I am often asked about getting started with nature drawing for both parent and child.
The best advice I can give for both parent & child is to simply draw.
Charlotte Mason knew what she was doing; observing nature closely, and drawing what you see (not what you think you see) is essential to building drawing skills. And vice versa; drawing will build observation skills.
“It is only what we have truly seen that we can truly reproduce; hence, observation is enormously trained by art-teaching.” Charlotte Mason
My firm belief is that everyone can draw. Of course, some will be more talented, or pick it up quicker, but there are rules we can learn, which when followed, produce authentic results.
Would we tell someone who cannot read that they do not have talent? We would show them step by step the keys to reading. I believe it is the same with art.
I also have a tutorial on my own blog which is more my current, splashy, loose style, and takes you step by step to create your own journal entry.
You may also find these other posts to be of help:
Not on sketching, but has useful ideas on nature study with children:
I would also really recommend the following books by Claire Walker Leslie:
I would also strongly recommend studying great works of art as part of a child’s education.
“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture”
Charlotte Mason Vol. 1, p. 309
So again, as well as surrounding the child with beauty, it is the idea of the “power of seeing”, and “only what we have truly seen” that makes a difference.
Here is an excellent article on how to get started with studying art with your child.
Exploring Nature With Children is a smashing resource for making picture study happen regularly in your own home. It has the name and details of a famous work of art that relates to the nature topic being studied each week. The works of art are easily looked up online, or found in art books available from your local library.
There is one picture for each of the forty-eight weeks of nature study; four weeks for each month of the year, organised by season.
In conclusion, to learn to sketch, you have to sketch. We can read all the books, buy all the supplies, but in the end we have to get down to the task, and learn by doing, learn by our mistakes. Which can be pretty humbling! But I think it is great for our children, to see us struggle to learn something new. It is a great reminder to us of how our children feel when they are working to master a new skill. Also be sure to surround yourself and your child with beauty, both in nature and in art.
Small steps, small steps.