If your child is interested in drawing, buy them a sketchbook. Any size will work. They don’t need special pencils, a #2 pencil will work just fine. A #2 pencil can be used for shading. They can press harder with the lead when they want a darker value.
If you want to splurge, you can purchase a set of drawing pencils with hard and soft leads for shading and a kneaded eraser. It all depends on your budget. You can buy crayons, markers, pastels, whatever you desire to make their sketchbook more interesting.
Having your child keep a sketchbook will provide a record of drawing improvement. Naturally, the more your child draws the greater the improvement.
When I was teaching Art in Junior High and High School, I required my students to do five sketches per six week grading period. If you homeschool, you can ask your child to do whatever number of sketches you feel they are capable of doing.
I allowed my students a certain number of free sketches. Free sketches are sketches of anything they want to draw. I also gave my students a list of required drawings. These required drawings forced the student to plan, to do some research, to think about how they wanted to capture the subject.
Some of the required sketches were put on the list to get the child’s imagination going. The imaginary sketches had to come from their own visualization of the subject. A few sketches on the list required the student make choices; like drawing their favorite cartoon character.
I also mixed things up a bit and asked students to use colored pencil or marker on a few of the sketches in their sketchbook. My goal was to keep the sketchbook assignment fun, so that the students would look forward to the list each grading period.
Quite a few of my students would knock out the sketchbook drawings in a few weeks and would beg me for the next list. They couldn’t wait to show me their work. I usually gave those students extra credit drawings to do or I took a moment to look at their work and give suggestions on how to make their work better.
Sometimes I let the students as a group make up their own sketchbook list. This gave them a sense of ownership. It was interesting to hear the ideas the students came up with. We wrote all the suggestions on the chalkboard and the students voted for five of the ideas.
I kept a list of the required sketches for each class posted in the classroom. I handed out a list to each student at the beginning of the six weeks. I even emailed the list to parents that requested I do so.
Here are some examples of sketches my students were required to draw:
1. a free sketch
2. a zebra
3. their hand holding a pair of scissors
4. an imaginary pizza with all their favorite foods as topping (ex: Could be candy and ice cream cones as toppings.)
5. a horse running in a field
6. a pile of dirty clothes
7. a corner of their bedroom
8. their bare feet
9. favorite cartoon character
10. a tree
11. a still life of five things from the kitchen
12. a dog
13. a self-portrait
14. a page full of different types of sea shells
15. a spider in a web
16. a family pet
17. a beach scene
18. close up of a wildflower
19. a page full of human eyes
20. sports equipment
The high school students’ sketchbook list was a little more complicated. At times, I asked the students to use one point or two point perspective. Sometimes I asked for a sketch of a famous artist’s work, like a drawing of one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions. I tried to make the sketchbook list fit the students experience. Each year I asked a little more from my students.
All parents, whether homeschooling or not, can use any of the ideas above. Adapt the sketchbook assignment to fit your child’s needs and interests. Do what you can to help your child develop his interest in drawing. You will be surprised when you see your child’s progress. Happy Drawing!
You also might enjoy reading: Grading Sketchbooks