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Teaching Children How to Draw: Stick Figures and Beyond

I am blessed to be surrounded by preschoolers by day, performing artists by night, and all sorts of wonderful human beings in between.

It's easy to teach your kids or students some basic cartoon figures.

It's easy to teach your kids or students some basic cartoon figures.

Art as Creative Expression

Drawing is fun! It's silly how we sometimes have preconceived notions about what a good or a bad drawing is. I believe that children should be allowed to use art as a form of expression.

In our preschool, I noticed that many kids like to draw anything and everything. If we want them to settle down, we would give them blank papers, pencils and crayons and drawing becomes one of their favorite activities. That is what I call creative expression!

But for kids who want to learn how to draw specific figures, you have to show them that drawing is made up of several parts joined together. “I don’t know how to draw!” Well, I don’t know either. I’m not an artist but every so often I do like to dabble with drawing or painting.

For those who are clueless about where to start, here are some drawings that are so simple that anyone can really give it a try. Once you know how, it’ll be so easy to teach your kids or students some basic cartoon figures.

If I was able to do this, then you can too. Grab a pencil and start drawing!

Stick figures

Stick figures

Stick Figures

Younger children can start off by drawing stick figures. In the above drawings, you can draw a lollipop by adding lines or circles. I see a man running. But what about the second man? What is he doing? Why are his arms wide open?

You can make lots of stick figures. You can also draw girl stick figures by adding clothes. Or you can draw stick figures with hair or make them raise their hands, bend their body and more.

Circle figures

Circle figures

Drawings Using Basic Shapes

You can use basic shapes like a circle, triangle, square, or rectangle to come up with simple drawings. The above illustration shows a Missy the Cat facing you and the other is Mister Rabbit with his back to you.

  • Cat: Draw a circle. Add a smaller circle inside the big circle. Make sure the inside circle is placed near the bottom of the circle. Then you can add the ears, eyes, nose, whiskers and don't forget a tiny tail. Meow...Missy says "Be quiet. She wants to sleep."
  • Rabbit: Draw a circle. Put inside a small circle near the bottom and part of a circle on top. Add the ears making sure it’s pointed and long with whiskers. You’ve got a rabbit about to hop away. Run after him!
The owl and the clown

The owl and the clown

  • Owl: Draw a circle. Inside the circle draw two smaller circles as the eyes. Place a large v between the two circles and a smaller v below. Fill in and complete as illustrated.
  • Clown: Draw a circle. Draw two small circles as the eyes and one bigger circle as the nose. Now draw a curved line into a smile. Complete the face by adding a hat, a frill for the collar, laugh lines and you now have a happy clown.

There are still many shapes that you can use to draw simple figures like houses, boats, doors, windows, tables and chairs. It's wonderful how several shapes join together can form things of many kinds.

Drawings Using Letters

Another is the letter drawing. Using a letter, one can actually create something simple and cute. This can be done by older kids, like kindergarten students and up.

Reference: Let's Draw: Quick and Easy Steps to Cartooning, by Frank Webb.

Drawings using numbers

Drawings using numbers

Drawings Using Numbers

I was very amazed that the letters could be made into certain figures. And so it is with numbers too. So here are some number faces that I enjoyed following. Now it's your turn to draw, too.

Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this one, I'm sure your kids will enjoy learning how to draw as well. Just remember the drawing doesn't have to perfect. It is also the best way to cultivate love for the arts, perfect for bonding and quiet time with the kids!

"The Flower and the Bee," by one of our students, Jameishka Mulchandani, age 6

"The Flower and the Bee," by one of our students, Jameishka Mulchandani, age 6

Comments

Anshul on April 26, 2020:

Sketching

sunita on February 26, 2017:

U have made nice pictures for kids. It is so to teach kids.I m glad to see this.Thanks.

deanna on March 10, 2014:

hi my child she is an amazing drawer _ _ -

Loving mom on October 22, 2012:

I am teaching my kids how to draw right now and have found the trace tablet on the android market really helps with letters and such. Saves time printing off countless worksheets too for the teachers : ) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com....?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEwMiwiY29tLnRyYWNlLnJ0YiJd

gwy14 on May 22, 2012:

Hi. Can you make a number 2--dragon fly? Just like what you did with numbers 4, 6 and 8? Please? I'm gonna use it in my preschool class. Thank you.

