Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Silly Alphabet Drawing Game


Here's a fun little drawing project! Create your own silly personal alphabet! You can do this by yourself or you can play the Silly Personal Alphabet Game and see who can create the silliest, most unique personal alphabet! Hint: This game is especially fun for kids to play with a grownup!

You can download the complete instructions and the Silly Personal Alphabet handout shown by clicking on the link or the blank alphabet handout above.  

Don't forget - send us a photo of YOUR silly alphabet!

Next: Learn to add ACTION to your artwork!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Earth Day Art Ideas

The EARTH without ART is just 'EH.' So true!

In fact, nature is full of patterns and beauty that is art in its purest form.

Nature's art can be seen everywhere; in plants, trees, fish, animals, seashells, insects, minerals - even the Milky Way!

To celebrate Earth Day, let's take some time to see the beauty in our natural surroundings. Many artists celebrate nature through art by using natural objects to create environmental art (also called ephemeral art.) Click here to see a slide show about environmental art-making. Slide 11 has some tips for creating your own environmental art. Please take pictures of your artwork, disregard #5 on the slide, and email your photos to us for our Earth Day art gallery.

Younger students might enjoy creating this sweet Four-Seasons tree art that is made from natural items found your own backyard! Super cute! (From Red Ted Art.) 

They might also enjoy making these Nature Weavings! We made these at Summer Art Camp a few years back, and our young artists absolutely loved making them!

Older kids might want to visit Buggy and Buddy to learn how to make natural book markers using pressed leaves and flowers. These are really beautiful and you probably have everything you need at home. (Tip: you can use clear packing tape or contact paper to laminate your book markers.)

Also at Buggy and Buddy, you can learn how to use a stick as a painting canvas! Could you turn this into a jewelry tree?

Let's make ART that celebrates our beautiful earth!
To learn more about Earth Day you can visit -

Now it's time to get silly and create your own Silly Personal Alphabet!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Wildlife in the City

Every cloud has a silver lining! That means that when life gets hard, sometimes a little good comes with it too.  
We might be "bummed" about having to stay home, but maybe staying home has given our Earth a rest. The air is cleaner than it has been in decades because cars and airplanes aren't polluting the air.  Even better, wild animals have been leaving their hiding places to explore cities and towns all over the world, like the mountain goats above in LLandudno, Wales.
Without all the people and cars and noise to scare them away, all sorts of wildlife has been spotted wondering through our deserted streets, parks, and yards. In Nara, Japan, spotted deer park wander the streets; and in Colorado, these adorable bobcats are taking a sunbath on a porch.

The idea of wildlife in the city gave me an idea for a fun art activity that we could do to commemorate Earth Day. Why not use photography to celebrate our wildlife? Let's search for wild animals in our neighborhoods and take pictures of them to create artwork. So, how do we do that? 
Hmm... wild animals often visit at night and don't always want to pose for pictures. They may not be as easy to find as the spotted deer in Japan.  If you can't find a wild animal to photograph, maybe we could create our own wild animal "visits" for our project! 

Do you have any plushies or toy animals that look somewhat realistic? Gather them up and place them in your backyard to appear as wild visitors! Try a few different hiding places and positions. Snap pictures from various angles until you get the perfect shot! 
In these examples, I found a bald eagle in the tree in my backyard, a little fox next to my gate, and a moose hiding in the tall grass. Amazing!!!

Give this a try and send us your wildlife pics! You can email them to us or you can have your parents message them to the Art Center on FacebookWe will post your pics on a special online gallery. I can't wait to see your photos of "wildlife in the city!" (Especially your own backyard.)

Take a look! We have more Earth Day Art Ideas for you!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Be a Doodler!

PIC BY CATERS NEWS (PICTURED - Joseph Whale, 9, from Shrewsbury, doodling in his maths book) - A young boy who was told to stop doodling in school has shunned the doubters by being asked by a restaurant to decorate their dining room. Little Joe, 9, from Shrewsbury, kept getting himself into trouble for doodling once hed finished his work during his classes at school, so his parents, Greg Whale, 40, and Vanessa Jameson, 36, sent him to an after school art class to chase his creative passion. After joining the art club, his teacher noticed he had a gift and posted his work all over her Instagram for her followers to see. Soon after the post, Number 4, a restaurant in Shrewsbury, contacted Joes teacher and asked if he could come to their building and decorate the dining room, which Joes parents accepted - Joe has now had over 1.5 million views on his dads LinkedIn account and spends his time after school showing a restaurant full of customers his amazing talent. - SEE CATERS COPY
Meet Joe. Joe likes to doodle. But Joe was told not to doodle because it was a waste of time. Then Joe got a paid job to DOODLE! 
See Joe's inspiring story, then try a little doodling yourself!

