This post originally appeared on the blog Proud to Be Primary.

Have you tried directed drawing?

Our littlest learners are asked daily to draw pictures that correspond to their learning, and many just do not feel like they do it well.

Daily I would hear phrases like “But I can’t draw” or “I don’t know how to draw!”

Can you relate?

As teachers, we don’t want to hear negative self-talk from our students.

This frustration can lead to a lack of interest and effort in work production. Kids need to feel empowered to accomplish the tasks presented to them.

I knew I had to do something to make drawing a positive experience. So I started creating and teaching directed drawings.

The results have been incredible! Read on to find out why!

5 Reasons to Teach Directed Drawings

1. There is room for directed drawings in every classroom.

I sometimes hear teachers say “But it doesn’t fit in with the curriculum!” or “When will I find time to do them?”

My answer is always that directed drawings are incredibly versatile. They can be used in many different ways.

My suggestion is to combine it with your classroom theme or topic you are studying in social studies, science, or language arts and go from there. Relate the art activity to a math concept you are teaching. Draw a character from a book you are studying and write a story about it. The options are endless.

2. The skills they learn translate to their own drawings.

Each year after we start directed drawings, I begin to notice their confidence level grow. After they’ve been led through a few directed drawings, they will begin to use what they’ve learned to create artwork of their own. It makes my teacher heart happy when I see my students use a skill or drawing trick independently!

3. Directed drawings help build important skills.

Directed drawings provide children with a ton of practice in following directions. Children need to listen and follow instructions closely while paying close attention to details or they might miss a step.

4. Directed drawings produce amazing results.

Directed drawings produce masterpieces.

Plain and simple!

Every child’s artwork is unique and special to them. There’s no better way to decorate your classroom walls. Hang the artwork in the hallway for the school community to see and appreciate.

5. Kids see themselves as artists.

Not only do they produce great results, but kids feel confident and identify themselves as ARTISTS. They are producing artwork for their classroom that is unique and beautiful, not some coloring page or cookie cutter craft.

Directed drawings are huge self-esteem boosters, especially for our students who struggle in other academic areas. Directed drawings give them an outlet to express themselves and shine!

I was guilty of thinking I lacked my own artistic skills, but drawing in a step-by-step way helped me change my attitude. What I say to other teachers who may be feeling the same way….If they can do it, you can too!

Ready to try directed drawings in your classroom?

The basic principals are to teach each individual part step by step and to MODEL this for your students! Praise them for their efforts and uniqueness.

For more tips and strategies, see the resources below!

Resources for Teaching Directed Drawings

Drawing Mats – Weekly Directed Drawings

Drawing Mats provide a lot of practice each week building drawing skills and following step-by-step instructions. The different directed Drawing Mats can be used for your art lessons, independent drawing activities, or combined with seasonal writing. Students can color or paint their creations after drawing or write a story about the character they created.

Watch this video to see Drawing Mats in action!

Why YOU NEED Drawing Mats!
*Drawing Mats are perfect for independent, fine motor practice and build beginner drawing skills. They increase confidence and kids love them!
*Drawing Mats are for all primary grades (K-3)!
*They are differentiated to meet the needs of your learners. With the different variations, there is something for all.
*The directed drawings are seasonal and connected to holidays and celebrations.
*Each directed drawing can be completed on the sheets provided or separately as a whole class art lesson.
*They work great as independent or whole group activities, to complement writing, and as art lessons.

Directed Drawing Tutorials & Tips

The following directed drawing tutorials provide tips for setting up, strategies for teaching a directed drawing lesson, and FREE step-by-step instructions. For more tutorials, join our email list!

Snowman Directed Drawing
School Bus Directed Drawing
Easter Bunny Directed Drawing
Leprechaun Directed Drawing


Every teacher should be using directed drawings in the classroom! These art activities for kids not only produce great results and build listening skills, they are fun and build confidence too. This is the ultimate source for step by step tutorials and directed drawing resources (FREE ones included).


Every teacher should be using directed drawings in the classroom! These art activities for kids not only produce great results and build listening skills, they are fun and build confidence too. This is the ultimate source for step by step tutorials and directed drawing resources (FREE ones included).Elyse Rycroft has 10 years experience working as a primary (K-3) teacher in British Columbia, Canada. She is the author of the teaching blog, Proud to be Primary, where she shares teaching tips, management strategies, and lesson ideas to thousands of teachers daily! Specializing in Math, Art, and Poetry, she is dedicated to creating curriculum resources that are engaging, differentiated, and comprehensive. You can find her resources in her TpT store, Proud to be Primary. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.