your nature journal. You could also use calendars, magazines, or field guides to help you with your project.
sketch 1
Challenge yourself to draw one object in each of the following categories:
1. Tree
2. Flower
3. Animal
4. Insect
5. Bird
Look through the colored illustrations in the middle of the book for some ideas of what other children have done for each of these categories.

Don’t worry that this lesson takes some practice before you feel that you are ready to move on. I think all artists work through all the skills introduced in this section of the book. I like to think of this as a work in progress even after all my years of drawing.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Drawing With Children: Nature Journal Style Lesson 1

For those of you using Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes it might be interesting to try to adapt those lessons to work in your nature journals.

I would complete “Choosing Your Starting Level”, pages 40-52 without any changes.

Here’s what I came up with for Lesson 1, pages 55-79.

Work through the lesson as outlined with the following adjustments:
1. As you learn the “5 Basic Elements of Shape”, make sure to have some objects from your recent nature walk to look at. Use those objects to find the elements of shape.
2. Play the “Visual Games” from page 64 while on your next nature walk.
3. Draw the bird as outlined on pages 75-79. Finish the bird drawing by sketching an actual tree branch that you have seen on your nature walk.
4. Before you move on to lesson two, practice drawing different birds you have observed by using a field guide or a bird photo. Use the basic bird drawing technique and adapt it to birds you have seen on a nature walk or at your birdfeeder.

Well, that was easy to adapt. I will try to work on the rest of the lessons in the weeks to come.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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