How to Draw : Start with a scribble

start with a scribble

Start with a scribble.

How do we learn how to draw? We start with a scribble. By doodling lines and squiggles, we begin to transform the blank page into a drawing.

At kid can doodle, we believe EVERYONE can draw. But each person’s confidence with drawing varies, so we’ve been thinking about how to encourage and support those doodlers who desire more guidance. We knew we didn’t want an outcome-oriented “How to Draw ___” with specific steps for copying each subject. Instead, we wanted to create a doodle approach that could be applied to drawing anything, would build confidence and observational skills, and is a bit silly and imaginative at the same time. It’s a tall order — which might be the reason it took four years to put this together — we hope you like it.

Welcome to kid can doodle class. This is your first doodle lesson. Click on this link to download a worksheet for this lesson, or grab a piece of paper and follow along below. Please NOTE: When downloading from our site, you agree to these terms. Happy doodling!

Start with a scribble.


Doodle Warm-up

Always begin drawing with a quick warm-up exercise. This one is super simple. Start scribbling. Try make your squiggles look like . . .

a snake


a tree


a tornado or cyclone
a beard


This is conscious scribbling. Spend only a second or two on each scribble but think about how you can make them resemble some thing and how you can vary each one. Warming up before you draw helps you loosen up.

Doodle Exercise : Blind Contour

Blind contour drawing is a technique in which you draw the outline of a subject without looking at your page or pencil. Focus only on the object that you are drawing.

For this exercise, doodle your non-drawing hand. So if you’re left-handed, draw your right hand, and vice versa. Remember to look at the object you are drawing, and not your actual drawing. This will take practice as you will want to look at your paper. No peeking! Resist the temptation!

Rotate your hand into another position and draw it again. Repeat.

try thisDoodle TIP : Pretend you are tracing your doodle subject with your pencil; follow the outline of your hand model with your eyes while allowing your drawing hand to follow with the pencil on the paper.

Here’s my show of hands. It’s ok if they overlap, too.



If you trust in this method, you will improve your observational skills, which will help you become better at drawing. The purpose of this exercise is not to make a life-like drawing, but to teach yourself to see and focus. It will help you improve your hand-and-eye coordination skills.

Share your doodles with us! Don’t forget to tag them with #kidcandoodle or #startwithascribble

If you liked this lesson, please sign up for our new doodle club on ko-fi. Let us know what you think in the comments below. For more doodle fun, download Doodle Bugs.

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I Don’t Draw, I Color!

There are a few books I love because they capture the spirit of what I try to promote on Kid Can Doodle — a love of drawing. One is Laura Carlin’s A World of Your Own, part picture book, part how-to-draw manual. It is exactly the kind of drawing book I wished I’d written, for its fearless drawing philosophy. The other is I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt (Paula Wiseman Books), about a child with a knack for coloring. What really makes this book come alive is Felicita Sala’s vivid, expressive artwork. Take a look:

I Don’t Draw, I Color!

by Adam Lehrhaupt & illustrated by Felicita Sala


I don't draw I color

The child artist claims he’s not into drawing, “I don’t draw, I color.”

I don't draw I color

I don't draw I color

But as he shows us how he colors, we start to believe otherwise. We see that he actually has a colorful way of drawing. He knows how to express himself through color.

I don't draw I color

I don't draw I color

I think the image above of color bursting out of him/her is genius! I know that many people regard a “good” drawing to be representational, but as this story shows, there is more than one way we can draw well. It’s what we aim to show you on Kid Can Doodle, and one of the reasons why we love this book so much. The book also teaches us about color: how it can change mood, add drama, and how it can add vibrancy to our drawings.

Images from I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt with pictures by Felicita Sala, courtesy of the artist. To see more of Felicita’s work, please check out her website.

For more on color, please see our 3 & 1/2 Questions interview with Marion Deuchars, about her book, Color.

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Experimental Media : Ikea bits


Experimental Media


Drawing with IKEA bits

This year, I thought I’d challenge myself to doodle with a different medium each week. Some materials will be traditional drawing implements, such as markers or crayons, but others will be more experimental.

We’ve featured artists who have played with unusual ingredients: Claudi Kessels (nature), Javier Pérez (corn chips) or Justin Garnsworthy (plastic), so it’s not new, but it’s fun to try new things, mix it up, and see things in a different way.

For my first try, I happened to have many IKEA bits lying around (we just moved across the planet, from Australia to England), so here’s how I used them in my drawings:

dog drawing with IKEA bits

drawing of boy sneezing made with IKEA bits

drawing with IKEA bits of a man juggling

drawing of a bee with IKEA bits

drawing with IKEA bits of a whistler

This last one is by Little Dude:

cat in a car doodle with IKEA bits

What I learned

I enjoyed doodling with the bits — they instantly add character and liven up drawings. I was less precious with technique and creating something realistic, especially because the screws tend to roll around, so it’s a bit more spontaneous and fresh.

trythisNext time you draw, think of ways to add the pencils or eraser to your drawing. How about combining your toys to complement your art? Lego pieces or doll clothes would be great! Have fun and check back to see what we play with next week.


