Warm Ups

Welcome to AccessArt: Warm Ups

Backwards Forwards Line Drawing

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…

Warm ups help make a clear transition, for example between the rest of the school day and a creative activity. They can be used to introduce new materials, planting the seeds for new ideas or ways of working, or set the scene for new projects.

They provide a way to enable the children to explore through a guided activity, helping them follow instructions and providing opportunity for repeated practise, boosting confidence.

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.

A drawing made with 3 coloured pencils simultaneously.

Inventing Your Own Warm Ups

Year 1, Rode Heath Primary School

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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