Welcome to this month’s Touring Picture Book Club in collaboration with Book Bairn, Mamma Filz and Along Came Poppy. This month our touring book is Dinosaurs Don’t Draw by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Steven Lenton and published by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Picassaur is a young dinosaur who one day stumbles upon something he’s never seen before, an interesting little object but what it could be and what is it for? He notices that it leaves marks and all of a sudden his life is transformed by the wonder and freedom of drawing.
Now he’s started, he just can’t stop and Picassaur starts creating masterpieces everywhere and with anything; burnt sticks of charcoal, slime from a cave and of course his trusty piece of chalk.
Feeling proud, our little dinosaur can’t wait to share his artwork with his family. However, they are less than impressed and tell Picassaur in no uncertain terms that whilst dinosaurs do a lot of things they most certainly don’t ever draw.
Picassaur is undeterred, his passion for drawing is so strong that he carries on despite being told he shouldn’t. And it’s just as well he does because when a T-Rex appears looking for some tasty small dinos it’s Picassaur’s drawing skills that save everyone’s bacon.
Picassaur’s passion for drawing was so infectious we decided to look at different ways to inspire drawing. We often hear about interventions to try and help reluctant readers or reluctant writers, but how about reluctant artists? As a child I loved to read and write stories but I found drawing really difficult, I still do. I catch myself saying “I can’t draw” far too often and it’s not a helpful thing to say in front of your children as you want to let them know they can do anything they put their minds to.
After some research we had a go at lots of different activities we found and here are our favourites.
- Moving away from pen and paper
Sometimes a plain piece of paper and the precision of a lovely sharp pencil hold too much pressure to create a neat and fine drawing. Using different mediums to create patterns and pictures can really help creativity flow. We went outside just like Picassaur and created some chalk pictures on our patio.
- Scribble challenge drawing game
I read about this activity on The Artful Parent (explore their website for many more fantastic ideas to get children engaged in art), each player starts with a plain piece of paper and makes any scribble marks on it. You then swap your scribble with another player who adds whatever they’re inspired to add. Perhaps you’ve seen a shape that looks like a person and you add a face or arms and legs for instance. My two-year-old really enjoyed this game as he just loved scribbling everywhere! My five-year-old found it a little tricky at first but after modelling it for him he soon got the hang of it and couldn’t stop adding extra things. Definitely a hit and one to play again.
- Drawing together
This activity was inspired by a post from What Do We Do All Day about tandem drawing. I often see children becoming frustrated that they don’t know how to draw something and want to give up. My eldest does this a lot and asks me to help him draw it but as I already explained, I find drawing hard so it doesn’t always work out that well! By drawing together I can show him the value in giving it a go, practicing and trying to improve. This is also a great activity for me to practice drawing too!
- Make a mini sketchbook
If you’ve never made a mini book like this for a child before then take it from me that they are one of the simplest ways to please! They are fascinated by how you’ve somehow turned one piece of paper into a little pocket sized book and they can’t wait to go and fill it. Mini books are perfect for using as a sketch book; take it out on a nature walk and draw what you see, draw your favourite characters from TV or books, or just fill each page with different colours and patterns.
What do you do to encourage drawing? We’d love to get some more inspiration so please leave a comment below.
You can see our previous Touring Picture Book Club post, Up in the Leaves, here.
Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for sending a copy of this book to be included in the Touring Book Club.Follow @Acornbooks