Workout Exercise Guide

Browse our illustrated library of at-home and gym exercises for beginners and beyond. discover new exercises to use in your routines and use our workout builder at fit to build your own training plans and reach your fitness goals. personal trainer use our train personal training platform to streamline and grow your business..

  • All muscle groups
  • Glutes & Hip Flexors
  • Middle Back / Lats
  • Neck & Upper Traps
  • Upper Back & Lower Traps
  • Agility Ladder
  • Barbell / EZ-Bar
  • Battle Rope
  • Cable station
  • Climbing Rope
  • Foam roller
  • Gymnastic Rings
  • Kettlebells
  • Medicine ball
  • Powerbag / Sandbag
  • Resistance bands
  • Suspension straps / TRX
  • Swiss / Exercise ball
  • Water Bottles

180 / Twisting Jump Squats

Ab crunch machine, ab roller / wheel rollout / kneeling roll extensions, adductor / adduction inner thigh machine, agility ladder drills, alternate heel touches / lying oblique reach, alternating bodyweight lunges, alternating curtsy lunges, ankle circles / rotations / rolls, ankle pumps, assisted / machine seated tricep dips.

WorkoutLabs Fit Simple Workouts App for Weight Loss and more!

Use our illustrated exercise guide to discover new exercises to try in your workouts , learn which muscle groups different exercises target and how to perform them correctly. The clear images show correct form and the written instructions will guide you through the exercise movement. Want to build your own workouts with these exercises? You can do exactly that and much more with a Fit account. Check it out and start your free trial today!

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exercise drawing with name

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7 Amazing Drawing Exercises For Beginners

Whether it’s blind contour drawing or mixing up your materials, try these fun and inspiring drawing exercises for beginners.

Drawing is a simple creative act that is distinct to our species—one that some might argue humans are hardwired to do. But drawing well is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, and in the beginning, it’s as much about honing observation skills, improving hand-eye coordination, and understanding your artistic tools as it is depicting a specific subject. If you’re just starting to pick up drawing, you’ll have an easier time learning to use perspective, proportion, shading, contour lines, and patterns if you shake off the pressure of drawing “the right way” now.

Here, we’ve rounded up seven drawing exercises designed to help you let go of performance anxiety, connect with your creative side, and develop some basic artistic techniques. Learn to appreciate these practices, and you’ll find that more complex concepts will start to feel like the natural next step. 

Student project Arpi Krikorian

1. Get in the Right Mindset.

A lot of people approach drawing to create something perfect or visually pleasing, only to feel overwhelmed by fear that they won’t succeed. If you haven’t drawn in in a while (or ever), don’t worry. Take a moment to get into the right frame of mind, and you’ll have an easier time tapping into your creative impulses and feeling satisfied with your artistic progress.

Before you begin drawing, take a deep breath and clear your mind of any pressure you may feel to create something that fits a particular standard of “good” or “right.” Making art should be a fun process, not a scary one. Think of your drawings as a series of experiments: Whether or not you like the final product should be an afterthought. Instead, focus on trying something new. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you can create along the way.

exercise drawing with name

Drawing as Self Care

Use art as a tool for healing with illustrator Mari Andrew, who guides students through expressing their feelings through pie charts, illustration, gratitude lists, and more.

2. Test Your Materials.

Before you begin any artistic practice, take a moment to acquaint yourself with the tools of the trade. In this exercise, you’ll handle different types of drawing implements and surface materials to see what you’re most comfortable using. 

Start by gathering a few different kinds of pens, graphite pencils, artists’ charcoal, white chalk, markers, crayons, erasers, and/or colored pencils. You can gather as many or as few drawing tools as you’d like: The more varied your toolkit, the more effective this exercise will be. You’ll also need a few sheets of high-quality drawing paper: You might incorporate sheets with different weights or different teeth, otherwise known as surface textures, to see how those elements affect your drawing. And if you want to get experimental, try involving a surface like canvas or wood. There’s no wrong way to do this exercise, and every trial and error will teach you something new about your preferences.

Next, find a solid surface in a well-lit area where you can sit comfortably and draw for an extended time. Survey the materials you’ve collected and lay them out in front of you. You will be using each for a brief period to help you draw an abstract image.

Your drawing doesn’t have to look like anything in particular. The point of this exercise is to mindfully handle each of your pens, pencils, and other tools on all of your surfaces to see which elements speak to you and what kind of lines they draw. As you begin to mark your surface, ask yourself:

Experiment with your tools for as long as you’d like, and try to go with the flow. Repetitious and abstract drawing helps you develop your hand and create muscle memories that will be useful when you want to develop interesting patterns and textures down the road. The more fun you have, the better you’ll become

3. Draw Blind Contour Images.

Blind contour drawing is a classic way to loosen up creatively and hone your observation skills. In this exercise, you’ll begin to shake up the idea of drawing what you think something should look like. 

First, pick an object with a particularly interesting outline. It could be a small branch of leaves, a children’s toy, or even your hand. Situate yourself so that you have a good view of your subject and can draw comfortably. Set a timer for however long you’d like, and commit to drawing continuously for that increment of time. 

Now comes the tricky part: You are going to attempt to draw your subject without taking your eyes off of it, and without lifting your pen or pencil until you are done.

Start slowly, and pay close attention to the outline of your object. Try to incorporate as many details as you can. When the timer buzzes, look at what you created. Sometimes the results of blind contour drawing exercises can be downright funny, but the more time you spend closely observing your subject, the more you’ll train your eye. Soon, you’ll be confident creating the kinds of lines you’ll need for more advanced contour drawing.

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Explore Blind Contour and More

Allow illustrator Ryan Putnam to guide you through quirky—yet effective—artistic exercises.

4. Draw Upside Down.

It may feel a little bit silly, but drawing upside down is another way to shut down the part of your brain that has expectations about what your subject should look like and fire up the part that observes what is there.

First, pick a photograph of an object or person. It should be large enough to have some detail: You want more than just simple geometric shapes, so pick an image that is a little challenging to depict. Set up your image so that you have a good view and can still draw comfortably—the same way you set up your object in exercise three. Then, turn the photograph upside down and start to draw it as if it existed that way. Incorporate as much as you can and take as long as you’d like. Don’t turn the photo (or your drawing) to be right-side-up until you are sure that you’re finished.

Did you spot elements that you might have missed if you weren’t working upside down? Shaking up context like this can train your eye to notice details—and your hand to follow suit. Strengthen your basic techniques with this exercise now, and you’ll recognize your progress when you begin to tackle more complex tasks like one-, two-, and three-point perspectives.

5. Draw with your Nondominant Hand.

In this exercise, attempt to draw with your non-dominant hand: If you are right-handed, draw with your left hand, and vice versa.

Find a small object that you want to illustrate. Try to choose something that has interesting shapes and shadows, but isn’t too complex: a few pieces of fruit, a bowl of eggs, or simple flowers in a vase would all be excellent options.

