Every year I have a couple of students who stand out for drawing amazing pictures. You know those students-they draw hair that flips and bow shaped lips. Do these students just have this special talent? Has a parent or another adult taught them how to draw? Do they just have great mental images and super fine motor skills?
I must admit I am not very good at drawing. I do not have the special talent. I do have good mental images but terrible fine motor skills. When I examine my daughters' drawings, I think it must be talent and practice. They even went through a "learning to draw phase" using videos from YouTube. They all draw way better than I could ever draw.
In my class we use the writing process and the students begin with a picture so they can get ideas from it to write. The last few months of the school year, my students were drawing less and less (but they were still able to write fantastic sentences). Sometimes when they came to me for conferencing, there was no picture at all. They were always surprised when I asked "Where is the picture?". They simply forgot to draw one. I would send them back to draw a picture and they would come back with a circle and some lines for legs and arms. It worried me and I began to wonder why they stopped drawing pictures. Did they just did not want draw anymore?
I think that we can help students feel more confident about drawing. The illustrations can sometimes be a stumbling block when it comes to the entire writing process. In an effort to spice up their illustrations, I plan to teach drawing mini-lessons sporadically throughout the school year. I did this a few years ago, mostly with animals. I always tell them that they do not have to draw this way, but this is one way to draw it. I would never want to stifle their creativity. I would have them draw the picture, step by step, two times on a dry erase board and then on a piece of paper. They knew to complete the picture with scenery.
I bought a book several years ago that has step by step instructions for drawing pictures. But my favorite place to find the most simplistic instructions is from this website: www.hellokids.com.