You can see more about Joe Whale and his Doodle Art at at

All you need to be a doodler are pencils or markers or Sharpies (for older children/adults) and copy paper or your sketchbook.

Why should you doodle? Doodling helps to generate fresh ideas. Doodling distracts the mind from focusing on a given problem, allowing the unconscious mind to kick it around and inspire solutions. Doodling has even been shown to help us listen more intently to “boring” lectures! So instead of a distraction, doodling may actually help us to be better at whatever we are doing!

These doodles will be simple, fun line drawings. They can be cartoon-like. They don’t need to be realistic or perfect. They don’t need shading. Sharpies are great for doodling – no need to erase!

Here is a fun way to practice doodling!
Jake McDonald, illustrator
You'll need a piece of drawing paper and a marker or Sharpie. Pencils are okay (try not to erase). Choose a simple fun theme, such as girls’ things, sweets, flowers, bugs, monsters, or fast food. Then doodle as many of these items as you can think of, and more! Fill up your paper with doodles.                                                                                           
GAME - Doodle Buddies!

Materials: pencils, pens, markers, or Sharpies (two different colors are great!) and any white paper (copy paper is perfect)

The first player draws (that is, doodles) any type of line on the paper. It could be a squiggle, a swirl, a zigzag, or anything else. Here are some examples. What do you see in these doodles?
The second player then turns the doodle into a picture of something (using a different ink color, if desired). It helps to turn the doodle in different directions until you see something in it that you could draw. Now it is player two’s turn to draw a doodle for the first player to finish. Players (doodle buddies) continue to fill up the same sheet of paper with their shared doodle art, then both artists can sign and date the finished artwork. From

TIP: Each player can start a Doodle Buddies doodle page simultaneously on their own sheet of paper, then exchange with their buddy. That way both are drawing and no one is waiting for the other artist to finish. You'll end up with two full pages of doodle artwork!
Our next art project celebrates Earth Day, wildlife, and photography! Check out Wildlife in the City!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Every Kid Needs A Sketchbook! Part 2

How can you motivate your child (or yourself) to get into the sketchbook habit?

Honestly, it's an easy habit to acquire. For most children, a personal sketchbook is a dream come true! 

The sketchbook is a private place in which to visualize dreams, record special memories, explore new ideas, imagine what could be, create new worlds, reflect on life, practice drawing interesting subjects, and so much more! The sketchbook often becomes a valuable personal possession.

While scrolling through my children’s old sketch diaries, I found that their drawings were visual explorations of a surprising variety of subjects!  For example, when my oldest son was about nine to ten years old, his sketchbook included:

Detailed drawings of a starfish from three angles
Observational sketches of wild flowers, in color
A cartoon cat named Spike
A mixed-up animal with a wolf head, wings, and stripes
A Siberian tiger drawn from 3 different angles
A color sketch of two parrots
A moose being encircled by four hungry wolves
A Unicorn and a Pegasus
Horses in a pasture
The stage antics of a singing star named Singing Sam
An action-packed football play resulting in a touchdown - and a face mask penalty
A basketball player about to “stuff” a basketball, side view
Another basketball player, same play, from “backboard cam” (above the basket)
A football cartoon in five panels
A variety of space age vehicles, all types
Favorite football team helmets, numbered 1st through 8th favorite
Cartoon characters showing a number of action moves including jumping, kicking fighting, dancing, running, and doing the splits
An entire Star Wars space scene
The interior of a jet cockpit on a runway
Detailed drawings of each Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with written facts
A formula one race car scene with a wreck happening at the rear
A basketball player swishing a basket from the opposite end of the court
Ninja turtles fighting bad guys
A monster truck with happy face spotlight covers
A boxer “connecting” another with a blow to the head
Paratroopers successfully vacating a burning airplane
A 4-panel cartoon of a stickman golfer, who started poorly, then golfed ‘swell’ 
An intensely action-packed war scene
An incredibly complex maze (unfinished)
Two professional wrestlers with bulging muscles and masks
A cute baby with long eyelashes

My point is that your child has a lot of mental and imaginary exploring to do. He may not be able to fly a jet, but he can draw the inside of the cockpit and what the runway looks like during take off. He can even create a close up view of a professional basketball player dunking a basket using a personal backboard cam! 

