Everyone can improve their drawing skills with Echo Drawing!
Drawing is a vital skill in today’s world. Learning to draw helps us become more effective visual communicators at home, at school, and at work.
Drawing well does not require having natural talent or artistic ability.… anyone can learn to draw! Drawing is all about looking carefully at things and seeing the relationships between lines and shapes, and gradations of light and dark. We call this "learning to see like an artist".
"Echo Drawing" is a name I came up with to describe the “Duplication Exercise" first presented by Mona Brooks in her classic books “Drawing with Children” and “Drawing with Older Children and Teens”. These exercises help to develop observation skills and the ability to translate what we see onto paper. With the help of Echo Drawing, anyone can learn to "see like an artist". Through copying a series of designs from simple to complex, students will begin to see visual details and relationships they previously hadn’t noticed. In the process, they will learn to more carefully observe the world all around them.
Included in this 12-page pdf (updated and expanded in 2020):
- 1 page explaining why drawing is important and how copying can help us learn.
- 1 page filled with tips for completing these exercises plus strategies for seeing and drawing.
- 8 pages of hand-drawn Echo Drawing exercises: 15 exercises per page (2 pages each of levels 1, 2, 3, & 4, with each level increasing in difficulty). 120 unique exercises in all!
- 1 page of blank Echo Drawing boxes for students to create their own designs to exchange with friends.
- 1 page of blank Echo Drawing boxes for teachers to create designs for their students, at whatever level their students need.
My Echo Drawing exercises are arranged vertically, for easy use by both right and left-handed students. With the box for drawing in placed below the box to be copied, students can easily see the design they’re copying no matter which hand they draw with.
These pages may be photocopied for students to draw directly on them. Afterward, students might enjoy coloring them with colored pencils or fine tip markers. You could extend their learning by having them choose a specific color scheme like analogous or complementary colors to color with. Another option would be to laminate the pages or place them in a sheet protector for use with wet or dry erase markers, to be used over and over. (Note: The more detailed designs are best drawn with a sharp pencil or mechanical pencil.)
Like anything worth learning, the skills of careful observation and eye-hand coordination improve with practice. With Echo Drawing, students will be motivated to practice these skills and they’ll be asking for more! In addition to the eight practice pages included, you’ll also find a page of blank boxes for teachers to use to create more exercises for their students at whatever level they want. There’s also a page of blank boxes just for students to create their own designs to exchange with their friends!
Echo Drawing makes a great stand-alone drawing lesson or drawing warm-up activity. It's also a fun project for students to pull out when they finish other work or just need a “brain break". Plus, it makes a handy emergency sub plan since there's no prep involved - just print and go! No matter how you use it, "Intro to Echo Drawing" is sure to keep students engaged for the entire class period and beyond!
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Cheryl Trowbridge is the founder of Teach Kids Art, a website for anyone who wants to share the JOY of ART with the kids in their life! Visit www.TeachKidsArt.net for more K-8 Art lesson plans, tips, and inspiration. And while you’re there, sign up for my email list to receive my “Tip of the Week” plus my FREE download: “5 Fun Art Activities Kids Can do with a Pencil & Paper”.