Teaching Drawing to ages 2 to 6 with the Artabet’s First Steps In Drawing Book
Let’s Start with an example of our new ‘What To Teach Our Kids To Draw Video Series’ for ages 18 months to 6 years-old. This video will show you how we introduce a new line variation from the 6 lines of the Artabet and then use it to Draw A Story about ‘Slip’ the adventuresome little snail. This video has a 5-Star rating worldwide.
Artabet Curly Q’s and Slip from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
I have been asked, “What Art Curriculum Do I Use To Teach Drawing To Ages 2 To 6 Kids In Preschool And Kindergarten?” by a number of teachers and have decided to give a working model that any teacher could follow, even without any artistic training.
This will be your first Artabet Step and will start at age 2 and go to age 6. Jump right in and use what is appropriate to the age of your students. We can learn from our high chair and from our desk. I will be adding to this posting as more videos are made.
The Artabet First Steps in Drawing is our guide book. It is all you will need to purchase for your Preschool and Kindergarten Art Curriculum. The supplementary videos and Teacher Holiday Packs are free. All page references will be from the Artabet Book, First Steps In Drawing.
https://www.theartabet.com/teach-your-students-how-to-draw/ This one book and the Free Teacher Packs will give you an art curriculum for drawing and painting that will get you from preschool to grade 6. Let’s get started.
Never Too Young To Get Started With The Artabet.
Round and Round and Dot Dot Dot /18 months from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Before we get down to using the Artabet Book let’s have a look at how we can engage the interest of a 2 to 5-year-old first. This little video will show you how.
Artabet:Let’s Draw Zig Zag ‘A’ from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Set them up in front of the screen and let me get them excited and inspired before you move in and follow up. Video learning is a dominant force in education today.
I want you to understand one very important developmental fact about learning this new visual language called Artabet; it is to not get rushed and try to hurry things along. A two-year-old is not going to care about the Hop Over Horizon Line and its significance in developmental art. That is why the Artabet stresses repetition.
Language is learned through repetition.
Your two to six-year-old (and sometimes even younger) is going to be doing the first few lessons for about 2 to 3 months.They will let you know when to move to the next level. In most cases the older the child the faster they will get the idea and will move quickly through the curriculum. Do not be fooled by rapid progress. There is nothing ‘new under the sun’ so we must present the material in new ways until it is mastered.
The Artabet stresses repetition through variation. A tasty chef can present the same ingredients in new ways and so we must be tasty art teachers presenting the same material in different ways. I will be helping you with this.
Starting the young child to draw with the Artabet will give them a solid foundation for visual and conceptual learning. Your child may be doing the 6 lines of the Artabet and a few of the coordination exercises until they become more inquisitive and try to actually draw something they like; which is usually a person or an animal. Let them make the move first. Just let them draw with the 6 lines and keep naming the 6 lines.
Let’s Meet The Artabet And Sing Along and Draw Along With Ron
If you are brand new to the Artabet then watch the first 5 minutes of this video (this is our most popular intro video) and you will get a good idea of the 6 Lines of the Artabet and how we are going to use them.
If you have already seen this video move forward in this posting.
What Do You Teach ages 3 to 7 to Draw from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
The Key To Our Curriculum Are The SIX LINES OF THE ARTABET
Artabet Warm Ups from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Your job is to let them draw with the 6 lines and keep naming the 6 lines until they master them. Remember the Wiggle Line is always last to come so do not get too ‘rule oriented’ about mastering all 6. If they want to go, let them go. I have had 3 year-olds drawing with amazing clarity.
When they can say and draw the 6 lines of the Artabet you will have set their future for drawing and printing. The magic will then start pouring out of them. You will not be able to keep up with all the cats and dogs and trucks and fairies they will draw.
How To Hold A Pencil Properly from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Do not rush! Do lots of singing and drawing of the 6 lines of the Artabet
Let’s get started with your first Preschool and Kindergarten Artabet class.
What you teach your 2 to 3 year old to draw is very similar to what you teach them to say. The first word takes time and patience. The first sentence takes even longer, Take your time with the Artabet. Enjoy the journey.
An Artabet Class Is Fun When You Take One Step At A Time.
