Google+ Authentic Parenting: Portrait Drawing for Kids

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Portrait Drawing for Kids

written by Iyas, Freaky Rivet

You know how we're always reading about how children's attention spans are decreasing exponentially with the onslaught of computer games and apps? If like me you're in your late thirties to mid-forties, the same was said of us. We were the "MTV generation" needing the constant visual bling of music videos.
Well, we're not going to fight it here. We're going to do an intentionally limited attention-span art activity for fun. Michaelangelo took 4 years for his masterpiece on the Sistene Chapel. We're going to create masterpieces in 2 minutes! Then do it again, throwing a handicap in our way. Yup, it's fast and furious face draw.

Here's how it works:
  1. Get an even number of participants, ideally 4 or more.
  2. Sit sound a table or on the floor, making sure everyone's opposite someone else. Spread a big roll of paper (brown paper would be ideal and cheap) between you, or if you don't have a big roll, just give everyone the biggest piece (up to say A3 size).
  3. Get a clump or pens, colouring pencils, crayons, chalk or whatever drawing tools you like in the middle of the table.
  4. Set and start a timer for 60 seconds.
  5. In 60 seconds, everyone needs to draw a face portrait of whomever is sitting opposite them. Which means everyone is drawing and being drawn at the same time. Forget quality to start with - you need to be quick with only 60 seconds. If people are just taking too long thinking through the finer aesthetics of how to draw that left nostril perfectly, then set a rule that once your pen hits paper, you can't take it off again until you're done! That gets the creative juices flowing.
  6. Once the timer's done, set it again for 30 seconds. This time, colour in the picture. Go!
  7. Finally, do a last 30 seconds to draw a frame. Shapes, colours, sizes, whatever makes it stand out.
  8. All done. Admire each other's portraits of each other, and be prepared to take offence. Yes, they really do think your nose / forehead is that big…
You can make this more challenging by reducing the time, but there's not much scope there. So make it more fun or complex by drawing with your non-drawing hand. Or talking non-stop about something completely unrelated (describe dad's favourite dance moves for example) while doing it. Or covering up one eye with an eye patch. Or making a sculpture from modelling clay rather than a drawing. Or anything else to jazz it up even more.


Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children and who also runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead a business and technology consulting organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he discovered both the subtly addictive nature of gadgets and technology for children, and their ability to enjoy exploration, discovery and activity when peeled away from the technology. It was this eureka moment that led him with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept - inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.


Buying a subscription to Freaky Rivet weekly activity emails to get kids moving supports this site. We are very grateful for the small income this generates. Many thanks!

Image source: Paperfacets



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