Observational Drawing with Kids :: Using a Wood Human Figure

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Observational Drawing with Kids - Using a Wood Human Figure

This is not a big how-to post or anything, but I thought I’d share something we’ve been having fun with lately. Or rather, Maia has been having fun with lately. She molds contorts a small wood human figure that I picked up super cheap at Ikea* into all sorts of poses and then draws them.

Observational Drawing for Kids 10

Some of the poses, like this ballerina stretching pose are not so outlandish. Some can be pretty crazy, though. There have been flying poses, running poses, swimming poses, yogini poses, and poses for which there are no names.

Observational Drawing for Kids 7

There have been way more poses than drawings made, but ever since I told her that the wood mannequin is a drawing aid, she’s been drawing many of them.

Observational drawing is not something we have done a whole lot of at home. Every once in a while I set something up for her to draw or she decides on her own to draw something she sees. I’d like to do more with her now that she’s at an age where she has the patience, ability to look carefully, and interest in translating what she sees to paper. I’d also like to improve my own observational drawing abilities, so I’m starting to think how I might approach this (super informal) mama-daughter observational drawing 101 course…

*I think the wood human figure cost me $3.99. Unfortunately, I can’t find it on Ikea’s site so don’t know whether it is no longer available (I bought it a few months ago) or if it was an in-store-only item. I see these anatomical drawing models available elsewhere though, including this one on Amazon and a wide array on Dick Blick (“Adam the Doodles Man” is especially cool).

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  1. says

    Sorry, I commented on Pinterest before reading this post. I’m very impressed with her drawings. Working year after year with 4s and 5s sometimes mean forgetting that they get better at things.

  2. krista says

    I almost purchased this over the weekend from Ikea, as my son loved it. I’ve been trying to downsize the amount of stuff around the house so I made him put it back… maybe I should have picked it up after all. It was $4.99 at my Ikea on Long Island.

  3. Dena says

    I like how Maia drew fingers…
    We bought one at Ikea as well, Naomi wanted to paint it, so we got the watercolors out and it really came out nice. Have to wait a few more years before any figure drawing happens. In the meantime, it’s a fun activity for her to move the figure around into different poses, leaping being her favorite.

  4. says

    Hi Jean, Maia’s doing great. Are you aware of the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes? I used this book a whole bunch when I was teaching art to elementary age children at The Art Center. The activities are all based on observational drawing. I would recommend the book highly. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is also good for adults. It is based on the same concept.
    Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_21?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=drawing+with+children&sprefix=drawing+with+children%2Caps%2C238

  5. says

    Thanks, Norma! Yes, I’ve read the book (a few years ago), but haven’t worked through it with Maia. I’ve been considering using it (loosely) or the Betty Edwards book that’s aimed at children.

  6. says

    She is very good! what a great practice idea. I think she is ready for guided drawing! I too love Mona Brookes and Betty Edwards, great information for talented children. Love your posts, thank you for your inspiration.