Set up your subject in a well-lit place where you can observe it closely and still work comfortably. Then, take your non-dominant hand and, taking careful note of the lines, shapes, and shadows that you see, begin to draw your subject as realistically as you can.

Remember: It’s supposed to be hard. The point of this exercise is to stimulate your brain with a new challenge and jump-start your curiosity, visual acumen, memory, and creativity. If nothing else, it’ll certainly help you shake off the pressure of perfectionism. 

exercise drawing with name

How to Draw A Face

Learn the basics of drawing eyes, noses, mouths, and other facial features.

6. Draw a Self-Portrait with Your Eyes Closed.

Find a comfortable chair where you can work. Sit up straight, connect your pen or pencil to the paper, and close your eyes. With your non-dominant hand, touch your face. Feel the different textures that make up your cheeks, the skin around your eyes, your eyebrows, nose, mouth, and chin. Think about how each aspect of your face relates to one another. How much space do you have between your hairline and the corner of your eye? Is your jawline square, round or pointy? Is it wider or narrower than your cheekbones? Is it wider or narrower than my forehead?

Now, with your non-dominant hand still exploring your face and your eyes closed, begin to draw a self-portrait without lifting your pencil or pen from the paper. Don’t open your eyes or lift your drawing implement until you are confident that your work is finished.

Do you recognize yourself? It’s okay if your drawing doesn’t look realistic. Drawing your self-portrait with your eyes closed helps you to better understand the proportions of your face, a key way to improve your ability to draw realistically as you develop as an artist. 

Student project by Charvi Vyas

7. Explore Negative Space

For this exercise, you’ll need a soft graphite pencil or piece of artist’s charcoal, some large paper, and a rubber eraser. You’ll also need a small object, like an egg, and a bright light, like a flashlight, that you can use to “spotlight” your subject.

Take your graphite pencil or charcoal and “shade” your paper by dragging it in wide, overlapping stripes until the entire page is light to mid-gray. Next, turn off most of the lights around you, keeping only enough light for you to see the paper. Turn on the spotlight and position it so that it hits your subject in an interesting way. Then, take a moment to look at how the light pools and spills around your subject. Ask yourself: Are some light areas brighter than others? Are some shadow areas darker? Does the light land in one particular spot, or highlight multiple parts of the object’s surface?

Render all of the light you see by “drawing” with your eraser on your graphite-covered page. When you finish, you should have a collection of light spots that realistically depict the brightest parts of the subject you’re working with. Now, take the charcoal or pencil and add more shading to the very darkest areas of your subject. Be careful and observant—you only want to add shadow where it really exists, not just where you think it should.

This exercise helps you learn about highlights and shadows as well as negative and positive space. This understanding will be important as you begin to render objects in three dimensions and strive to create more interesting and dynamic compositions.

exercise drawing with name

Negative Space, Drawing Shapes, and More

Join portrait artist Gabrielle Brickey as she walks through basic exercises for artists.

Continuing Your Art Education

Whether you’re a beginner looking to loosen up or an experienced artist hoping to shake off a rut, these seven drawing exercises will help you get creative and develop your skills. Keep these up, practice regularly, and enjoy the process. Becoming immersed in a creative task can clarify your thoughts, flood your brain with positive chemicals, and relieve stress or anxiety. That means that as long as your drawing practice is fun and interesting, you’re already well on your way to being the best artist (and human) you can be.

Written by:

Dacey Orr Sivewright

Your creative journey starts here..

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7 Fun Drawing Games That Challenge You to Flex Your Creativity Muscles

Drawing Games

Hand drawing by Ton-Ton /

It’s no secret that the best way to improve your drawing skills is with a lot of practice. The same goes for flexing your creative muscles. Drawing games offer a fun opportunity to enhance your talents while challenging your imagination. Nowadays, you can play a variety of them on paper, your computer, or on a smartphone.

Drawing games have a long place in art history. The most famous of them is known as the Exquisite Corpse, which was pioneered by the Surrealists in the early 20th century. It was inspired by an old parlor pastime called Consequences, a writing game where players take turns composing sentences on a piece of paper. They then conceal parts of it and pass it along. The term “exquisite corpse” originated from when the Surrealists first played Consequences. There was a phrase written in the game, “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau” (“The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine”).

While the Exquisite Corpse remains popular, be sure to try out some hi-tech drawing games, too. Quick, Draw! is a one-player game that uses machine learning to guess what you’re doodling. The challenge of getting a computer to understand your sketches makes the game endless hours of fun.

See more of our picks for fun drawing games, below.

Drawing Games on Paper

Exquisite corpse.

A post shared by Exquisite Corpse (@exquisitecorpsebook) on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:07pm PDT

The Exquisite Corpse game was started by the  Surrealists  in the 20th century, and there’s a reason why it’s lived on—it’s endless fun. With a group of friends, grab a sheet of paper (or another drawing surface) and have one person start drawing. (Don’t let anyone else see!) Afterward, fold the paper (or cover it up) so that the next drawer can only see a couple of guiding lines for what the previous person has done. Then, repeat this until everyone has drawn. Unfold to reveal the entire drawing.

Play this game through the Exquisite Corpse Book , which is specially tailored to the drawing activity.

Paper Telephone

This game involves drawing and writing. Start with a piece of paper and a pencil and write a sentence. Then, pass the paper to the next person. They draw what the sentence says. When they’re done, fold over the original sentence so it’s not visible anymore and just the drawing remains. Give the paper to someone else, who writes a sentence about the drawing. Repeat this sequence until the paper is full, and then unfold to see the results! (Alternatively, there’s an easy-to-use “board game” version called Telestrations that includes flippable drawing pads.)

Blind Contour

A post shared by PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW (@somepeopleidontknow) on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:42am PDT

A blind contour drawing is where you sketch while only looking at your subject (no peeking at your paper) and keeping your utensil on the paper. For this quick yet amusing game, pair with a partner and at the same time, draw one another using this technique. Compare artworks afterward!

Making Sense of Scribbles

Drawing Games

Chaotic hand drawn scribble by Shawn Hempel /

What do you see in scribbles? To play this game, start with one person scribbling on a piece of paper with their eyes closed. The other person then must use their scribbles as the starting point for a drawing. This game works best with a partner, but more than two people are welcome to play.

Free Drawing Games Online

Quick, draw.

Fun Drawing Games

Screenshot: Quick, Draw!

Quick, Draw!  is a game that challenges a neural network to recognize doodling. Made with Google, you are given drawing prompts to sketch in less than 20 seconds, all while a computer tries to guess the subject. In doing this, you’re adding to the “world’s largest doodling dataset” and helping with machine learning research.

Draw Something

Drawing Games Online

Screenshot: Draw Something

Similar to Quick, Draw!, Draw Something is a guessing game. But instead of playing with a computer, you’re playing against friends. Select a word, draw it, and watch as your friends try and guess the correct answer. The app is available on iOS and Android.

Draw a Stickman

Drawing Games

Screenshot: Draw a Stickman

The premise of Draw a Stickman starts out simply by having you digitally sketch a stick person. But upon playing, you’ll discover that this game involves much more than the initial prompt. Formatted like an action adventure game, you help to move the story by continuing to draw things for your stick character like a balloon and sword.

