Drawing With Children: Lesson 4 Sketching Outdoors


Lesson 4 in the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes is all about volume.

At this point in the book, I must confess, that somewhere along this point I feel like you need to just stop and dwell on a few basic concepts. If you are working through this book with a bit younger student, they may not seem to be “getting” it. I have seen it happen with some children that get stuck at this point in the book. I can understand it because this is not easy unless you have the sort of brain that is more right-brained than left. It is hard to make the switch to seeing negative space, volume, and how to make things look real. I would say that most children until about the age of nine struggle with this chapter. Don’t be discouraged.

I missed the following quote in lesson four the first couple of times I read it. I think it is worth reading and remembering.

“Beginners often lack confidence when it comes to this technique, so don’t be surprised at a few groans and furrowed brows….Encourage a balance between relaxation and concentration with children, if they have difficulty. Some four to six year olds may not be quite ready…….There is no ‘right’ age to be ‘ready’, so there’s no hurry.” Pages 141, 142

Work slowly through this lesson. But do try to get through the Tiger Lily project before you take a break from this lesson. I know when we first did this lesson it took us three sessions to finish. Remember there is no hurry.


How to apply to your nature journal.
Page 150 has a subheading for outdoor drawing and using natural lighting. She suggests sitting in such a way that the sun is over the back of either one of your shoulders. This gives your subject consistent lighting. Practice sketching and drawing outside.

Page 158 Choosing Other Projects
Follow the suggestions to use photographs or paintings as inspiration. You can take your own photographs or those out of magazines and have your children work them into their nature journals. Find subjects to draw that you have seen in real life. Have your children adapt the photos to match those conditions they have experienced. Mona Brookes also suggest working with your own three-dimensional environment for endless drawing possibilities.

I love the quote on the sixth page of color images int he middle of the book with the title “Environments”.
“As students draw the creatures in our environment, they can also learn about the places they come from, draw maps and study geography, be involved in science lessons, and exposure to environmental awareness.”

Plant yourself in this chapter for as long as you need to feel comfortable before moving on to Lesson 5. Lesson 5 widens our choices of mediums: conte crayon, chalk pastels, drawing pencils, colored pencils, oil pastels, and watercolors. This is exciting and intimidating. I think I will take each new medium and give it a separate blog entry. Some of these materials are not my favorite but I will do my best to present the way to get started with them.


Here are the rest of the Lessons:

Lesson 1 – Getting Started

Lesson 2 – Drawing from Graphics

Lesson 3 – Still Life

Lesson 4 – Volume Drawing

Lesson 5 – Conte Crayons

Lesson 5 – Chalk Pastels

Lesson 5 – Drawing Pencils

Lesson 5 – Colored Pencils

Lesson 5 – Oil Pastels

Lesson 5 – Watercolors

Click to each lesson for adaptations, suggestions, and videos.


You can download all the Drawing With Children – Nature Journal Style Lesson Plans here: Drawing with Children Lesson 1 – Getting Started.


Cover Grade 4

Please note that Drawing With Children is part of the Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 Curriculum. You can click over to read more about this art and music appreciation plan here:

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Explanation

Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 – Sample

The plans in Harmony Fine Arts Grade 4 relate the lessons to a study of great art and artists. Please see page 9 in the sample linked above to get an idea how I do this in the plans.


Supplies Needed for This Lesson

Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to products I own and recommend.

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