Ages ‘3 and 12’
Find ‘Exactly’ What You Need To Know About Teaching A Beginner To Draw. This is our most popular posting and will be an invaluable tool for: teachers, parents, art instructors and kids.
Browse through the entire blog and find what you need or go to the other blogs on our website and find lots of drawings and tips for your young students.
Watch my video below which shows my Artabet method in action.
Part 2: Let’s Draw and Paint ‘Monkey Mombo’
Follow me as I teach step by step drawing at Rosemont Elementary. This class was with 30 young children, ages 3 to 7.
Part 3: Let’s Draw and Paint ‘Thunderfoot’
Watch some step by step drawing at Rosemont Elementary. See how the ARTABET can be taught to ages 3 to 12-year-old children in your classroom. Draw and paint right along and join the excitement of a full ARTABET CLASS !
All ages can benefit from the Artabet. Here is a short video that will show you a simple approach to Drawing A Tree.
Drawing is Movement; Watch Me Demonstrate The Artabet’s 6 Lines and then read about how I discovered them.
Follow me for a few moments into a discovery that has enabled me to teach thousands of young art students how to draw.
- Move your arm in a round and round motion.
- Move your arm up and down.
- Move your arm back and forth.
- Move your arm in a zig zag motion.
- Move your arm in a wiggle motion.
- Move your arm with a jabbing or dot dot dot motion.
What have you discovered with these movements? Do them again and ask yourself if there are any other directions that you can move in ?
Try moving your head in these six directions. Move your foot in these six directions. Look around the room and see if anything is not using these six directions to describe itself.
Look at the very words you are reading and see if there are any other movements or shapes that are not described by these six universal lines. All the loops and swirls and curves and dips and dives that we use to draw with are simply variations of the six universal lines.
My discovery of these six lines came as a result of a desire to teach art to young children.
In 1983, our second child was three years old and I had volunteered to do an art class at her pre-school. I had two weeks to plan my first children’s art class. Question was, “What should you teach a young child to draw?” I decided that a Ladybug would be age appropriate.
Every child loves a Ladybug. Now, what does a child need to know to draw a Ladybug?
How do I make a simple drawing with the least number of lines so that any child can draw it? Here was my first discovery. Create simple drawings with the least number of lines that are easy to follow.
Look at the Ladybug drawing below.
Three lines have been used to create this Simple Ladybug Drawing. How should you teach this to a 3 to 7-year-old? Would you simply jump right in and show them how to draw it step by step ?
An unimaginative, ‘ I do, you do ‘ approach to drawing will not foster creativity in our precious 3 to 7-year-old art student.
You must engage their curiosity and imagination if you are to hold their interest and make inroads towards developing ability and facility in their drawing. Warm ups, Exercises, Games, and Stories are essential.
See below for an example of what to do before you start drawing our little Ladybug. We have now added our newest ‘Ladybug Character’ called ‘Jet Bug”. Watch him take off!
Draw Jet Bug from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
Draw a Story
First, we draw our character. Be playful and ask questions. “How old is your Ladybug?” I usually say, “My Ladybug is two years old.” as I make two round and rounds on the back.
Whimsy is the flavor of the day for this age so you may get a Ladybug with 50 spots. Naming is important for children. “What is your Ladybug’s name?”
The next line we draw is our hop over horizon line. Look at the three Ladybugs below. That Line going behind them is VERY IMPORTANT!!!
It’s so important because it is the first ARTISTIC CONCEPT that a 3 to 7-year-old drawing should have.
A sun can be placed in the sky, mountains can be placed on the line, you can DRAW A STORY!
Let’s take a look at a Draw A Story which features Gwen The Penguin In A Nest. This film is easy to follow for about 8 years and up. Pencil, paper, tablet anything that makes a mark.Great for in school presentation, just sit back and draw with the kids.
How do I hold my pencil or pen?
How To Hold A Pencil from Ron Mulvey on Vimeo.
I have observed 3 ways that students hold a pencil or pen over the last 25 years. There are of course a few unorthodox ways to get the job done but we will consider only three.
#1 Index and middle fingers on the side of the pen. Thumb is extended and touching index finger.