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Drawing Performance Art


Heather Hansen’s Emptied Gestures via Beautiful Decay


Have you ever seen a live drawing performance?


Until a few weeks ago, the closest I got was watching a caricaturized roomba draw at David Shrigley’s Life and Life Drawing show at the National Gallery of Victoria last year. Then I attended Drawing International Brisbane (DIB) Symposium at the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University (where one can actually obtain a Drawing degree). In addition to the lectures, we were treated to several exhibition openings, including my first live performance art show: under arena.

The show was a collective of live drawings in one of the city’s historical buildings, a former reservoir next to the heritage-listed Old Windmill. When we walked down the metal steps into the dimly-lit, cavernous brick space, the first artist we found was wrapped in a sari-like gown that glowed in the dark. She was standing barefoot on a round mirror filled with water, and painting on the wall with a large tassel. Sometimes she dipped the tassel brush into the water and flung it onto the wall, à la Jackson Pollock. Later, this artist — Velvet Pesu — treated us to an operatic vocal performance too.

The reservoir had six rooms connected by arched entries. Three other performances were happening simultaneously. One room was covered by large paper draped over the doorways, so the audience watched as a drawing magically appeared on the wall “canvas,” drawn by an invisible artist (Bill Platz).

Opposite, Zoe Porter, dressed in furry garb, was drawing with images projected on the wall (below). Zoe Porter often explores the theme of Anthropomorphism (humans + animals) in her art, hence the costumes.


The last room revealed an experimental collaboration between visual artist Kellie O’Dempsey and sound artist Michael Dick, creating a layered projection of hand and digital drawing (below is an example of her work).

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.22.16 am

image via NUM3ER London from Drawn to Perform


According to Kellie O’Dempsey, drawing in public is the act of drawing in a specific time, space/location, shared with an audience. Seeing the drawing happen live allowed us to be a part of the creative experience.

With my limited images here, it’s hard to convey the theatricality of the drawing performances. I admit that some of the aspects seemed a bit “out there,” but my take-away was that sometimes it’s not about the end result.

We focus so much on the finished drawing, that we often forget that the magic of drawing is seeing it come to life.


Drawing, like poetry, is a form of expression, and there is a beauty in that; whether or not the end result resembles anything is beside the point.

Sometimes artists combine drawing with other forms of artistic expression: movement and music, creating more layers to their art. Heather Hansen (at top) and Tony Orrico, who is famous for his Spirograph-like drawings (below), are dancers too.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.43.00 am

Photo by Michael Hart for Tony Orrico


Watch Heather Hansen in this beautiful performance in Korea:

video via Greenhouse Collective


Flatline duo’s (choreographer Carl Sciberras and artist Todd Fullerlike) performances are a perfect example of the marriage of dance and drawing. For A Dance for Paul Klee 2015, Annabel Saeis wears crayon shoes (made by dunking shoes into melted wax) that trace her movements onto the paper.


image courtesy of the artists via RealTime Arts Magazine


“If drawing is taking a line for a walk, here that line dares to dance.”

A Dance for Paul Klee 2015, from the Drawn to Experience v2 show catalogue curated by Kellie O’Dempsey, QCA POP Gallery


trythisGo outside on the sidewalk or basketball court. Lie or kneel on your tummy, grab a large chalk in one hand, and try to keep it on the ground as you spin your body around like Tony Orrico does above. OR tape some chalk onto the bottom of your shoe and glide on the pavement, as if you were ice skating. Repeat with different colors and have fun! Invite your friends or family to watch you!


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Drawing Tips : Draw at an Angle


When you’re drawing, you may be used to having your paper or pad flat on the table or floor, but it’s actually better to have your page at about a 45-degree angle, or more vertical than horizontal. It will make it easier to translate what you see onto the paper, with less distortion. So, try propping your pad upright, against a table, your knees, or using an easel, as shown above and below. I dare say you’ll see a huge improvement in the accuracy of your drawings!


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To Boo or Not to Boo


In honor of October, our first online show features magical monsters, cuddly creatures, and critters that might go “Boo!” in the night. Frightful or not, we think these drawings are fierce!

Thanks to all the artists who participated in our inaugural show. Seeing the entries made me smile! We just want to give a shout out to the descriptive captions added (by Charlotte and Eitan), Violet’s MadLibs-style narrative, the colorful efforts, and Charlotte’s sweet acknowledgment (right back at ya!) Congrats to our Smiggle© game draw winners: Anouk and Eitan. We hope you’ll enter our Lollygadoodling Show & Tell!