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Top tip for the classroom - drawing warm-up

Submitted by Education on Thu, 03/03/2016 - 17:02

All you need is clear plastic sheets and marker pens for this fun warm-up drawing activity from artist educator Sara Heywood:

It’s a good idea to start any art lesson with a short, fun warm-up exercise that gets the students’ hand-to-eye coordination working well. This is especially helpful before any extended drawing activities.

One of my favourite warm up exercises is to give out A4 clear, stiff plastic sheets (obtained from any plastic sheet manufacturer or framers - ask them to cut to size) and an assortment of coloured drywipe board pens. Ask the students to work in pairs. One person starts by firmly holding up the plastic sheet about 30cm from their face. The other person then starts to trace their partner’s face onto the sheet with a wipe board pen. This should be a fairly quick activity to encourage the students to work carefully but quickly making simple fluid lines. A top tip to help students is to get them to close one eye whilst carefully looking through (not at) the plastic sheet.

Once the first student has finished make sure they keep the drawing on the sheet and ask them to swap with their partner so that the other student now gets a chance to draw. Make sure the second drawer uses a different coloured pen and draws on the opposite side of the plastic sheet. At the end of the exercise the students will have a layered double drawing and it can be photocopied for posterity.

An extension to this exercise is for the students to try to draw each other’s hands or objects on the table or what they see out the window using the same technique. In this way they can start to play with variations in distance, size and subject matter.