#2 Index and thumb working together to create downward pressure while the middle finger is curled on the underside of the pen for balance.
#3 All three fingers and maybe even the fourth on the side of the pen with your thumb on top. This grip is used by the student so that they can see what they are drawing. Pressure directed downwards by the thumb.
Is one grip better than the other?
I would think that the middle grip is the most demonstrated model for young students. I will re-form a students grip when I feel that the middle grip would help the student draw with more facility than their present grip.
Think of the technique needed to glide a violin bow, execute a pirouette, cut a diamond, shoot par golf,garden and thousands of other endeavors.
The artist needs to make their mark and there are dozens of ways to make that mark just as there are many different ways to move the violin bow or swing a golf club so it is with the artists tools.The pencil and pen should be used with strength, softness, vitality and energy.
SMALL HANDS … USE SMALL PENCILS … HARD TO HOLD … USE A CRAYON …
The Warm Ups
The six Universal lines below are what we use to draw with.
Variations of these lines are introduced as the 3 to 7-year-old gains mastery of these six essential lines. Do not hurry the process.
Follow the order on the page above as you do the Warm ups below.
Just as order is important when learning the alphabet and counting order is also important when learning your ARTABET.
Here is ‘ SLIP’ the Snail
This is a variation of round and round and very ‘doable’ for all ages. We call this the ‘curly-Q’
Repetition Is Our Mission
Kids love to draw and they always draw what they love. Drawing is a natural creative activity for the 3 to 7-year-old art student and you can assist them by providing them with some tried and true principles of drawing, fun games and developmental exercises.
Look through the other blogs and you will find a ‘wealth’ of creative ideas, characters, art games, and videos to help your 3 to 7-year-old draw as well as 8 to 12-year-olds.
Art is a language and as in all languages, we learn with each symbol, each step, and each drawing.
The Ladybug drawing below is an example of my repetition with the Ladybug theme. I called it ‘Jet Bug’ and my beginner art students love drawing it. You can see the play of imagination that went into creating this highly efficient flying machine.
As your child or student masters the first basic ‘model’ for the ladybug they too will come up with their own versions.
The Artabet offers many variations of basic drawings that provide interest for the beginner art student. Repetition with variation will build skill and encourage personal creativity.
Watch Below as I show you How To Teach Ages 8 to 12: HOW TO DRAW AN ELEPHANT using almost all round and round lines.
The simple spaceship drawing below follows the same simple drawing steps used by the Ladybug. Instead of using round and round it uses up and down, back and forth, zig zag and dot, dot, dot.
As on earth so it is in space … Repetition Is Our mission!
When You Teach Children ‘How to Draw’ … the ‘what’ will take care of itself.
The six lines of the Artabet, when practiced and incorporated into the Art games and exercises will provide a solid foundation for future development and expertise.
The subject matter is always a personal choice but skill and confidence are constant. A child needs competent and effective training from the very start of their involvement with whatever discipline they are attracted to.
A great minor hockey coach, an experienced music teacher, an engaging Kindergarten teacher and a well-trained art teacher will always be an inspiration to a young student. Nurture, develop, and inspire your child with the very best learning environment you can find.
Our book, ARTABET / First Steps In Drawing, is the culmination of 25 years of teaching art to thousands of children in schools, summer camps, and private classes.
Hundreds of school teachers with little or no experience in teaching art are using the Artabet Book and our free classroom art resources with great success.
Here is A video of SUNSHINE BEAR that is a perfect art lesson for Elementary School Students. I will start with the drawing and a bit of color in the first video.
My most valuable tool is my book. I use it in every class I teach. It keeps me on track and the Kids LOVE IT!
You can learn more about my book here.
Here is a FREE link that will give you and your class or friends and family a really fun 12 minutes watching Ron Mulvey painting … really fast!!!
RON has lots of great classes on #Skillshare.
For some inspiration and some great teaching ideas let me know what you would like and I’ll send you some FREE LINKS to my #Skillshare Classes.
Excellent and very helpfull
Thankyou so much for the info in ARTABET.
It helped me to learn & also helped me to teach my 3yrs old son.
It is really very easy & helpful.