Suniti on April 17, 2012:

Great creative work and good ideas for kids!

deepali on April 02, 2012:

I enjoyed this wonderful drawings.

vinita on February 16, 2012:

thanks

creativeMind from Cochin on January 31, 2012:

@ripplemaker,

this is an awesome work. the whole process of drawing the eyes has been shown in simplified manner.

good work.

Observation and drawing skills in addition to viewing every situation in a humourous perspective

you can also check out this hub on how to draw cartoons step by step for beginners :

https://hubpages.com/art/How-to-draw-cartoons-step...

guadalupe on January 26, 2012:

now im learning how 2drawlol:)

hippyboy6978 on November 29, 2011:

i learned how to draw an old man

Brendon on November 24, 2011:

That is great

Deema on November 24, 2011:

These drawings made me professional!

Sheeba Berlin on November 14, 2011:

This is just the best..... I never thougt in dreams also that drawing is so easy. Thanks a lot for these wonderful drawings.

Jon Gil Ramas on November 06, 2011:

This is where I will practice my drawing lessons.

Ridhi Khurana on November 05, 2011:

loooooooooooooooooooool

PADDYBOY60 from Centreville Michigan on October 28, 2011:

I think I could even learn to draw pictures this way. You know what they say, it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Lol. I love art of all kinds. Thanks for teaching us kids.

noah on October 27, 2011:

cool drawings

alivia on October 22, 2011:

the drawing is cool and I did them all

puffy on September 01, 2011:

I luv art.These arts are very cool!

aditi on August 31, 2011:

this is so marvellous i am shocked its even so creative to use letters or numbers to draw very cool

lucie on August 28, 2011:

this is good how old is she ?

Maira818 from Los Angeles, Ca on August 22, 2011:

of the best hubs about learning how to draw i ever saw. great work here! I love drawing :D

himanshu on June 24, 2011:

nice ideas

markmendez on May 15, 2011:

I am born to be a natural artist and I want my kid to know how to draw. At her early age, I taught her simple image drawings and as she grows she adopts the same mastery as I do... BEst for bonding moments

paris on March 02, 2011:

lol these things are nice so cool

RTalloni on February 09, 2011:

Great stuff! Thanks! :)

kuceli adetunji on October 27, 2010:

great inspiration! will go a long way in helping with the younger kids in my art club.

aleena~the~cool~ on June 01, 2010:

yea.... im 10 years old...

spainlinks123 on February 02, 2010:

Its so important that children learn how to draw without stifling creativity.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on January 15, 2010:

Thanks Mike for your encouraging words. I look forward to learning more from you. :)

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on January 15, 2010:

I've always enjoyed it whenever I had the opportunity to teach drawing to children. Kids are so appreciative when they learn something fun. You show a real knack for teaching art to kids. Thanks for this amazing post.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on January 14, 2010:

Thank you so much guys for coming over to read this hub. I hope you could use this in one way or the other for your kid's projects or artworks and simply have fun! Thanks! :)

Ros Webb from Ireland on January 14, 2010:

NO one can ever complain that they cannot draw after reading this. Great hub ripplemaker.

Sylvie on January 08, 2010:

Thx a lot... Its really amazing and inspiring me...

Frannies Cards on January 06, 2010:

Hi,

Ran across your hub. Love it. Drawing with my grandson (age 7), got me back into drawing agan. I missed it.

nikki1 on December 17, 2009:

great hub/very informative

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on December 06, 2009:

JanTutor, your enthusiasm makes me smile. Thank you for sharing your delight with me LOL Enjoy drawing with your little girl. :)

Jan Thompson from London, England on December 05, 2009:

Absolutely lovely! I'm so impressed. Even I can draw following your method - I'm sooooooooooooo proud of myself, thanks to you. Now I'm an 'expert', I can't wait to share my skills with my little girl. Thank you so much.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on November 20, 2009:

Bspider, wow that is great and really interesting...best of luck to your endeavor!

bspider on November 20, 2009:

I really enjoyed your hub. I'm currently working on a web site that teaches math skills to children via comic books. At some point I plan to provide instruction on drawing as well.

