This resource explores why warm up drawing exercises help improve drawing outcomes and experiences.
When used appropriately, warm up drawing exercises can really affect the type of work children produce during the main part of a drawing session. Here are just some reasons why you should consider incorporating warm up exercises into a drawing project:
- They help make a clear transition, for example between the rest of the school day and a drawing activity.
- They can be used to introduce new materials.
- They can set the scene.
- They can open minds and prevent misconceptions.
- They can plant seeds of new ideas or ways of working.
- They provide a way to enable the children to explore through a guided activity.
- They can help boost confidence.
- They can demonstrate intention.
- They help children follow instructions.
- They can provide a starting point for later reflection.
- They can surprise, wake up, or settle down a jaded class.
Warm ups are also beneficial to the teacher or facilitator: by thinking through which warm up will be most appropriate for your session, you will be forced to clarify and dissect the aims of your drawing session.
Most of the warm ups in our resources will take only five to ten minutes. Like any exercises they can and should be repeated regularly to get the most out of them, and like any skill, the children will quickly improve with practice.
Inventing your own Warm Ups
After a while, you will want to invent your own warm ups to serve your own needs. Consider the following:
- The outcome of the warm up should help create a bridge to the beginning of the main drawing session. Think about where you want to take the children to in the main session (i.e. is it about a material, a technique, a concept…?) and work backwards from there.
- Consider potential stumbling blocks both in the main session and in the warm up. Can you split the activities up into smaller stages to help overcome these?
- Think about where the children are at NOW in terms of experience. What new experiences or foci would you like them to have?
- Keep it simple, small, short – do not overload a warm up exercise.
- Do it yourself: what is it really like to do what you’re asking them to do?
- Leave time at the end for reflection as a group to share experiences.
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