Have fun playing these drawing games and good luck!

This post may contain affiliate links. if you make a purchase, my modern met may earn an affiliate commission. please read our disclosure for more info., related articles:.

New to Drawing? Make Sure You Know These Basic Techniques Before You Start

20 Inspiring Works of Art Made Using Innovative Markers and Colored Pencils

15+ Sketchbook Spreads That Will Inspire You to Get Drawing

6 of the Best Drawing Inks for Calligraphers, Artists, and Beyond

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5 Art Exercises to Boost Your Creativity (even if you’re non-artistic)

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Looking for Art Exercises to boost your creativity and loosen up a bit even though you can’t draw? I got you covered! This blog post will address 5 fun Art Exercises to Boost Your Creativity and Improve Your Drawing Skills even if you’re non-artistic . 

These 5 Art Exercises will not only help s harpen your observation and boost your creativity , but will also teach you how to maintain a good mind-hand coordination .

1-       Doodle monsters

This Art Exercise tops the list for a reason. To do this Art Exercise you don’t have to be an artist, you don’t have to know how to draw at all, and it’s a great way for non artists as well to practice visual thinking and imagination skills. For artists, it will help you let go of expectations and perfectionism.

Let’s get started together:

( Warning: the drawings included are for demonstrative purposes only. Don’t copy them. Get creative 😉 )

1- Draw a free shape

Let it be as random as possible.

exercise drawing with name

2- Turn on your imagination

Answer these questions:

Is it brave? soft? feminine? edgy?… 

Do you imagine it being Angry? happy? calm? excited?…

(I’m deciding to make mine feminine, fun and happy)

3- Start drawing

Add the eyes, mouth, extras (hands, legs, horns, tail….).

exercise drawing with name

Congratulations! You have just created an original character of your own.

It’s time now to experiment and have more fun starting with coffee or paint smudges instead of random shapes.

exercise drawing with name

 2-      Blind contour exercise

This art exercise is great if you want to develop eye-hand coordination and sharpen your observation . It also brings you to look at objects from an artist’s point of view. And if done properly, it feels just like meditation, a great opportunity to slow down and be in the moment!

This drawing exercise is not only for artists but also for anyone willing to try it.

To get started, you need to follow three basic rules: 

0 – Choose an object to draw.

exercise drawing with name

1 – Place your pen on the starting point.

2- start drawing without looking at the paper, keep your eyes on the object you’re copying., 3- don’t lift your pen..

Say bye to your inner critic and have fun. 

–          Optional: if you want to upgrade the challenge, use your non-dominant hand.

3-       Find the art element

Do you remember when we talked about The 7 Art Elements and why it is necessary to learn about them?

Nah? Check it right here 

Now this is a very simple art exercise that will make your observation skills go from 0 to 10, only by following these two steps only:

1- Pick a painting of your choice and print it.

I chose this one by: Anna Maiko

2- Try to find as many art elements as you possibly can.

3 -name the art elements., 4- how is each art element giving character to the painting. , 4-   upside-down drawing.

This exercise is for artists , and it’s an excellent way to improve your drawing accuracy.

What you need for this drawing exercise is: 

exercise drawing with name

You can use one of your own line drawings or search the internet for a line drawing image. You can also use the same one I used here. 

Note that the line drawing should be smaller than your A4 paper.

1- Draw a rectangular frame around the drawing to enclose it, then flip it over. 

exercise drawing with name

2- Now create a frame the same size on the blank A4 paper.

exercise drawing with name

Next, observe the shapes in the upside-down line drawing for a moment.

3- Firstly, draw them inside your frame.

Be careful where the lines cross and where they touch the frame’s sides. Don’t try to decipher the shapes; simply draw what you see .

exercise drawing with name

After that, turn both the reference drawing and your own drawing the correct way up. Take a look at the outcome.

The result should be a rather exact replica of the drawing you were copying. In fact, you might discover that your drawing is more precise than usual.

exercise drawing with name

This is likely to happen because of one reason: when we look at a familiar thing and start drawing it, we often have to choose between portraying what is actually there and what our brain tells us should be there. While drawing something upside down , the interference of our brain is turned off, allowing us to easily copy and draw what we’re really seeing.

5-       Shitty art challenge

Last but not least, this art exercise is for my fellow aspiring artists who are willing to commit and keep up with habits that would change their attitude towards art and creating.

This art exercise consists of intentionally creating “ugly art” to teach your brain to remove the pressure of creating great, aesthetically pleasing art, and to focus on having fun instead. Practicing this art exercise daily creates a habit of less judging, no comparing, and boosts creativity along the way .

exercise drawing with name

See? Art will never look ugly! Not even if you create it with the intention to make it ugly. So stop judging and underestimating your own art just because you created it.

In this blog post I suggested 5 art exercises to help you boost your creativity, improve your drawing skills and have fun learning:

Beyond making art, drawing, and painting, being creative is all about leaving your comfort zone and adopting new habits to challenge your mind and ideas. Enjoy learning and creating.

Question : Which of these exercises will you first try? 

Let me know in the comments below and feel free to DM me on any of my Social Media platform.

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Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t know then its up to other people that they will help, so here it takes place.

It’s definitely useful to seek feedback from others. Just make sure they’re not trolls (someone who isn’t interested in improving your work and only wanna throw hateful negative critiques)

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30+ Creative Art Therapy Exercises (with Pictures)

Check out our list of 30+ art therapy exercises for adults, teens and children. new ideas aren't easy to come by, so we've collected the best for you here..

Art Therapy Exercises for Adults

Art therapy is the practice of using creative expression to help create a sense of inner equanimity and peace. The practice can be used to soften trauma, to assuage anxiety, reduce depression, and boost self-esteem. The best part is: you don't have to be a trained artist to enjoy it. Art therapy is available to all, and helps foster a deeper connection to the self. The practice of art therapy has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, which makes sense in conjunction with depression rates rising.

But you don't have to be suffering to enjoy art therapy, it makes for wonderful outlet to reduce stress and find relief, no matter the circumstances. But where does one start with art therapy? We compiled an extensive list of excellent activities to introduce you into the world of art therapy. So grab your supplies, and dive into this expressive world of healing.

5 Art Therapy Group Ideas

1. blind contour drawing.

Supplies:  Paper, pens, pencils, drawing boards or table.

Description: Split the group into pairs, inviting the coupled-off participants to sit across from one another. Ensure all participants have a pen and paper. Everyone in the group then draws their partner, but without looking down at the page. While drawing, you can keep your pen on the paper the entire time, or you can lift the marker, "blindly" estimating the gap between features. Even though it might be tempting to look down, practice resisting the urge, keeping your gaze on what's really in front of you.

Pro tip: It's more fun to instruct everyone to wait to look down until all members have finished their drawing to allow for a grand reveal.