How to draw a car on November 15, 2009:

These are really simple and easy to follow methods for kids.

sell paintings on November 15, 2009:

I love those techniques you are shearing. This will add to my suns creativity for sure.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 09, 2009:

Chloe: That sounds lovely. Hope your son enjoys them. :)

ChloeAliceWilson from Spain on September 09, 2009:

My son loves drawings so I'll show him some of your techniques. I loved the letter figures. Cheers, Chloe

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 09, 2009:

Clara: I was amazed too. :) C'mon why don't you try some drawings? :)

Clara Ghomes on September 09, 2009:

Its charming to me. I am amazed with such a creativity that with alphabets you can draw a cartoon or drawing. Good keep your drawing skill sharp.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 09, 2009:

Vizey: Are you ready to draw now? Have fun! :) Thanks for dropping by and enjoying this hub with me.

Vizey on September 09, 2009:

One of greatest hubs I have ever visited. I can't even think that one can make a hub on this topic. Even Adults can learn drawing from your hub.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on July 26, 2009:

I'm glad we agree on the concept to encourage love for drawing in children. :-)

DoMorePhotos on July 26, 2009:

Excellent hub!

The ability, and even better the love, of drawing is a great thing to encourage and foster in children.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on July 23, 2009:

Thanks katy, it's nice of you to drop by. :-)

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on July 23, 2009:

Delightful, to be sure.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on July 12, 2009:

Thanks cobraski!

Hi RGraf, alright! Now you may get your paper and pen and let's start drawing! Have fun! :-)

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on July 11, 2009:

I've never seen using the alphabet and the numbers to be the base of drawing. This is very interesting. Maybe there is hope for me after all.

cobraski from Maryland on July 05, 2009:

Good job!

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 26, 2009:

Hi Shibashake, that books sounds very interesting. I should look for that. :-) Thanks for sharing and commenting on my hub. I appreciate it.

shibashake on June 26, 2009:

This is very awesome. I used to love to draw when I was growing up. I didn't really have any teachers like you, so I would try to copy figures from my comic books :) I think that drawing is a very important part of human creativity and that it is useful for everyone - both kids and adults.

Have you read Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards? It is very good. There are some really simple drawing exercises in there to help anyone get started with drawing. She actually gives seminars to a lot of business adults on how to encourage creativity through art.

Thanks for the great hub! :)

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 25, 2009:

Hello dayzeebee, hahaha glad you enjoyed this one! Okay why don't you let me see what you came up with. Your artisitic ability will amaze me, I am sure of that. LOL Thanks for dropping by and attending my art class for a bit. :-)

Hi wordscribe, nice of you to come by. That sounds like a marvelous idea. Hope your son will find this a delight. :-) Enjoy!

wordscribe41 on June 25, 2009:

This is a great hub, ripplemaker. I need to spend some time with my son showing him how to draw, His sisters have a natural artistic ability and he gets very frustrated with his own ability. Art has been a great outlet for all of my kids. Thanks for the great hub.

dayzeebee from Cebu, Philippines on June 25, 2009:

Hi Ripplemaker, ahaha I enjoyed this hub and trying them out on my own. Gee the wonders of numbers and letters turning into any figure. Thank you Teacher Michelle for another wonderful lesson. The child in me delights learning from you always in all ways. Hugs again and thumbs up!

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 23, 2009:

Hi Peggy, nowadays I have a fancy title and sit on a big desk doing a lot of paperwork LOL but every so often I still sneak inside the classroom to see how the kids are doing.  Keep creating and smelling the crayons Hahaha

Hi Enelle Lamb, glad to be of help! :-)  Hmmm let me see what you came up with Enelle.  C'mon don't be shy, I will give you a star! Hehehe

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on June 23, 2009:

What a great hub - gives tons of ideas - lots I never considered lol and I used to stare at blank paper for hours coming up with ideas on what to draw.

Loved it!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 23, 2009:

I'll just bet that the kids in your class LOVE YOU!

I still remember the stick figures my mother did when teaching my brothers and me how to draw. And yes...a plain piece of paper really brings out creativity and lets imaginations soar.

A new box of crayons...always loved the smell! Great hub!

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 21, 2009:

That is wonderful to hear Ladybird! Keep alive the interest in drawing. Who knows what will come out of it! :-)

Ladybird33 from Fabulous USA on June 21, 2009:

This is a great hub, my son and I loved learning to draw, much better then we did before. Thank you!

