Drawing in Non-Traditional Ways – Drawing with Fingers, Palms, Soap Bubbles

Traditional drawing uses paper and tools like pencils, crayons, markers and paint brushes. But limiting kids to these conventional materials can hamper creativity. Providing unusual implements encourages inventive artmaking unbound by classical techniques. Non-traditional drawing employs non-paper surfaces, household objects, natural elements and hands-on methods for colorful, textured and unorthodox artistic effects. Read on for kid-approved ideas to stimulate fresh approaches to drawing.

Needed Materials for Non-Traditional Drawing

Setting up for these drawing methods generally uses common household supplies. Paper alternatives like cardboard, wood, foil or plastic wrap substitute as surfaces. Paints can be liquid tempera, fingerpaints or powdered sidewalk chalk mixed with water. Other supplies include crayons, glue, yarn, bubble solution, coffee filters and vegetables. Curiosity and a bit of messiness tend to energize proceedings. So cover tables, wear paint shirts and let kids explore making art their own way.

Drawing with Fingers

Finger Painting allows direct tactile experience of color and texture unavailable with brushes. Manipulating vibrant paints into patterns, shapes and images across paper develops fine motor control. Fun effects result from experimenting with the distinct imprints of fingertips, fingernails or knuckle creases pressed into dripping pigment. Trace designs drawn with glue before finger painting over them. Let layers dry between applications to craft multilayered landscapes.

Drawing with Palms and Fists

Coating palms with washable paint or poking fingers into paper cups filled with color lets kids stamp hands and fists as drawing tools. Print a rainbow, manage handprints of graduated sizes or align different color palm prints into interlocking patterns. Sponge-paint backgrounds first for them to embellish vibrantly by swirling and smooshing their hands and wrists overtop. Rinse hands after in soapy water.

Blow Painting

Equip toddlers with straws and shallow containers of thinned washable paint. Have them pucker up and blow through the straw to spew, spray and spatter paint onto paper held several inches above. Adjust consistency for bubble effects. Exploring color mixing happens through directing two-toned sprays at paper. For mini spin art, blow paint outward on a disk rotated by a parent. Just supervise aim to avoid facial spit takes!

Soap Bubble Painting

Floating orbs create whimsical abstract art. Provide a shallow baking dish filled with bubble solution, jars of liquid watercolor or food dye, drinking straws and paper. Have kids transfer colored bubble brew via straws to a second tub to catch on paper. For giant bubbles, frame embroidery hoops with yarn then submerge. Encourage coordinated play by sharing the hoop to layer bubbles. Catch them on paper before they pop for tie-dye patterns.

Drawing with Wax Paper and Crayons

Cover tables with butcher paper secured with masking tape. Have kids color over wax paper sheets with broken crayon tips or shavings. Once satisfied, flip and iron pieces briefly atop the butcher paper. The heat transfers crayoned images onto the paper below right through the translucent wax paper. Create cards, stationery and wrap paper, enhancing with secondary drawings. Fight crazed scribbling by providing drawn templates.

Spin Art

Adapt a small appliance turntable, lazy susan or rotating desk chair into spin art gear. Use C-clamps to secure paper before squirting liquid paints, ink or bleach marker onto the whirling surface. Centrifugal force draws out the vibrant media into splashy pulsing patterns. Fling loose drips by flicking a stiff brush against the saturated paper as it spins. Add more colors and rotate at varying speeds for further psychedelic chaos.

Marbled Paper

In this classic technique, floated paint gets swirled then siphoned onto paper or fabric. Stir a few drops of dish soap into a tray filled quarterway with room temperature water. Have kids gently blow liquid food coloring, acrylic or latex paint across the surface then drag skewers through to pattern it. Lay paper atop and press to transfer designs. For stationary marbling, place colors in squeeze bottles to draw on water. Print by dipping specialty tools, feathers or combs.

String or Yarn Painting

Crisscross sturdy string or yarn over cardboard before painting on top with roller, brush or dripping. Grasping raised bottom cords to shift around reveals an ever-evolving abstract composition. Alternatively, tape upper horizontal strings as vertical warp threads on a small loom, weaving colorful strands crosswise to build up woven creations. Display painted string art creations in custom wood frames accenting the depth and texture.

Vegetable and Fruit Printing

Cut vegetables and fruits like potatoes, carrots, celery, apples or oranges in half. Let kids press and roll inked slices around paper to leave imprints mimicking natural patterns found in the produce. Try pressing with utensils or fruit wrapped in mesh bags too. Print repeating motifs or Tessellating patterns from these organic textures. Extend the concept by making leaf and flower rubbings outdoors on nature walks.

Drawing with Coffee Filters

Coffee filters serve as a permeable surface for capturing dispersed liquid color designs. Fold them into sunbursts, spirals or fans first before decorating using eyedroppers, pipettes or squeeze bottles filled with thinned dye, food coloring or ink. The porous paper soaks up vibrant blossoming bursts. Let fan sections unfurl to display after drying. Accentuate filter drawings by outlining marker details atop the soaked designs.

Unconventional Tools for Drawing

Unusual implements prod creative thinking and problem solving to adapt appropriated objects into artsy ones. Provide a sensory table filled with tubs holding daubers, sponges, spray bottles, funnels, turkey basters and more for kids to use as mark making tools. Paint with custom mops and jumbo cotton swabs. Stamp using bubble wrap, corks, sponges or vegetables. Spread glue designs with popsicle sticks that glitter shakes can stick to. Engineer contraptions to fling paints.

Benefits of Non-Traditional Drawing

Process matters more than product with these highly experiential techniques emphasizing sensory aspects of making art. Moving through space to realize ideas offers physical involvement and freedom often lacking at desks. Collaborating to actualize ideas or share tools develops social skills. Troubleshooting practical challenges stretches cognitive growth. Non-conformist approaches promote out-of-the-box thinking transferrable to visual arts concepts. Most of all, creativity wins over conformity.

Art class rules stipulate right/wrong methods stifling spontaneity. But household materials bring few limitations beyond parents’ tolerance for mess. Improvising tools emphasizes playful problem-solving, unhindered self-expression and imagination. Artists-in-training gain permission to make messes and mistakes which can seed inspiration. When creative exploration matters more than perfection, individual vision shines. So fling some paint and get weird! Gallery openings will need only refrigerator doors to display masterpieces which nourish the soul.

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