Each step can be a complete class when you are starting out. As they progress (ages 3 to 5) and you build their confidence and develop their drawing skills you will be able to teach a complete Artabet Class which consists of the following:
1- Warm ups and Artabet Song
2- Draw a Character
3- Draw A Story
4- Paint or Color Your Story and Character Drawing
You can complete a class with all these elements in 45 minutes. Less if you choose to complete the paint and color later.
Follow The Order Below And Your Classes Will Be A Complete Success Every Time!
Before you start the class make 6 Artabet Cards
Materials needed -6 sheets of 8.5 inch by 11-inch card stock paper
6 marker pens (red, yellow, blue, orange, green, purple)
How To Make Your Artabet Cards
Draw the six lines of the Artabet (page 1 Artabet Book) on the cardstock paper. One line per card. Red for Round and Round, Yellow for Up and Down, Blue for Back and Forth, Orange for Zig Zag, Green for Wiggle Wiggle, and Purple for Dot Dot Dot. The order is important as it sets down the primary (red, yellow, blue) colors next to the secondary colors.( orange, green, purple)
6 Artabet Lines and 6 Colors.
Introduce the 6 lines of the Artabet using the Artabet Song ( Sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star which is like the Alphabet Song ) Point or hold up the Artabet cards as you sing.
Let’s Draw Lady Bug and Jet Bug
Introduce Drawing the first 3 lines of the Artabet, one at a time starting with Round and Round (page 2) then Up and Down (page 3) then Back and Forth (page 4)
First Drawing: Lady Bug (page 5)
Draw Jet Bug from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Introduce: Dot Dot Dot (page 6)
First Coordination Exercise: Round And Round With A Dot (page 7)
Introduce: Zig Zag (page 8)
Second Drawing: Mambo Monkey, Just draw the face and not the background. (Top of page 9)
Third Drawing: Bluebeary (page 10)
Second Coordination Exercise: Round And Round With A Zig Zag (page 12)
Fun With Zig Zags from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Round and Round and Up and Down from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
First Concept Drawing: Sundance (page 15) This introduces the artistic concept of symmetry.
Second Concept Drawing: Solomon (page 21) This drawing repeats the Sundance drawing with an ‘Owly’ variation.
Third Concept Drawing: Gil (page 16) Gil uses the concept of symmetry. His fins are in the shape of a pentagon (5). We call it a five-agon in the Artabet since most pre-schoolers do not understand Greek
Fifth Drawing: Herc (page 14) Every Student loves to draw ‘Herc’. He’s a hero!
Let the young ones watch the videos even if they are a little beyond their ability. Children learn by listening and seeing and then they do what they have learned. I have tested this video with a 2-year-old and they watched it all the way through.
Mystery Animal Artabet from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Bluebeary is out for a swim, I still enjoy drawing Bluebeary after 30 years. This is my latest Bluebeary.
The ‘FreeTeacher Pacs’ have lots of great age-appropriate drawing ideas.
Draw The Wiggle Worms from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Introduction To Perspective: Hop Over Horizon Line (page 17) This is the most important concept you can teach a young student. We call it ‘perspective’. It is not expected that the young child understands what they are doing by putting a line across their drawing and making it hop over when they come to something. They do not understand a lot of things we show them…they do understand later and that is what is important. It creates depth.
The Artabet Is always Training Your Student For The Next Step
Here is the Artabet Model Person that we use from the Artabet book.
Check out one of my 9-year-old student’s drawing of a figure skater that is in the finishing stages. Notice how the Artabet model has been used successfully as a starting point. This girl has had two years of lessons for 12 weeks a year at a local elementary school.
Here is the reason we teach the hop over horizon line and why it is the most important concept in our preschool and kindergarten art curriculum.
So many older children and teens eventually stop drawing. The creative juice that flowed so freely as young aspiring artists dries up. Drawing becomes something that they are not ‘good at’ and that precious language of their youth is silenced. I believe it is because they never learned to draw a story. Most older children will draw singular things; a face, a house, a person, an animal, a design etc… they will rarely know how to draw a story. They have no idea how to create a place where these things live and move about telling their story.
They never learned how to draw the Hop Over Horizon Line. This one line gives life to a drawing! You will discover its importance as you teach it. Always include it in your drawings and teach it to your students.