He can imagine himself in any type of situation, visualize it, and safely immerse himself in it with nothing more than a pencil and paper. The sketchbook allows him to keep these special records in a permanent place for future reflection and ongoing imaginings! 

Get your child started with his/her own personal sketchbook (store-bought or handmade) and a few basic drawing media, like drawing pencils, colored pencils, and markers. Encourage personalizing the front of the sketchbook in some way. Then there is just one task: draw anything. It’s as simple as that. 

You might encourage your child to draw something every day. Or you might suggest certain types of drawings to try when they don’t "know what to draw." You might ask:

Why not draw something in this room? 
Can you draw your favorite animal doing three different things?
Can you draw your favorite comic character or your own comic characters? 
Can you fill a page with design patterns (or Zentangle) or write your name in fancy/3-D lettering? 
Can you draw yourself flying above our house?
Can you draw a landscape or a moonscape or a seascape? 
... and on and on.  

They'll get the picture (so to speak) and off they’ll go!

As a final thought, many of the drawing projects and art lessons I have posted since beginning our school-at-home art club lessons are perfect candidates for your child's sketchbook! 

For example, Be a Doodler to loosen up the drawing muscles and get the imagination moving!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Every Kid Needs a Sketchbook!

Does your young artist have a sketchbook?

When my children were growing up, they filled a lot of sketchbooks, sketch diaries, and drawing journals with their personal artwork. I recently found a stack of these sketch journals in a box in the basement and realized I had only seen the pages that they had personally shown me, so most of these pages were completely new to me! I had (and rightly so) treated these as my children’s private journals. And now I’m delighted to see so much free-flowing creativity, idea exploration, and visual playfulness in their work. It has been like watching my kiddos grow up all over again!

If you don’t have the sketchbook habit going on at your house, here are some great reasons to start:

1.    Sketchbooks provide a no-pressure avenue of free-flowing creativity. No assignments, no deadlines, no one to try to impress or please. Perfection not required.

2.    Sketchbooks are entirely for child-directed ideas, growth, and progress. They encourage self-reflection and improvement as ideas are worked and reworked. Often, sketchbook ideas can be seeds for bigger things; rough drafts to be developed into amazing art pieces or other major projects.
3.    Sketchbooks are a private place (like a diary). There are no rules, criticism, or grades. The sketchbook is experimental and loose; ideas are entertained and discarded, or revised and developed at the artist’s whim. 

4.    Sketchbooks promote drawing practice, which improves drawing skills that can be monitored by the child as (s)he reflects on earlier work. Progress is a source of pride for an artist of any age.
5.    Sketchbooks cut down on loose paper. The sketchbook is a great way to organize original work and self-expression in a self-contained volume, which can be kept safe forever. Date each volume and reflect on them any time in your growth as an artist without having to search for lost drawings.

6.    Sketchbooks are portable. My children took their sketchbooks everywhere: to the park, the zoo, the museum, or the living room. Sketchbooks are perfect for on-the-spot observational drawings! For a day trip, make it a habit to pick up the sketchbooks and drawing supplies along with the packed lunch, water bottles, and sunglasses. What a child might choose to record in his/her sketchbook is up to them. They might add the finishing touches (like additional details or watercolor or ink) to a drawing of a dandelion or a water tower or a zebra at the zoo when they return home.

7.    Sketchbooks aren’t just for “sketching.” Use sketchbooks for experimentation. Try new materials and media, such as collage, printing, watercolor, and mixed media. The process of creating will dictate whether to move on with a particular media outside of the sketchbook.

8.    Sketchbooks provide a great alternative for screen-free time. The sketchbook provides a place decompress, relax, and let one’s thoughts flow freely. 
9.    Sketchbooks are for everyone! Talent, ability, nor experience matter when using a sketchbook. All humans benefit from having a place for self- expression. Drawing ability is not required to fill a sketchbook – also great for collage, watercolors, mixed media, and – whatever!

10.Sketchbooks are about independence! Sketchbook activities promote thinking, planning, and creating independently. With readily available art supplies, a sketchbook provides child-friendly, accessible opportunities for independent learning and self-discovery. 

