Observational Drawing for Kids with a Wood Model

Observational Drawing with Kids Using a Wood Mannequin

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Observational Drawing with Kids with a Wooden Mannequin

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.

Figure drawing with a wood model.

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 with Kids Using a Wood Mannequin

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Observational Drawing with Kids

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.

Figure Drawing with a Wood Model

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…

Observational Drawing with Kids

Where to Buy a Wood Mannequin for Observational DrawingWood Mannequin for Observational Drawing

*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 I’ve seen similar wood models at craft stores.

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Observational Drawing for Kids with a Wood Model

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Barbara Zaborowski
    January 9, 2013 at 9:14 am

    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.

  • Reply
    krista
    January 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Dena
    January 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Sarah M
    January 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    this is so neat, and definitely worth $3.99! Her drawings are really impressive.
    Sarah M

  • Reply
    Karla T.
    January 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    My boys (ages 4 and 6) love to draw. This post is so right on time. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Norma Vantrease
    January 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    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

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    No worries, Barbara! I wish I could watch the figure drawing in action in your preschool!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Maybe next time!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Ooh, yes! Painting it with watercolors would be nice! Although I’m enjoying the plain wood look, too…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks! Krista, above, just said she saw one at Ikea for $4.99 so I may have remembered the price wrong…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    You’re welcome, Karla!

  • Reply
    Eleanor
    January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    We have the same Ikea figure, but I have also seen them at Michaels.

  • Reply
    babysitting nj
    January 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Really this post is very very nice.Her drawing is really Faboulus.I can’t belive is the chind can do this type of drawing!!!!!

  • Reply
    Laurie
    January 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    photo to pencil sketch
    February 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    she is cute and creative, god bless her

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