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 19, 2009:

Glad to be of help Charia. Enjoy drawing with baby Sam. :-)

Mayhmong, I get the picture. You said it so well, I could imagine it vividly. Hehehe Thanks! :-)

mayhmong from North Carolina on June 19, 2009:

That's a great idea to start the kids off by the form of letters and numbers. I love the one with the owl. I normally draw a plain house by drawing a square. Then a triangle for the roof. And add a door, chimney, and window. I later added some flowers next to the house with a bee or butterfly by it. The other extra things I would add is the circle sun with sun ray lines sprouting out of it. Plus some puffy clouds. Aaaah...you get the picture.

Charia Samher on June 19, 2009:

Oh, why haven't I thought of that! =P Thanks, I'll save it right about now! =)

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 18, 2009:

Philipo and RGraf, enjoy it with your younger ones. :-)

Watch Tower, that's a great idea. It would be interesting what they come up with. Indeed kids are very imaginative. :-)

Hi Charia, you can print this out and have fun. Just right click the photo and save image as. Then you can print from there. :-) Enjoy the drawing. And thanks for dropping by twice. Hehe you are such a dear.

Charia Samher on June 15, 2009:

I'm back..I wish I could print those, especially creating figures using letters & numbers. =)

Charia Samher on June 14, 2009:

Wow this is so nice. I love this! Can't wait to use this to my baby Sam! =)

Watch Tower from New Zealand on June 13, 2009:

As a child I remember the thing I use to draw the most was penguins on roller skates.

This is an excllent how to.

Children have the best imagination especially at pre school age, as anything is possible and nothing is impossible. Drawing is one of the greatest gifts we can encourage and teach children. I'll be sharing this piece of how to, with my nieces and nephews

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on June 11, 2009:

These are great. I might have to try them with my youngest who struggles in art.

Philipo from Nigeria on June 11, 2009:

Very interetsting. I am not good at drawing. I wil do a print out for the younger ones. It is indeed a good `how to' hub. Thank you.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 11, 2009:

Hi RedElf, what are you waiting for, hop on board. Here are blank bond papers and pencils for you to start your drawing class. hehe :-)

Hi C.S. Alexis, coming from an artist that is a wonderful compliment...thank you very much. I guess blank papers invites us to use our imagination and it's a wonderful way to "relax" us and have fun too. :-)

Hi Purple Perl, yes I agree, art classes can be a great way to spend the summer vacation for kids. Yes I do hope this can be a good way to spark some interest for the parents to guage if their children are into arts. Or just to have fun with drawing. :-)

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on June 10, 2009:

Among hobby classes,art tops the list for most kids during summer vacation. Creation of interesting visuals is at once engaging,fun and refreshing. I am sure many parents will enjoy trying out all the above mentioned stuff in the hub with their kids. Thanks,ripplemaker for this hub.

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on June 10, 2009:

This is a fantastic hub. You are right about letting children express themselves...A blank piece of paper still makes me settle down!

Using the letters and numbers is also a great way to teach the children to be more observant and look at details. Very good job here.

RedElf from Canada on June 10, 2009:

Love this hub. Would love to be one of your students.

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 10, 2009:

Hi Brenda, the army? Wow you have aroused my curiosity. :-) Hmmm okay, let's see what the army people can do with letters and numbers and shapes. That should be interesting. And oh, you are most welcome to come back for a 2nd helping and a 3rd and a 4th...LOL

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 10, 2009:

Hi Dottie, that would be a wonderful hub I am sure.  Wow, that must have made you very proud of Tracey.  I like that.  Maybe someday I'd get to see her book.  As for your drawings, of course I would love to see it!  Hehe I bet you draw as great as Tracey.  LOL

Hi SweetiePie, it is good for the young and hey, for us too. I learn a lot from you with all the drawings you make for us. :-)

Hi BC, Susan and I would love to have you as our student for art class! :-)  LOL I am sure we will have lots of fun!

\Brenda Scully on June 10, 2009:

Hey brilliant, I will use those in amy classes, haven't read all the hub yet, just looked at pictures....... Brenda will be back to read in full

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 10, 2009:

Hi Triplet Mom, I hope your kids will love it. :-)

Hi Hawkesdream, thanks for asking the question. Yes there is a book about it- the letters. :-) I will post the book above for referral.

Hi Island Voice, I hope Keona will love this one. I get so amazed when kids produce such beautiful work. :-) It is truly inspiring.