Thanks for your keen interest. We at Artabet are here to help so contact us at anytime if you need help or further info Ron
Love it. Tks
Thanks for your short and from the “ART” input.Love it says it all.
This is really cool! Was looking for an art class for my 2.5 yr old and this is exactly what I wanted them to each. Most classes get into colouring and cut and paste craft but this is what I wanted her to grasp first. Love love love the artabet concept and 6 universal lines!
I do believe that the young artists are able to learn more than we think they can.
500 hours using their thumbs on a touch screen before the age of 5 is a definite sign of intelligence … a bit misdirected but never theless, let’s not “baby” their intelligence with colouring, pasting, and copying.
Wonderful and helpful. Thank you!!
Hi and thanks for the comment. You can always reach me so reach out if you need something.
Loved it. Budding art and craft teacher
Thanks Shirin and if you need help getting those Buds into leaves drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like all your painting.
Thanks Surbhi jain, do you paint aso?
I love the way you teach! I am a junior school teacher who loves ART! Been looking for something just like this. Will try get your book downloaded and go from there. Wish me luck!
From Yvette in Zimbabwe
Let me know how the downloads go. I have a few teachers who because of some technical details, especially internet connections , have trouble downloading. If you need help just email me at email@example.com
We did some great Elephants, monkeys, Boas, and Giraffes this Summer at art camp. Would you like to see them.
Download was no problem! Yes, would love to see them
I’ll get them off to you this week as my camera fell into the water!!! I am picking up a new one tomorrow and giving a class to about 40 kids ages 3 to 13. Of course they will be grouped by age and we will be doing Elephants, Giraffes etc.
Wow it’s nice
Thanks for the thumbs up!!!
Ur awesome.superb techniques.this helps us allot.really feeling so much happy
So happy it helps. Let me know if there is anything else you need.
Are you a teacher or are you helping someone draw?
you are amazing!!! i am a mom with no drawing skills but my 5 year old son loves drawing. I feel bad that I cannot teach him the way I wanted to. I have put him on a private lesson but the teacher doesn’t really teach the skills you do. he would take out a picture and have my son to draw it and then he would help out and make the picture look so perfect. My son has been taking about 10 lessons so far but I do not think hes learning any techniques. he cannot draw a circle nicely still. the teacher said his purpose was to keep his interests but not teaching any skills to bore him. I disagree with that but due to time conflict, i have yet find another class that can serve him better. Do you have any DVDs recorded of the classes you taught? I would love to buy it so my son can watch and learn.
So many students and so few to teach them.
Here is what I would do.
Get the Artabet Book eBook or hardcopy at Amazon (Artabet First Steps in Drawing, ron Mulvey. Both will cost you about the same even after shipping. $20 US
Then go through the book one page at a time. Let him choose what to draw and you draw or watch. Do the artabet warm-ups every time tou start a drawing session.
Dowload all the FREE teacher Holiday Pacs anduse them as supplementary material to draw.
Use the videos on the website or go to Ron Mulvey Vimeo and you will get most of them all in a row. Vimeo is safe for kids.
Now the good news. I am currently making a new series of videos and will be posting them within the next few months.
Do not have any DVD’s as of yet. Let me know what you think of theses ideas and we can develop from there.
I could put some lessons on a thumb drive and that might be suitable.
Thanks Ron for the quick response. I appreciate your suggestions. I will download the book and use together with your other suggestions.
Never hesitate to ask for help. our children are our most valuable and cherished responsability.
Hi ….I loved the concept of artabet.I am planning to start art classes for children .I would like to purchase th is book .Is it available in India?Where can I get it ?
Hi Arshi, You can purchase the ebook right on the Artabet Web Site for $20 It is good for a lifetime in digital format.
You can purchase the Hard Copy (Artabet First Steps In Drawing) and have it shipped at Amazon USA or Create Space.com for about $21 US funds.Just search ‘buy Artabet” and you will get right where you want for hard copy.
Thanks for the keen interest and let me know if you need any help. Where do you live?
Thanks Ron ….I live in India .Will try to get the book through amazon .Your book looks amazing .I had been teaching nursery class and am quite good at drawing but wanted a good way to teach drawing to children .Thanks again
Sounds like a great job.Let me know if everything goes smoothly. A number of people have purchased through Amazon or Create Space and have had it shipped to India.