Goals & discussion reflection:  This exercise will not only likely get plenty of laughs, but also will challenge and improve participant's artistic ability to see. See if you can remain mindful throughout, noticing any discomfort that may arise, or any anxiety around wanting to make sure the picture looks good, and let it all go in the name of truly observing. We observe our partner, and we observe ourself. These works can oddly capture the essence of the subject, but give us a wonderful chance to truly see. When creating art based on a reference, we often get stuck looking at our page. If we can train our brains to spend more time looking at the subject, we will be able to uncover all of the details and translate that into our work. This exercise thus makes a great warm-up, and is a fun way to get into the creative flow.

2. The Five Senses

Supplies: Variety of objects for inspiration, and art supplies like crayons, markers, pastels, paper, etc.

Description:  Find objects that encapsulate all of the senses. The classic example is a cracker or chip: it has a unique sound when biting into it, a flavor, you can feel the texture, looks get the idea. Try to source objects that have vibrant expressions to the senses that include some contrast (maybe some are soft like a bag of flower, or somewhere in middle like cookie dough). Suggest group members select one of the objects an d spend a few minutes with it. Allow them to experience every sense as a focal point. Then, everyone draws their object using color and shape, keeping in mind the feeling the object invokes as they create.

Goals & reflection:  There's more to this exercise than meets the eye...ear, nose, hands and mouth. Bad jokes aside, you're truly able to isolate the experience of a singular sense input. This usually inspires energy that translate to creative output, and instantly brings us into a space of mindfulness. In order to be present with our senses, we must be in the here and now. Ask people which sense they focused on most. And something else magical tends to happen with this exercise, when we focus on one thing, our mind softens and releases stress. It's a stark contrast to the everyday obsession of all the to-dos.

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3. Bank of Affirmations

Supplies: One box or container per person. Square tissue boxes work perfectly, but you can use other wooden boxes, recycled containers, or even jars. Next, get all the decorating supplies you would enjoy using. This can be sequins, paint, scrapbook stickers, pencils, markers, sharpies, glitter, buttons, etc. You might type up the affirmations, you might write them on sticky notes, or perhaps on slips of paper you cut out with scissors.

Description: Ask everyone to write down a list of affirmations they want to embody or adopt as their own belief. Everyone can read their list out loud, and provide time for the group to add any new ones that may have come as inspiration from another person's list. Then, let everyone write their affirmation and decorate the cards to put in their decorated "bank". This exercise works well if everyone has 52, one for each week of the year to withdraw an affirmation.

Feeling stuck? We even have an extensive list of incredible affirmations, just email us to get a copy of it (masterpeacebox @! 

Goals & reflection:  This exercise provides the opportunity to reflect on your intentions and what values you want to start focusing on. While it certainly can work as an exercise for individuals, we think it's more powerful done with others to foster that sense of accountability that a group creates. Invite everyone to reflect on the power of belief

group cake decorating as art therapy

4. Group Cake Decorating

Supplies: One plain sheet cake per group (group can be broken into teams, which requires multiple cakes), plastic spatula, icing, sprinkles or any other cake decorating materials (this could even include children's toys...get creative!).

Description:  Wait..I didn't know art therapy could involve cake? Well, now I'm definitely on board! In this exercise, divide the group into teams (usually 3-5 people per cake is enough to get the benefits of teamwork while ensuring everyone gets to play a role). Encourage everyone to pick a theme to start. Probative questions include: is your theme literal or abstract? Are they planning to use symbols or words at all? Have teams collective create a game plan and then let everyone take turns contributing to the overall design.

Goals & reflection:  This exercise is deliciously fun. Something about it always seems to create a positive atmosphere. Socialization, teamwork and cooperation come together with creativity in a beautiful way. Reflect on what themes were chosen and how people felt in the group (did they want to lead, or perhaps did they feel more comfortable letting others decorate).

a portrait of a person who listens to you is a great art therapy idea

5. Who Listens To You

Supplies:  Paper and any drawing supplies (pens, pastels, crayons, markets, etc.)

Description:  This exercise is pretty straightforward, but powerful nonetheless. Ask particpants to draw someone in their life who listens to them. Give them a moment to think about it, and remind them this is someone who makes you feel valued and supported.

Goals & reflection:  As a group, reflect on the importance of communicating with others and having your voice heard. This also allows the group to share beautiful stories, and conjure images of their own support systems, which instantly uplifts the energy in the room. Remind people it doesn't matter much about their artistic ability, rather, it's the feeling and the ensuing meditation on the power of relationships.

5 Art Therapy Ideas For Adult Self-Esteem

Mirror drawing is a powerful practice for self therapy and self observation

1. Mirror Drawing

Supplies: We suggest at least an A3 size of paper, because it will provide you with enough space to keep the drawing of your face true to size. Gather any materials you'd like to create the self-portrait (which can be mix-media): colored pencils, oil pastels, charcoal, paint, etc.

Description:  Your task is to draw yourself. Set up your mirror so you can see yourself clearly, making sure your mirror is large enough to allow for this. Make sure you are physically comfortable and strained to see your reflection. Begin by breathing. Let your eyes observe the light, shadow, form, texture and lines of your features, without judgement. Try to view yourself like this is the first time you are seeing the image. Then begin by drawing from the inside and working your way out (this will help you not mis-judge the size of features, resulting in a squished face). You can play with duration and time intervals, giving yourself two, five, ten or twenty minutes to complete the same exercise. Or, perhaps, make this a long-term project. We suggest at least starting out with a few quicker, short sketch warmups. This will help get the energy moving and keep you from obsessing over getting the details perfect.

Goals & reflection: As you work on your portrait, try to get absorbed in the moment of creating. Remind yourself of all of your unique qualities. Refrain from judging, perhaps noticing if those thoughts come up (we don't ignore the thoughts, but we also don't indulge them). Reflect on the miracle of being human, and wish yourself peace in the enjoyment of being human.

visualizing stress release

2. Visualize Release

Supplies: Soothing music, any drawing materials, paper

Description: Play relaxing background music and let yourself start to get visualize stress releasing. Start to slow down your breathing, and allow the breath to become the focal point of your awareness. Now start to imagine all that you are breathing out, perhaps exhaling fear, anger, stress, etc. Or, maybe you're letting out love and light. Whatever you are releasing in order to relax. Think about color, texture, size and shape. Now draw what you breathed out. You can use any type of form or design to depict the feelings and thoughts.

Goals & reflection: Reflect on the experience of relaxation. Notice what emotions seem to come alive in the artwork. With this practice, you'll start to become more in-tune with your inner state, being able to visualize stress and give it color and shape and a way to express itself. Through this, we can detach from the stress. Stress is just an experience passing through. It's not who you are deep down. Hopefully, you'll gain a better understanding of yourself and your feelings through this art therapy technique.

clay faces representing self esteem

3. Self Esteem in Clay

Supplies: Any type of clay

Description: Work to create different representations of what self-esteem means to you in clay. Perhaps you create different versions of yourself across time, to show growth or what it means to step into a good space. Or, maybe you focus on creating a representation of yourself and other representations of the insecurities that block you from being your ideal self.