Introduce the Hop Over Horizon line; (page 17) Use this Concept as often as you can. Make a point of including it in all your Character Drawings. Some students will put this line right through their drawing and will not realize what we are asking them to do. Gently guide them with their next drawing and make a point of showing them how to do it. Never, never, never, say it is wrong! There are no mistakes in Art.
Introduce Model Landscape: The Three Lines (page 18) This is the Stage Set for our Draw A Story. You will see how we use it in the next assignment, called’Beach Bugs’.
First Draw a Story: Beach Bugs (page19)
Introduce Wiggle Wiggle (page 22) The Wiggle Line is the most challenging for ages 2 – 5. It will require an awareness of ‘flowing’. There are no interruptions in the line. It is a continuously flowing line with round transitions. All my students get it after practice. Mastery comes with practice, not talent.
Introduce Artabet Soup Drawing: (page 23) We used to have a soup that came ready-made in a can, called Alphabet Soup. It had little noodles in the shape of letters which we would try to take out and spell our name.This is Artabet Soup.
Your First Artabet Goal Has Been Reached. Congrats!!!!!
If you can bring your pre-school kids (ages 2 – 5) up to this lesson on the wiggle then you are ready to follow the next section which is the Kindergarten Art Curriculum (ages 5 to 6) for the Artabet. Make sure you have gone over all the Preschool Art Curriculum requirements and repeated them until they have a firm grasp of all the 6 lines of the Artabet and the two major concepts of Symmetry and the Three Lines which includes the Hop Over Horizon Line.
I have had 5-year-old students who started as 3-year-old students keep up with 10-year-old students who were just starting to learn the Artabet. It is not about how old you are. It is about how long have you been doing it. Child prodigies practice all the time! Can a pre-school student do the Kindergarten Curriculum? Yes, if they have mastered the pre-school curriculum. Do not confuse the younger student by pressing forward too quickly. Let them draw their cherished little Lady Bugs and Bears as often as they want. Repetition is our mission as Artabet teachers. I have seen kids watch their favorite movie or have their favorite book read to them many, many, times.
Do not rush and do not push!
We use 100% safe art materials in pre-school Artabet classes. I have used sharpies with 4 to 5 year-olds but only in smaller classes where we are aware of what all the students are capable of doing and have had some Artabet experience. Be aware and make a good choice according to the abilities and awareness level of your students.
Kindergarten Ages 5 – 6
Loops and Monkeys from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
How To Draw Monkey Mambo And The Green Bananas from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
This is the age group that is primed for exploration and imagination. If they have had the Pre-school Artabet, they will of course. excel in most cases when drawing beside new’ Artabet students their own age.If you have a mixed class like this then start all over at the Pre-school level and Review for the experienced students and introduce to the new students. Repetition makes you a better teacher and them better students.
Introduce Artabet Energy Lines: (page 24) Do any of the three examples before you start your class. Name each line as you draw it.
First Drawing: Bugs Bugs (page 20) I call it Jet Bug. You are just adding some wings to the Lady Bug. (See Moon Mission page 59, top of the page for details on drawing the wings for Jet Bug.)
Second Drawing: Beaker (page 13) Art is really from the heart for our little artists and that heart is easily discouraged with unrealistic expectations and misunderstanding. We had a 7-year-old in our last class who was plodding along and ‘seemed’ to be falling behind. I sensed she was very sensitive and decided to leave her in her concentrated quietness. At the end of the class, she had finished and was very satisfied. She showed it with a smile.
Art is really from the heart for our little artists and that heart is easily discouraged with unrealistic expectations and misunderstanding. We had a 7-year-old in our last class who was plodding along and ‘seemed’ to be falling behind. I sensed she was very sensitive and decided to leave her in her concentrated quietness. At the end of the class, her work was a beacon of creativity. She finished! Stay back a bit and behold your students. If you feel you ever offend them instantly offer heartfelt apologies and make it right. the wrong word spoken and not attended to can send your student into a wrong appraisal of their ability.
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES IN ART! This means you cannot make a mistake. 2+2 =4 and you cannot make a mistake or do something wrong in art. Two absolutes we can depend on as teachers and students.