Are you convinced? Great! Does your child have a sketchbook?  If not, you can purchase one or use any bound book or tablet with blank unlined pages to start. 

Otherwise, a sketchbook is easy to make at home. All you need is copy paper, thin cardboard or poster board, a ruler, a hole punch, scissors, and some twine or yarn or a few brass paper fasteners. You can find our printable instructions here: How to Make Your Own Sketchbook.

Next we'll figure out what to put in our sketchbooks!

Monday, April 06, 2020

Easter Egg Art

With Easter right around the corner, let's create some beautiful Easter eggs! 

These beautiful egg decorating projects are based on Ukrainian dyed eggs, commonly called Pysansky, as seen here. 

There are many different types of media and methods you can use to create your Pysanky eggs. Try the best one for you:

This is an easy oil-or-wax resist method for kids that uses crayons or oil pastels on heavy white paper (drawing, watercolor, or any other heavy paper); liquid watercolor, cake tempera, or thinned tempera paint; and a big paint brush. Check out That Artist Woman for step-by-step instructions to make this BIG decorated egg!

This third resist method is a little more elaborate. It involves layering various colors of liquid watercolor or food dye between layers of white wax crayon patterns, with spectaular results! You'll need heavier watercolor paper paper for this one. How-to's are found at Alpha Mom

You can also try drawing and decorating your eggs in oil pastels (or construction paper crayons) on black construction paper. Check Kinder Art for instructions.

You can also try colored chalk on black construction paper. You simply dip the chalk in water to bring out the vibrant colors. I found colored chalk at the local dollar store. Learn more at K8Art.

Here's a fun little project that is very open-ended and that you can do with just about any art supplies at all. Simple little chicks and eggs make this adorable piece of art that could be made into a card.
Find step-by-step instructions at Krokotak

Want more Easter project ideas? You can Draw & Paint a Bunny  or try typing 'Easter' in the Search this Blog field above for even more Easter art projects to choose from!

Next up: Every Kid Needs a Sketchbook!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Draw & Paint a Bunny!

Every year around this time we draw and paint BUNNIES! 

We have painted wild rabbits in fields of flowers and Easter Bunnies decorating eggs. 

You can draw and paint a bunny too! All that's needed are a few simple art supplies that you probably have at home.

We are posting several bunny projects to choose from. Just pick the one you like and we'll show you what to do.

Here is a fun little bunny for 5 to 7-year-olds (or so) to draw and paint themselves. They will need a piece of 9" x 12" sketching or drawing paper (ordinary white copy paper will work too), oil pastels (or crayons), and a set of watercolors. You can find step-by-step directions to make this little bunny right here.

Thank you Artventurous for this super-cute bunny art idea!

The fuzzy bunny project below was designed for kids 8 and up, but I think younger kiddos could try it too.

The bunny is first sketched lightly in pencil on sturdy white paper. Drawing paper would work best. Start by drawing the head shape first, leaving plenty of room for the long ears. Add the V-shaped nose, the ears, and the neck. Draw in the eyes on the sides of the head near the ears. Next, go over your sketch with water-based markers like Crayola brand markers, adding furry texture as you go. Don't color in the eyes yet! Now you will carefully paint the bunny along the marker lines with clear water. The marker turns into watercolor! Use a soft brush as you pull the delicate colors into the bunny's body shape. When it is dry, you can then use a Sharpie to color in the eyes and add details like curly little eye lashes and whiskers.

Want to dry a realistic rabbit? We found some great animal drawing tutorials to help you draw just about any kind of animal you like at 

Learn to draw this little rabbit right here (scroll down a bit to find the tutorial), or download a printable pdf of the step-by-step instructions.

Then paint or color it any way you wish!

Our thanks to for this drawing tutorial.

Need more Easter art projects? Try our Easter Egg Art!

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Fill Up Your Paper!

These activities are games that help to extend the number and variety of what a child might think of to draw. The goal is to expand the the young artist's graphic (and verbal) vocabulary.

These games are drawing challenges that are met by filling up the paper with certain types of drawings. They are not necessarily group games, although it can work very well for more two or more young artists to work on a drawing challenge together so they can help one another come up with new ideas. 

Click here for a printable version of these Fill Up Your Paper games.

How Many Kinds Can You Draw? 