Goals & reflection : Notice how you see yourself in your mind. How do you portray yourself with the clay? What traits do you highlight? If you chose to work with representations of insecurities, is it helpful to see these as outside of you? How do they look? 

drawing your armour to visualise your defences against the outside world

4. Draw your armor

Supplies:  Crayons, markers, paper, pastels, pencils, etc.

Description:  Think about what protects you. Reflect on what outside forces are interfering with you. What is your armor? How does it look? Create a piece based on your own armor. It can be literal or abstract.

Goals & reflection:  Reflect on what your defenses are and what are the reasons you have them in place. Do you lash out? Distance yourself? Hide? Yell? Explore your visual representation of armor: is it large or small? Bright or dark? The goal is to start to break down one's defenses and start to gain a deeper sense of self in the awareness of your own defense mechanisms.

a collage of faces

5. Smile Collage

Supplies: Glue-sticks, magazines, photographs, newspaper, scissors, mixed-media

Description:  Make a collage of all the things that make you smile, or perhaps of smiles themselves. Think of a variety of sources to gather your images. Bring to mind your own joy throughout this entire process. Does it feel contagious to spend hours looking at smiles? Do you feel elevated looking at things that make you smile? 

Goals & reflection: Reflect on what truly makes you happy and brings you joy. Let this serve as a totem, a reminder, and something to spark joy when you need it most. The goal here is to reconnect with your own deepest desires, the things that are inherent and part of what makes you you.

5 art therapy ideas for adult depression

self drawing before and after a body scan

1. Body Scan

Supplies: Any drawing materials and paper

Description:  Complete a mindful full-body scan. Close your eyes, and start to visualize relaxation melting all the way down your body, from the scalp to the eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, jaw, neck, shoulders, etc. Scan all through every part of the body, mentally seeing these parts starting to release and relax. Feel free to play calming music during this exercise. Take either two sheets of paper or one sheet folded in half and draw yourself before and after the body scan.

Goals & reflection:  See how your piece may represent the process of relaxation. It may also be a nice reminder of the fact that we can in fact regulate our mood. This exercise will highlight the importance of learning how to self-soothe.

2. Papier Mache Masks

Supplies: Papier mache paste (3 or more cups of flower, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup salt, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, with the option to add food coloring). We suggest newspaper or a drop cloth to mitigate mess on your workspace surface. For constructing, you'll need the finished paste, balloon and strips of newspaper. For decorating, consider fabric, feathers, collage materials, etc.

Description:  Blow up the balloon and cut out strips of newspaper. Dip the strips into the paste and place them to cover the space needed to make a mask (roughly 3/4th the way around). Let it dry for about 24 hours (more if still not hardened). Then, pop the balloon and cut out eye and mouth holes to make the hardened papier mache resemble a mask. If you'd like, you can start decorating as is, or you can create nose, lip and eyebrows (elevated features) by soaking paper towels in the mache paste and molding the features like clay. After this is dry, you can decorate any way you see fit.

Goals & reflection:  Explore the idea of self-image. What masks you might put on in your daily life? Need inspiration? Watch the Ted Talk above to see how these masks can really work to bring you healing. Reflect on your feelings as you create and decorate you mask. See how you feel at the end.

THERE'S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK - By Portia Nelson "Chapter 1 I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. Chapter 2 I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend that I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. Chapter 3 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. Chapter 4 I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Chapter 5 I walk down another street."

3. Reflection of "The Hole"

Supplies: Paper, crayons, markers, pens, pastels, etc.

Description:  Read the above poem entitled "The Hole, An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" by Portia Nelson (1993). Rest in a moment of silence to let the poem sink in. Then try one of these artistic reflection exercises: 

Goals & reflection:  One of the goals of this exercise is problem solving. Think about how you process your depression. Do you repeatedly walk down paths you know you shouldn't? Are you self-sabotaging? Don't get judgmental, but stay inquisitive of what are your habits around your depression. This exercise also gives you a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how you are trying to overcome the problems, and remind yourself that you are in fact working toward happiness.

the act of drawing your depression can help you get the energy of the depression out of you

4. Draw Your Depression

Supplies: This exercise can really be performed with any artistic medium. Consider pens and pencils, markers, paint, canvas, paper, etc.

Description:  We suggest starting with a brief meditation or mindful check-in . Then, when you are a bit more relaxed, reflect on the experience of your depression. Now, draw or paint a visual representation of that depression. You can be literal or abstract, just stay connected to capturing the feeling.

Goals & reflection:  The goal is to get the energy of the depression out of you. It's helpful to see it visualized, further distinguishing it, separating the depression from who you truly are. We can start to see it as an experience and we can reflect on what we do in the moments when it arises, how we cope, and that there are moments when it isn't present. You'll gain some self-awareness and a sense of control when you see the image on the outside, subject to analysis.

5. The Worry Tree

Supplies: Drawing paper and materials (markers, pastels, crayons, pens, etc.)

Description:  Draw an outline of a tree without leaves. You can also print out an outline of a tree if you prefer not to draw it. Then, use words, symbols, figures, shapes to capture the essence of your worries and concerns and place them where the leaves would be.

Goals & reflection:  This exercise is helpful in expressing problems. It helps us get that energy out of the body. Notice the personality of this tree. What is the width, height, liveliness, and any other qualities of the tree. Is it crooked? Is it ominous? Is there a root system? Can you reflect and trace back to the roots, thinking about the causes of the worries that are in bloom? 

5 Expressive Art Therapy Ideas

An example of a mindful mandala

1. Mindful Mandala

Supplies: Drawing paper, colored pencils work really nicely, or any other drawing supplies.

Description:  A mandala is a concentric geometric pattern. It is often used to represent the metaphysical or cosmological landscapes. Luckily, there are a million mandala coloring books to choose from these days. You can also create your own, starting from the center and making your way out, adding symmetric designs. Or, you can grab a paper plate and draw the outside of a circle and work your way toward the middle. Try to let the drawing reveal itself as you enter a flow state, not needing to plan too much ahead.

Goals & reflection:  This is a wonderfully expressive exercise and opportunity to hone in a state a focus. Notice how you feel before and after, and let yourself create anything you desire. You'll likely enter a soothing space of enjoying the moment.

mindful art workshop

2. Meditation Painting

Supplies: Canvas, paint, paintbrush, cup of water, paper towels, protective cloth or newspaper.

Description:  Perhaps start with a light breathwork exercise to start to transition out of your busy day into a state of mindfulness. Then, similar to the mandala exercise, allow the painting to reveal itself. Don't force anything. See what emerges and move in whatever way feels good even if it doesn't feel like it looks good. Want a little guided meditation to play? We crated one a while back to guide you through a mindful painting process, check it out here.

Goals & reflection:  Express yourself without falling into the criticism or praise of your work. Just be. You'll enter a soothing meditative space of flowing with the moment. And the process is a cathartic transfer of energy. Bringing the inner world out, and giving it form, without having to explain it in words or with logic. Trust the process, and mindfully check in at the end to see how you feel. Notice any shifts.

