This project is included in Samara Caughey’s new book Drawing Workshop for Kids published by Quarry Books. Find fun, open ended kids drawing ideas to inspire drawing for kids.
I love the visual representation of things happening above and below the ground. And it’s especially interesting to draw what’s happening underground, where one can’t normally see.
These representations reveal the mystery of the underground along with the little creatures that may be living there.
What age do I recommended for observational drawing? I find that children as young as five get excited to draw from real life.
This drawing activity provides a great way to talk to children about composition because the artwork is separated into two sections and is featured in my new book!
Observational Drawing for Kids
For the drawings:
- Root vegetables – radishes, beets, carrots, turnips etc.
- Watercolor paper about 12”X9”
- Watercolor pencils
- Thin paintbrush
- White glue (I give glue in small cups along with brushes. Those squeeze bottles can be frustrating as they clog easily and can be difficult to squeeze. Glue stick will work, too.)
- Drawing paper 12”X9” 90lbs
- Magnifying glass (optional)
For the rubbings:
- Charcoal (black) or Conte Crayon (brown)
- Drawing paper 80lbs or thinner (both newsprint and copy paper will work fine)
- Observe the vegetables
Lay the vegetables out on the table. Allow the kids to engage with them by feeling and looking at the ones that interest them. The kids will likely discuss which vegetable the like or don’t like, along with the colors and size.
I think chatting and drawing is such a meaningful pairing.
- Draw the vegetables
Invite the children to choose at least four vegetables to draw onto the watercolor paper. They might choose four carrots or four radishes or a combination of all the veggies.
Draw with a B pencil (which works well for this artwork because it makes darker marks that can be seen even under the watercolor paints.)
The veggies can be placed anywhere on the paper because they will be cut out later.
- Add color
When finished drawing, the children can use watercolor pencils to color in the vegetables. Don’t wet the pencils for this project. but add water with a small paintbrush after filling in the vegetables and greens with the watercolor pencils.
The children delight in the transformation of the pencil marks to spreading color.
- Create the rubbings
Allow the watercolor drawings to dry and begin work on the rubbings.
Encourage the children to look around the house or outside to find textures for the rubbings. Walls, sides of baskets, backs of chairs that may have a pattern, trees, sidewalks, and brick buildings all are great sources of patterns for rubbings.
Show the children how to lay the paper onto the texture. Use the flat, long side of the charcoal stick or Conte crayon and rub it over the paper. The kids can collect as many textures as they like to fill their entire piece of paper.
- Cut the vegetables
Now the children can cut out their vegetables. (I assist the younger children with this step as necessary.)
- Create the garden collage
It’s time to collage the garden all together. Ask the children to place the drawing paper in a vertical orientation.
Cut the paper rubbing to the same size as the bottom half of the paper. Children are welcome to rip one side to mimic the roughness of the top layer of ground.
Wait to give glue in order to allow for the freedom to move the parts around, which is an important part of the process. Encourage the children to move their vegetables around a bit. Then take a step back from the collages to look at it before gluing the pieces in place.
- Add garden details
Encourage the children to create bugs with paper, pencils or markers. They can add bugs that live underground or bugs that fly in the sky.
The very last step is the glue. For this project it’s best if the glue is pasted onto the veggies instead of the paper and then placed.
More Drawing Ideas for Kids
- Nature Drawing for Kids: How to Make Feather Art in a Box
- Try These Two Beautiful Nature Inspired Art Activities for Kids
- Observational Drawing for Kids
- How to Encourage Creativity, Skills and Confidence for Kids Drawing
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