Hi.. very nice teaching of drawing… I like to buy this book.. but I’m in India.. how I can purchase this book please help mi….
Hi, I sent you a link to Create Space which ships worldwide. Anyone interested in hard copy just go to Artabet Create Space and they will look after you .
Really love how passionate you are about teaching young children. This method of teaching children art is quite inspiring! Thanks so much to internet that I found this. Where can I order the hardcopy in India?
Thanks for your kind insights and remarks.
Just search here; Create Space: Artabet First Steps In Drawing
It will cost about $23 US funds to ship.Available on Amazon also.
If you have any trouble get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any other way to pay?
You can buy the book on Amazon and have it shipped to your door for about the same price.Just enter .buy artabet at create space. let me know if that works?
This is a great article! Was very useful for me when researching the topic.
I’ve created an infographics on teaching kids to draw.
I wonder if you could take a look and send me some feedback as you know the topic so well.
The link is in the ‘website’ field below.
Hi Rauno, I visited your website and found the ideas to be sound. We all have our feelings and preferences for art, especially children art. If we lack an expertise in the field we should, as you are doing, search out solid teaching strategies and stay away from the free form do anything approach. Kids are already free and are looking for skills.
I liked the video at the end found it very creative.
Linking to other educational art sites would be a bonus to your website. Let me know if you need anything else.
Thanks again for your keen interest.
Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated! 🙂
Hi this is meena. Your lessons are amazing.and helpful to teach my art students thanks
Thanks Meena,always here to help if you need it, Ron
Hi thanks for the lessons, but i want to know if a child can learn drawing before writing the alphabet.
The lines used in printing the Alphabet are the same lines used in drawing the Artabet.
These six lines are the sum total of every direction you can draw. Practice these 6 universal lines and your child will be able to draw from the Artabet lessons even before they print their alphabet.
When it comes time to print the letters I would do a little research into the diifferent approaches to printing. each teacher in school has their method and you should find out before you give them any ‘printing’ instructions.
My advice would be let them draw and then with their acquired Artabet skills let the school teacher direct their printing.They will get it right away and will probably impress them as a ‘wonder kid”.
Hi Ron I’m a preschool teacher and have a class of 3 to 4 years old. Just came across your Artabet and really liked it. Will try to use it in class this year as my main objective. Where can I find more ideas.
Just email me at email@example.com and we can get you started with a pre school program that I have been working on. If you can get some FaceTime up on a bigger screen I’ll even visit your class and do a class for you live on FaceTime. I have done these and it’s a real treat for the little ones.Email me and let’s get started ASAP
That’s fantastic. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can set it up. Thanks
Great !!! Need more ideas to start drawing with 4 to 6 years olds.
Get in touch with me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you all you want. see you in the mail /Ron
Your teaching very clear sir.
Well a big thanks to you also for your visit and approval.
This is an excellent way to teach kids. Very informative article
Happy ‘Artabeting’ with your kids and students.
This is an excellent way to teach kids. Very informative article.
Mrs. Montessori would also approve …I am sure of it.
Thank you so much this was really helpful… I used to be so confused whenever I sat with my 4year old to draw… Didn’t knew how to start …. But really this has come out like a rescuer …
Thank you so much
Happy to be helpful.Let me know if you need anything else.
Thank you so much. im an artist and a few kids in my locality were requesting an art class i was completely at sea.
This helps so muchh!
im going to need a lot more help as teaching 5-6 yr olds is completely new territory to me. please keep me updated for new videos
Thank you again
Glad I could help.Anyone can em,ail me personally and I will do my best to help get you going. I really have to get back at making some more videos.OK I will.
I can’t explain how happy I am visiting your site. It was my dream to teach drawing to small children.( As for teaching elder students, one needs to be more qualified.) But the picture was not clear like how can i start , what and how I will teach and all those irrelevant questions were stopping me to step ahead. But you have come like a hay to the drowning.
More than anything I am learning so much from you. I have just seen 0.1% of these yet, have so much more to learn. Thank you very much.
This is very good news indeed. Keep in touch and I’ll be happy to help.