3. Paint Flicking

Supplies: Canvas or paper, acrylic or tempera paints, paintbrush (or can be done with old toothbrush), water, container or cardboard box. Plastic drop-cloths highly recommended.

Description:  Set up a protected area with the plastic drop-cloths and container or cardboard box. If you are using a cardboard box, cut out the top and one side and place it on top of the drop-cloths. Now place paper or canvas on the bottom of the box. Flick paint onto the canvas in a controlled manner (you can strike the paintbrush against your other hand). Let loose and have fun!

Goals & reflection:  How did this feel? Did you feel a sense of freedom? What emotions came up while creating the piece? Can you think of a title? This method is great for releasing anger, or energizing yourself out of a state of apathy. It's expressive, kinetic, and creates beautiful artwork.

experiment with tape art as a way being creative

4. Designs with Tape

Supplies: Canvas or thin cardboard, masking tape, markers, crayons, pastels, paints, magazine photos, glue, scissors, etc.

Description:  Use the masking tape to create different sizes and shapes across the cardboard or canvas. This is going to create negative space on your piece. So, you'll then want to draw or paint on the canvas. Then, remove the tape and see what designs emerge. You can now go back and fill in the empty space with new designs if you so choose.

Goals & reflection:  This activity pushes you to experiment. Reflect on if you felt the urge to fill the entire space of the canvas, or if you were comfortable with the negative space. Overall, the main objective here is to express yourself. So let go of any judgements, and get creative.

playing with clay is therapeutic try it and create something expressive and unique

5. Clay Time

Supplies: Any type of artistic clay.

Description:  Start by kneading the clay, visualizing it as a stress-ball of sorts, melting away any tension. Bring mindful awareness to the sensations of the clay, noticing the texture and temperature. Create amorphous shapes with the clay. This is abstract, and there are no right or wrong approaches.

Goals & reflection:  Were you tempted to create something representational? How did it feel to mindfully work with the clay? Do you feel more relaxed? Goals include trusting the intuition and boosting creative confidence through experimentation.

5 Art Therapy Ideas for Children

a childs drawing of their pet

1. Draw a Pet

Supplies: Any drawing materials and paper.

Description:  Your child may already do this by nature, but invite your kid to draw a pet, real or imaginary, current or of the past. Introduce probing questions to help the child bring the pet to life: ask what the pet liked to do, any toys it had, how it would move, etc.

Goals & reflection:  Ask the child to think about what that pet means to him or her. This is  a great way to facilitate a moment around positivity and love, and proves a great chance to reflect on relationships.

a mood pyramid

2. Color Mood Pyramid

Supplies: Paints and a canvas or paper.

Description:  Ask the kids to draw a large pyramid or triangle. Then, have the participants fill in the triangle with colors that represent their different moods. Have them start with colors that represent negative moods and gradually fade into a representation of positive feelings. The top can hold the brightest most positive color and mood.

Goals & reflection: Take note of if anyone asks why is the sad mood at the bottom. Let them know they can recreate again if they feel it is more suitable to have the happy emotions at the base. The goal of the exercise is to give kids a chance to see how their moods change, and reflect on what behaviors happen in those moods.

a famous kids therapy approach is to have them draw themselves as a superhero

3. Draw Yourself As a Superhero

Supplies: Paper and any drawing materials.

Description:  Chat with the children about superheroes. Now, ask the kids to reflect on the strengths of those heros, and then ask them about their own unique strengths. Then, invite the kids to draw themselves as a superhero.

Goals & reflection:  This is a great chance for the child to build self-awareness, reflecting on their own abilities. Think about how the hero helps others. What ways do we give back? This helps the child see that there is an intrinsic element of service in the hero, not necessarily just individual strength.

exercise drawing with name

4. Finger Puppets

Supplies: Glue gun is helpful, gloves, and decorative craft materials, wiggly eyes, (pipe-cleaners, foam, yarn, buttons, feathers, felt, ribbons, etc.)

Description:  If you use a pair of old gloves, you can cut off the fingers and tape or sew the base of the fingers to prevent it from falling apart. Add features and decorations to the puppets. You can dress them with fabric and give them wiggly eyes to come to life.

Goals & reflection:  After the puppets are made, let the kids play with them. Give them a chance to talk about themselves through the puppet, asking what the child's name thinks about certain things. This gives the child the opportunity to express themselves without worry.

a kids collage encourages creativity and problem solving

5. Create A Collage

Supplies:  Scissors, glue sticks, yarn, magazines, coloring books, stickers, paint, pencils, etc.

Description:  This one is beautifully simple: ask the kids to make a collage of things that make them happy. They will have plenty of ideas!

Goals & reflection: This is a great exercise to hold the child's attention, improving their focus, and encouraging them to finish whatever they start. They are also working on self-reflection to think about what brings them joy. A good amount of problem solving goes into the act of puzzling their composition together. This is highly expressive and good for experimentation too.

5 Art Therapy Ideas for Teens

a zentangle creates calm from the chaos you put on a page. Its lures you into a state of flow and creativity.

1. "Zentangle"

Supplies: Black pens, Microns work well. Colored pencils if desired.

Description:  Create a messy line doodle, allowing the lines to overlap in certain areas. Then, fill in certain chunks of your design with a unique pattern. Each section gets a new pattern. You can also use a circularly object, or any other object, and trace it on your page in different overlapping positions. Fill the segments with patterns. If you'd like, you can add color.

Goals & reflection:  This activity will entrance adults, children and teens alike. The goal is to achieve a state of focus and flow. Experiment with patterns, and express yourself freely. Get lost in the act.

2. Words and pictures

Supplies: Sheets of drawing paper, drawing utensils, and index cards with various nouns (nouns work best, as they are concrete: dog, cat, flower, etc.)

Description:  Let everyone in the group write a few nouns onto the index cards. Then, place the index cards face down onto a table. Pass out the drawing paper. One player then picks up an index card and has to draw whatever is written on the card in one minute. You can use your phone to set a timer for one minute, and after the time is up, other members guess what the drawing is. If someone gets it right, the artist and the person who guessed properly get a point. If no one is correct, the artist can either take no points, or get an additional 30 seconds to draw. But, if no one guesses correctly after the additional 30 seconds, the artist subtracts one point from his or her score.

Goals & reflection:  This is a good exercise for group bonding, cooperation, and entertainment.

mimic a famous artist and see what you can create

3. Mimic Famous Artist

Supplies: A reference book or smart phone to pull up images, and any art supplies you have available to recreate pieces inspired by your chosen reference.

Description:  Review the works of a famous artist. Discuss the work of that artist, and get inspired. Using your own style, create a piece inspired by one of their works. For example, if Picasso is the inspiration, perhaps the teen creates surreal portraits.

Goals & reflection:  Notice how everyone has their own unique visual language. Even if they try to recreate or pull inspiration from a renowned artist, their own style always seems to peek through. This is also a great way to educate teens about certain artists in an engaging, interactive setting.

value beads

4. Value beads

Supplies: String, claps, pliers, beads and any other available jewelry making supplies.

