I know that this may seem to be a silly thing to add as a step-by-step process, but as I have started teaching my daughters how to draw, I thought I could add the same lesson here too.
Drawing is not easy and it's not hard. It's everything all at once. Some find drawing difficult and in reality they may just be very unsatisfied with their work. Other times they may thinks it's easy, but happen to be a natural and so don't have to labor over a piece of paper.
Aside from giving my girls step-by-step instructions to help get their minds to focus on the process, I always tell them that drawings are not good or bad, they are what they are. I tell them they can only get better the more they draw. It keeps them from being discouraged. Besides, it's true.
So, here are the four steps I have taught them, and so far, they have improved exponentially since we started, and I mean that in the most unbiased way I can...
Step One: Sketch.
Step Two: Darken the final line and erase extra lines.
Step Three: Outline the final line to prepare for color or shading.
Step Four: Color, paint, or shade the final piece.
Step 1: Step One: Sketch
Find what it is your kids want to draw. They may have an idea, have something around the room, or may need the computer to find an image or item they want to draw.
Then, they need to sketch it out.
This was the biggest step that I added to my own children's process of drawing. Most children grab a pencil and start drawing with thick and hard lines that are not erasable, so even if they want to change something, they will have at least a dent in the paper of what they had already done.
Starting to sketch teaches them to be soft with the pencil and to find their entire layout before making anything solid. This will help for those "Ooops, I ran out of room" moments too.
Step 2: Step Two: Darken the Final Line and Erase Extra Lines.
This step can eventually be combined with step 3, but it's important at first to make sure they are differentiated. Once the sketch is done, have your child create a solid line with their pencil over what they want to keep.
For example, they have a big circle for the head and a line down the middle to show where the eyes are going to go, now that the eyes are sketched, erase that line that he or she no longer need. This brings a solid shape to the picture to get it ready for coloring.
Step 3: Step Three: Outline the Final Line to Prepare for Color or Shading.
Oftentimes when I am drawing, I use a black marker at the end to make my lines that I darkened in step 2 even darker. That is why this can be combined with step two eventually. You can go from sketching and straight to the final line and then erase all of the extra lines at one time. But, it's good for kids to take their time and to be slow about it.
Once this step is finished, the drawing should be clean, free of lines, and ready for coloring.
Step 4: Step Four: Color, Paint, or Shade the Final Piece.
Time to color! OR paint.... OR shade with pencil...
Whatever your child wants to do...this is always the most fun part. Coloring it in. There are plenty of ways to do this, and of course always supervise if paints, pastels, charcoal or any other messy mediums are being used.
Step 5: Finally
In the end, they will have a drawing that they worked hard on and took their time with. It will hone their abilities and skills to look at it a step at a time. I recommend giving your child a sketchbook with a solid, spiral cover and with pages that can be torn out easily. They are still kids and will want to give their drawings to you and other people in the family, so book like that will keep the pictures save and let them share without tearing the pages.
Have fun, I do every day.
Miscelleana Rhinehart write for Toyota certified dealers when she's not spending time at home with her family.