I am a parent of a 6 year old.She goes for a drawing class (as of now its only shading). I still confused if drawing classes at young age would spoil the creativity of the child. Please guide me on the same.
If you follow the Artabet Book and the videos you will not spoil your child’s creativity. Trying to draw like an adult (shading) at the tender age of 6 is probably not the best art activity for creative development. The material on the website is the result of 35 years of teaching children. Let me know if this helps .
You are awesome. You are giving so much detailing and
making it much clear where to shade much or not .
Hence making it much practical to visualise .
And your understanding about light is great and
you are also making it understandable to us easily.
I appreciate your knowledge and your way of teaching
Glad to be helping you.I appreciate your comments.
I have created blog for drawing lessons for kids, can you please check it out : http://www.hellodraweasy.com
Lots of simple drawings for kids here at this site.Look it over and pick a few to teach your kids.I always recommend that you check out the drawing site before letting your kids go on it. This one looks safe.
Thank you so much! This is a great way to teach! So well explained. I love the fact that you add stories to all your characters and doodles. Great tip! I am about to teach drawing to young children too, so I will use these tips!
Hey Steph, thanks for the thumbs up. It is so much more fun to teach with “Draw a Story”. Create a world not an isolated drawing.Here to help at anytime. If you would like some great FREE painting tips I could easily link you to some Skillshare Classes I have done online.Just let me know.
I just came across this glitter drawing video. I thought you might like it so I’m sharing this.hope you all also find it useful
Thanks for sharing that info Nisha. Crafts can be great skill builders for young artists. I looked at the website and it has some very doable projects. Who does not like some glitter fun at times.
Thanks a lot! After your videos and advises I think that even myself can start drawing and loving art
Thanks Maria, I appreciate your recommendation.Never too young or never to old to start art.
I am in the UK and teach Reception (ages 4-5). We would love to purchase your book and use it once a week for around 20 minutes. Would this be doable? Are there lesson plans?
I’m presuming, aside from the obvious physical development, it promotes confidence, resilience and enjoyment!
Hello Karl, thanks for the feedback. You can buy the book on Amazon UK and have it shipped to your door for about the same price as the eBook. I find the eBook great as we can project the images and it’s hard to lose.Just enter .buy artabet at amazon uk and they will ship.. let me know if that works?
Of course you can use the book as it is set up as an intuitive curriculum.The best thing you can do is take your cstudents through the first 10,pages of the Artabet book. Learning the 6 universal lines and mastering them over a period of time will give her the building blocks for drawing all the characters .
Take your time and keep going over these lines and having fun. Use lots of praise to ensure their success at learning this new language. Repetition is the most important thing for a child’s learning. Try to not fall into doing something different every time. Repeat and praise. My 4 year old students would draw the lady bug all the time and they would add their own touches to it. The most important thing is the Artabet’s 6 lines. With them you can draw anything./
Do you have the book?
Did you download the Teachers Pac? Home teachers and parents use this free material also.
What supplies do you have.?
There are a some good teaching tips on the website.
Use the Artabet Song from the website (4th video from the top of blog)
Artabet Song and warm up with 6 lines and the song.
Watch the “slip the Snail” video as it is a great outline for how to start and end a class. At age 4-5 they can easily draw the little snail.
Did you get the free teachers pac. It has some relevant material for your classes.
The Artabet book introduces art concepts such as near and far (aerial perspective) big and small and especially “Draw A Story”.
The book was designed like lego instructions…no words. Then work the characters into a Draw A Story as you will see in the snail video “Slip’.
Repetition Repetition -That’s our mission. Do the Artabet warm ups every time you draw and then do a character. Follow with Draw a Story. You must find and bring out your creative self . I have never had a student comment on my ability so do not be afraid to mess up in front of them…there are no mistakes in art!
Let me know if you need any more help at all.
Put together a few classes for a 4 week duration and the email your outline. Love to be involved.Ron
Thanks for the input.It is a joy to teach kids drawing and painting. We just finished two Summer Artabet Art Camps out by the lake and the River here in British Columbia.Taking kids into nature is by far the most inspiring of Art Activities.
Keep learning and keep teaching. Stop learning and stop teaching.
Gracias,mi amigo,encantado de ayudar.adios!