Description:  As the group to think about what values they care about. Write out the values and let let a certain type of bead (color, size or shape) represent each value. Make a piece of jewelry inspired by the selection.

Goals & reflection:  This exercise helps facilitate a reflection of what is important to the teen. They can grow a sense of self-awareness and acceptance that their values don't have to be the next person. We can all have our own set of values, and this opens the discussion to show how our values can guide our decisions.

a close up of a macrame plant holder

5. Macramé Play

‍ Supplies: Yarn / rope.

Description:  We suggest using resources like YouTube or Udemy to sharpen your skills with macramé, learning the methods and then creating something fun: a friendship bracelet, earrings, coasters, a plant holder, wall hanging art, etc. The material is forgiving, low mess, and will hold teen's attention for hours. We have our own lesson you can check out too!

Goals & reflection:  This activity is great to challenge critical thinking, problem solving, spatial awareness, dexterity, and focus. You really will be surprised how the kids will lose track of time and get into a mindful state of being with the artistic medium.

Phew! There you have it... A very long list sure to keep you engaged in creativity for days on end! 

exercise drawing with name

12 Drawing Exercises For Improving Your Art Skills

exercise drawing with name

As much as drawing is an art that can come naturally to some people, it is also a craft that can be learned and mastered, even by people who are not necessarily artistic. Basically, as with every other thing, if you must improve and boost your artistic skills, then it is necessary that you work on them by practicing regularly . Practice makes perfect right?

However, practicing your drawing skills is only as important as the exercises you do while practicing. If you keep doing the same drawing exercises daily over a long period of time, there is a chance your skills might improve but not by a large degree. To hone your drawing skills, it is in your best interest to try out as many drawing exercises as possible , as frequently as you can. From the simple ones to the complex ones, each drawing exercise targets and develops different aspects of your artistic skills, and as such, the more exercises you do, the better your drawing skills are developed.

Now let’s get to the drawing exercises.

So to improve your drawing skills, start by drawing something from a different angle, preferably from an angle you’ve never viewed it from before. This way, your brain has no information to work with, allowing your eyes to process what is to be drawn just as it appears. For instance, if you want to draw a chair, instead of going for the normal side view you are used to, try drawing an aerial or upside-down view of the chair . Do this exercise with as many objects as you draw and watch how your drawing improves when there is no preformed images in your head to influence it.

exercise drawing with name

The essence of drawing is to actually draw an object right? Great. Now, have you ever considered not drawing the actual object but the space around it? This is called negative space drawing and it is one of the exercises that can go a long way in sharpening your drawing skills. The negative space around objects are usually ignored as most artists tend to focus on the object to be drawn. This exercise will help you create the form of an object simply by blocking out the space not occupied by the object.

For this lesson, try to be as realistic as possible if you want to get a good rendition of your object. The more you practice negative space drawing, the closer you will get to achieving a perfect rendition of your object. Just remember to pay as much attention to the drawing as to the object you want to draw.

One of the major reasons why artists struggle to draw is as a result of lack of ideas on what to draw. Drawing the same boring and over familiar images will do nothing to improve your skills and nothing to motivate or inspire you as an artist. It becomes a lot easier to draw something when you are working with a fresh idea or inspiration . That is why working with idea generators or word stacks can help you practice your drawings skills.

For idea generators, you can sign up to online art forums where you will receive random drawing prompts on a daily basis (or your preferred frequency) to give you ideas on things to draw. For the word stack exercise, get blank index cards, as many as you like and divide them into 3 equal stacks. For the first stack, write an adjective on every card in the stack. For the second stack, write a noun on every card and for the last stack, write a verb. 

Now, every time you run out of ideas on things to draw, randomly select a card from each of the three stacks and draw whatever image you get from the resulting phrase when the 3 cards are joined together . This exercise is great for artists who tend to feel stuck on ideas of things to draw. No matter what the final product of the image you were able to conjure up looks like, this is an exercise that will sharpen your imaginations to help you improve your drawing skills. 

Drawing people in motion can be intimidating and challenging, especially when you are just starting out. This is exactly why you should take up this lesson. Staying within your comfort zone has never helped anyone who wanted to develop their artistic skills. Drawing figures on the go add a narrative to your sketches that only this technique can . The storytelling element makes your drawing more interesting while effectively honing your drawing skills as well.

Doodling and noodling are two simple drawing exercises that come highly recommended for artists who want to work on their draw skills. To doodle, simple take a pencil and draw on the paper, taking the line in any direction you want . The important thing is to ensure that you end the drawing at the point where you started such that whatever shape you sketch forms, is an enclosed one. The shape you draw is not of importance here, just go with the flow and draw whatever comes to mind. Your lines can be straight, curvy or squiggly, anything you draw is a doodle.

exercise drawing with name

Once you are done doodling, you can then begin to noodle. Noodling simply involves designing your doodle. While doodling is more spontaneous and free, noodling has to be controlled and purposeful. To decorate your doodle, you can use straight or curvy lines, regular or irregular shapes, shading, dotting or any pattern you like . The important thing is to be methodical about your designs, following a clear and precise pattern. These techniques will allow you to experiment with different ideas without trying too hard.

Generally, the first step to drawing is to create an outline of the object to be drawn using simple lines. For this value drawing exercise, you will have to sketch your object without drawing a line . So how do you draw then? Simple. You shade. Just shade out the form of the object until you’ve built up your drawing on the paper or whatever drawing medium you are making use of. Don’t forget to pay attention to your drawing as well as the object to ensure that the shape is coming out perfectly. And if your shading gets too dark, you can always erase out some of it until you get the shade you want. 

exercise drawing with name

You are probably wondering how drawing with your non dominant hand is going to make you a better artist when you are still trying to perfect your drawing skills with your dominant hand. Well, the thing is that with your dominant hand, you have more control over how you draw. Switching the pencil to your non dominant hand takes the control away from you. This exercise allows you to be more loose and free with your lines and drawing in general . It is definitely going to be awkward and you should not expect the final product to be one of your finer works. Nonetheless, practice this exercise as often as you can and whenever you return to your dominant hand, you’ll be surprised at how easier and less restricted drawing will be for you.

exercise drawing with name

The five-minute burn is a drawing exercise designed to boost your instinctive skills as an artist. As the name implies, this exercise takes just 5 minutes. To perform this exercise, take out exactly five minutes to draw anything you see in front of you . It doesn’t necessarily have to be a perfect rendition of the object in view, just capture the basics and forget the details, remember you have only five minutes. This exercise is best when it’s spontaneous, that way, you don’t have to actively search for simple objects. Just draw whatever is there in 5 minutes whenever you feel like and watch how your drawing skills improve.