For this game you will need a large piece of paper (use what you have), colored pencils, crayons, and/or markers. Decide upon a theme, and ask, “How many different kinds of (_______) can you draw?” Encourage verbal idea-finding first, and join in with your own ideas. What are the possibilities for this theme? For example: kinds of people might include: Boys, girls, babies, old people, outer space people, astronauts, deep-sea divers, clowns, taxi drivers, fire fighters, kings and queens, dwarfs, fairies, soldiers, artists, wrestlers, models, teachers, football players, cowboys, and on and on.

Time to draw! Fill up the paper with all different kinds of (________) and then think of some more! 

Options: An adult can name the category, or the child can decide what kinds of (_______) (s)he will draw. Variations might be monsters, or space aliens, or animals, or super heroes, or birds, or vehicles, or bugs, or shoes, or sweets, or flowers or anything else! 

The SHAPES of Things

This game will help the artist recognize the basic shape of an ordinary object. For example, a pizza, slice, an ice cream cone, and a birthday hat all start with the shape of a triangle. Players will turn a page-full of one specific shape into as many different familiar objects as possible. 

You'll need pencils, Sharpies, or markers (fine point) and white copy paper or a drawing handout  to play this game.  First, fill up a piece of paper with a basic shape (using a homemade template for tracing) such as circles, or  squares, or triangles until your paper is full. Or simply print out our downloadable handouts by clicking on one of the shapes above. Now turn each shape into a different object. The artist can add new edges to create three dimensions and can add other shapes to complete each drawing - such as adding ice cream to the top of a cone. Be sure each drawing starts with or incorporates the given shape in some way.

Think Small

This drawing game is all about drawing the small, overlooked things in our lives. You will 
gather up lots of little objects – things lurking at the bottom of toy boxes, drawers, purses, and tool boxes. Artists will then observe each one closely, studying shapes, patterns, and form. 

Choose an object to draw, lay it on the table in front of you, and create a line drawing of it. (Placing the object on a white sheet of paper can help you see it more clearly.) Draw with markers or Sharpies to eliminate erasing. Just draw the object while trying to include as much detail as possible. Then choose another object, place it in front of you, and draw again. 

Fill up your paper with these mini-drawings. Don’t worry about drawing in scale or making mistakes. Just observe and keep drawing!

This drawing exercise is great for kids, teens, and adults. Everyone can improve their observation and drawing skills by thinking (and drawing) small!

Next up: Draw & Paint a Bunny!

Friday, April 03, 2020

More Family Drawing Games

Colorful Pencils PNG Clipart Picture | Pencil png, Colored pencils ...These are collaborative drawing games: everyone works together to create and complete the drawings.

Click here for a printable version of Collaborative Drawing Games

Add-On Drawing Challenge
Materials: pencils, markers, or Sharpies + white copy paper

For three or more players. A great family game!

1)    Each player draws a simple shape on his/her paper, then passes it to the player on the right.
2)    The next player adds something to the drawing and passes it to the right.
3)    The third player continues to work on the drawing and passes it again to the right.
4)    Once it reaches the original player, he/she finishes it and gives it a title.
5)    If the group is small (2-3 players), pass the artwork around again!

You can set a timer and allow 30 seconds for each artist to work on the drawing, as an option.

Tandem Drawing
Materials: Markers or Sharpies + a piece of white copy paper folded in half and opened

For two players.

Players start somewhere on the center fold with Sharpie (or marker) points touching.
Begin drawing and following each other so that each side of the drawing is a mirror image of the other; or somewhat symmetrical. Stay on your own side of the page. You must be fast if you want to be the drawer, otherwise you will always be the copier or follower. The faster you draw, the better. Attempt to create a symmetrical drawing of “something,” not just an abstract drawing.  This could become a landscape, seascape, a room, the top of a dresser, or (???)

Mind Reader Drawing
Materials: Markers or Sharpies + a piece of white copy paper folded in half and opened

For two players.

On GO, players each draw on their side of the paper, whatever they want. The trick is, they must follow along and draw what the other drawer is drawing. No talking. Not only are they duplicating one another’s drawings, but they are drawing it simultaneously as though they know what the other drawer is about to do next.  The question is, who is following who? Each player must constantly watch what the other is drawing, so that when they are done their drawings will be duplicates of one another.

Next, let's Fill Up the Paper and draw - draw - draw!