Hi DynamicS, that is so cute. Thanks for sharing my hub with your 6 year old. That warmed my heart. :-)

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 10, 2009:

Hi Tatjana, I enjoyed it too. LOL I'm smiling because that is what I felt also--the numbers and letters coming to life! :-)

Hi Patty, it is sad when art classes have to go because it is not as important as the other subjects. Yes, this does help the children cultivate their right brain and instills so many beautiful lessons like focus, expression, creativity. Sometimes it is even therapy. Thanks for the thumbs up and for recommending this hub in facebook. It made me so happy. :-)

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 10, 2009:

Hi Gypsy, you are so right. Four year olds can already grasp a pencil or crayon without much difficulty so I hope he will enjoy making his stick figures and maybe tell you a story too.. :-)

Hi rb, it's not? Hmmm I didn't know that. Well, maybe the schools can include it in the children's day to day activities. There is much benefit in the arts. :-) Regards...

Hi Princessa, yes it does keep them entertained for hours, that is so true!!! Wow that must be nice to be exposed already to paintings of great artists. In our preschool, we make sure we post the kids artworks in the bulletin boards or in the classroom walls. :-)

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on June 09, 2009:

Drawing is always a great skill to encourage with young ones.

Dottie1 from MA, USA on June 09, 2009:

I used to get the "how to draw" books from the library for my daughter before she started school.  Not only did she learn to draw well but she made up stories along with her pictures. 

When she was in the first grade I bought a drawing kit from the learning express store where you draw and write a story.  A company called Chimeric then takes the pictures and story and publishes it into a hardcover book. 

The book Tracey had published is called "The Greedy Sisters" published in 1996 and dedicated to her mom, dad, and brother!  There is also a page in the back about the author Tracey Lynn Dillon, age 6. 

In ending it says "For fun, Tracey loves to eat cake and candy.  She also loves to write and draw stories."  It is sooo cute.  Hey maybe this will make for a cute hub! lol.

Thanks ripplemaker, I had fun, want to see my drawings? hehe 

Sandria Green-Stewart from Toronto, Canada on June 09, 2009:

Thank you ripplemaker. I showed my 6 year old, your hub and he immediately tried drawing the pictures. He was very excited and he said "This is awesome!" It was very easy to follow.

Thank you for sharing

Sylvia Van Velzer from Hawaii on June 09, 2009:

Fabulous! As an artist, teaching my 4 yr old granddaughter art is an adventure! She's gone from washable crayons, pastel to acrylic. She is so into it, we are so thrilled as a family. This is a wonderful, very useful hub, which i will be sharing with lil Keona.

Al Hawkes from Cornwall on June 09, 2009:

Where did you get the alphabet and number drawings from? Did they do the whole alphabet? Think it would be great for teaching 'the young one ' to spell aswell.

Triplet Mom from West Coast on June 09, 2009:

Oh how fun. I am going to show this hub to my kids they love drawing! Thanks for sharing.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 09, 2009:

I think all children should have art in their lives for a lot of reasons that include heart and soul as well as culture and expression.

Not the most important reason is the fact that art and music prepare the brain to work with math and languages. I could babble on, but will only say that art ion one of my remedial classes we did for middle school youth raised their grade levels in writing and reading by 3-4 grade levels. It made brain connection and I am glad we were not too late. it is a SHAME that art has been cut from most of our local schools to "save money."

I remember a Mickey Mouse how-to drawing kit from when I was about 5 years old - it had similar methods as yours, but your are BETTER! :)

Drawing pencils and thumbs up!

Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on June 09, 2009:

This is really funny combination of writing and drawing. I like these ideas, letters/numbers just become alive.

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on June 09, 2009:

Hi, this is a really nice/fun hub. I'll need to try using letters and numbers to draw with my little ones; they love drawing and painting, it keeps them entertained for hours.

Here at schools art is a big subject and from a very early age children are encouraged to draw and identify great painters. My daughter's classroom is decorated with Picasso, VanGogh and Dali's prints!

rb11 from Las Vegas on June 09, 2009:

Those are creative ways to combine learning with drawing, it's to bad in this country (US) this basic creative thought development is not higher on the priority scale. Good hub.....Regards

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on June 09, 2009:

Love this hub! I shall use this to draw with my grandson. He is four and just the right age to try the stick and crcle figures. Thanks so much!

Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on June 09, 2009:

Hi Hilly, that is a great point. :-)

Hilly Chism from Holland on June 09, 2009:

Nice hub,anything that encourages children to enjoy art can only be good