Third Drawing: Albert (page 25)
Fourth Drawing: Baby “D” (page 26)
Draw A Story: It’s A Big World (page 27)
At this point, I should mention that adding color to your picture all depends on the materials you are using. Cheap, flimsy paper and poor quality paints and brushes have no place in an Artabet Classroom. Good materials make great pictures and COST LESS and last longer. I cut up 140 lb. or 90 lb. cold press watercolor paper into 4 -inch by 6-inch pieces and get great value from good quality. Good synthetic # 8 brushes are about $5-$6 and last for 10 years! My students use acrylic paint thinned down to a watercolor consistency and we rarely spill since we use small amounts with proper care. (see all my videos on Painting in The Classroom for details) I always use non-toxic materials!
Card stock paper is perfect if you are using felts, crayons, or pencil crayons.
As you can see from my videos I use Sharpie brand black permanent markers.fine tip. This product is not so environmentally friendly as I would like but it is waterproof and does not bleed when we paint over it. The students are given ‘strict rules’ when using them! No drawing on anything but the paper and lids on when not in use.
A Little Person (page 72)
This is one of the most important drawings for the young artist. It sets down the concept of ‘proportion’. The body is balanced and they like to draw it all the time. I do this little ‘model person’ hundreds of times with my students. At first, the arms come out of the ribs and the legs go in every direction. Keep doing it until it starts to resemble the model. It can be whimsical and funny but make sure follows the guidelines set down by the ‘Artabet Model’.
I have had 3 year-olds get this and use it successfully in their daily drawing.
Once they get the general outline you can start making your model into a particular person. The Holiday Teacher Pac is full of ideas to choose from.
Observe the order of drawing and stick to it every time you demonstrate it. Repetition does not work well if you keep changing the order. “Arms come out from the shoulders”. “Feet point down, not straight out at right angles. (Unless you are a ballerina!) I leave out the neck at this level as it is not necessary. Emphasize how long our arms and legs really are.
I will be finishing this blog over the next 3 months. Curriculums take time and this one will be re-organized by our senior copywriter as it unfolds.
More videos will be added to the preschool and kindergarten art curriculum so use what is here and I will keep adding to it each week.
Grades 1 to 3 will follow and then Grades 4 to 6.
If you are not having fun yet, then you’re not using Artabet. See you soon.
Thanks , Ron ..this very blog with videos is Awesome.
Thanks Megha, I hope the kids like them.We are making about 20 more over the next 6 months.
Hi Ron should we always start teachig with the 6 lines and 6 colors even if the students are from ages 10 and up?
I definitely would do the warmups to get started. If you do the power drawing video from the website you will see how much fun it can be.The colors of course are something you can introduce at any time.
It is best to modify your language when teaching older kids.Identify the lines and practice them using imaginative games as suggested in the video “37 Amazing Art Games And Exercises” found in the blog section of the Artabet website.
I have had weekly classes of this age group and always start with 5 minutes of Artabet Power Lines.(The 6 lines with a motivating title) Do the lines with music, give them importance by giving them time and super charged energy.
Develop skills and the challenge of drawing will be relished and looked forward to by your students. Express…do not copy!
Let me know how it goes and do get back to me.Ron
I love the way drawing is taught without making it look as a task.Also drawing weaving around a story is the best way to teach illustration.
Thanks Jumana,art can be so boring or so very entertaining. The story or weaving a story around the principal idea as you so aptly mentioned is the cornerstone of visual communication.Love to hear more from you. Ron
I have been using Artabet every year with my 4 year old children since I was introduced to it 3 years ago. I will be giving a presentation to the rest of my preschool colleagues next week. Any ideas on how to go about with the presentation.
Hi Nida I sent you a detailed plan via my email@example.com email. Hope it helped and do get back to me.
Hi..Ron, I have been teaching my kid with your artabet book. He is steadily learning. Can you please send me lesson plans and teacher resources ? I have tried to subscribe it from your website but I am not receiving it. He is going to complete 4 years now. It would be really helpful for us to use those in the summer holidays.
I’ll send you a teachers pac via dropbox today.If you need any more ideas or worksheets let me know. Glad to help.Email me any time.