The essence of this drawing exercise is to bring your focus to the different lines and shapes that make up a drawing instead of viewing the drawing as a whole. While it is a drawing lesson, you will technically not be doing any drawing with this exercise. Simply bend your wire into any shape and line you like, trace out the shapes and lines using your pencil and use them to create the image you want. It might be difficult to get some shapes with the wire but that’s the thing with this wire drawing exercise. The wire is supposed to influence your drawing and not the other way round. This will train you to process shapes and lines to see how they can fit into your drawing .

Like the name implies, in continuous contour line drawing, you draw continuously, without lifting your pencil (or the drawing tool you are using) from the paper you are drawing on. Basically, your drawing will just be one continuous line bent into various shapes . And even if you make mistakes along the way, keep going, erasing out anything takes away from the artistic process. Try to pay as much attention as you can to the object you are drawing so you can guide your hand to follow their curves and angles without taking your pencil off the paper.

exercise drawing with name

If you want to improve on your drawing skills, then the above mentioned 12 drawing exercises will go a long way to improve your skills and boost your confidence as an artist . These lessons are pretty easy and will not take up a lot of time or resources, all you have to do is practice them as often as you can and you will begin to see improvements in your drawing in no time.

exercise drawing with name

Toni Justamante Jacobs

About the author: Hi, I’m Toni Justamante Jacobs. I´m a professional Concept Artist and Illustrator with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. Some of my clients are Gameloft, Fantasy Flight Games, Kunlun Games and Games Workshop. Currently, I´m working at Socialpoint as an in-house Senior Concept Artist.

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100 Art Therapy Exercises: Your Path to Harmony from Artistro | Artistro

100 Art Therapy Ideas & Art Therapy Exercises: Your Path to Harmony from Artistro

Table of Contents:

Simple art therapy techniques, some more creative therapeutic activity ideas, original therapeutic art projects, the magic of therapy drawing, finishing touches from the list of 100 art therapy exercises.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on creativity and self-expression. The approach is used as a means to relieve stress, increase self-esteem and awareness, and for post-traumatic recovery aims. Mostly, other forms of therapy use verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles. On the contrary, art therapy allows for more abstract forms of communication. This tactic involves the manifestation of elements of the subconscious, for which there is no willingness or ability to be voiced.

You don't need to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises do not rely on the end result that you create, but on the therapeutic effect of the ritual of the creative process itself. If you are intrigued by the possibility of relaxation through your artistic imagination, then this list of 100 art therapy exercises is just for you.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

1.The masks art therapy ideas. On the prepared stencils, draw the emotions of those masks that you usually wear. This exercise helps you develop empathy skills, listen to yourself, tell your story on behalf of each mask. 2. What is the feminine and masculine art therapy ideas. This is one of the simplest therapeutic art activities. First, it is discussed in groups how to create a collage on a given topic. During the creative process, the opinions of both groups are taken into account. The exercise expands the understanding of social interaction and human behavior. 3. Drawing yourself art therapy ideas. Draw yourself as a plant or animal are the easiest paint therapy ideas. The exercise helps to know yourself, to open your inner world. 4. Scratching art therapy ideas. Graphic work on a soapy lining is velvety due to the scratching of its surface. This exercise improves fine motor skills, relieves emotional stress. 5. Salt drawings art therapy ideas. If you cover colored paper with glue and salt, you get beautiful snowdrifts. You can also use toothpaste by squeezing it along the outline. This exercise develops fine motor skills.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

6.Wet paint art therapy ideas . A drawing is created when paint is added to a non-dried background and shaded with a sponge or a wide brush. In this way, it is convenient to draw sunrises and sunsets, as well as the coloring of animals. This exercise develops imagination, relieve emotional stress. 7. Splashing art therapy ideas. For the color splashing technique, use a comb, brush, or toothbrush. Bright splashes will help express seasonal changes (leaf color changes, wind direction). This exercise improves creative vision, relieves emotional stress. 8. Egg mosaic art therapy ideas. Add some crushed eggshells in several glasses with multi-colored paint. Draw a picture, sprinkle it with eggshell mosaic. This exercise develops fine motor skills. 9. Monotype art therapy ideas. Spatter the paint onto the glass with water and a brush to form stains. Cover the puddles with clean paper to create a beautiful landscape. The exercise is aimed at developing imagination, creativity. 10. Invisible or Candle art therapy ideas. Drawing Exercise First, paint a magic drawing on a blank sheet of paper with a candle, then wash it with watercolor. Such art therapy activities develop imagination, fine motor skills, relieves emotional stress.

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11. Pair drawing art therapy ideas. Try to create a drawing or applique together without discussing the topic in advance. Talking during the creative process is prohibited. Creating of such therapeutic art projects develops self-regulation, the ability to constructively interact. 12. Walk in the woods art therapy ideas. While listening to music, draw a forest, transferring your feelings from unity with nature. This therapy drawing develops the imagination, helps to discover the inner corners of the soul. 13. Drawing circles art therapy ideas. Several participants at the same table draw circles of any color and size on a large sheet of paper. The middle of the circle is filled with any images, creating a chain from them. Such group art therapy techniques reveal interpersonal and group relationships and offer the potential for building cohesion. 14. A fairy tale of a butterfly and a dream art therapy ideas. Draw your dreams to the sound of music on the silhouette of a butterfly. On one wing, depict the content of your nightmare, and on the other wing, the content of your pleasant dreams. The purpose of such art therapy exercises is to study night fears, to find an inner resource. 15. Spontaneous drawing exercise. Draw an illustration for your favorite fairy tale. The exercise provides an opportunity to become aware of your real experiences.

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16. My planet art therapy ideas. Close your eyes and imagine a planet in space. Draw this planet. This exercise and similar examples of art therapy develop imagination, fine motor skills, relieve emotional stress. 17. The two with one piece of chalk art therapy ideas. This is one of the best therapeutic activity ideas for collaboration. On the board or on the asphalt, the two of you need to draw a picture together with one chalk, alternately passing it from hand to hand. You cannot talk while drawing. The exercise develops cooperation, the ability to work in a team. 18. Drawing on crumpled paper art therapy ideas. Crumple a sheet of paper, tear off the edges in the form of an oval or circle. In the middle, create a drawing on any topic. Exercise trains the imagination, helps to overcome stress. 19. Ink blots and butterflies art therapy ideas. Drip a drop of ink on thin paper and roll it up or fold it in half. Expand the sheet and transform the seen image. The exercise sets you up for reflection, develops imagination and ingenuity. 20. Paint blowing art therapy ideas. Apply paint to a sheet of paper with plenty of water. At the very end of the work, blow color spots through a thin tube, forming droplets, splashes, and color mixing. Try to see the image and transform it. This exercise hones hand coordination, helps to overcome stress.

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21. Drawing with charcoal crayons art therapy ideas. Take charcoal crayons to create this therapy drawing. Use charcoal along with colour pencils or wax crayons. The art therapy ideas of such activities are to relieve emotional stress by immersion in oneself. 22. Doodle art therapy ideas. Let the pencil flutter freely on the paper, draw doodles without any purpose or intention and pass it on to your partner, who must create an image from them and develop it. The exercise helps you immerse yourself in your own world, sets you up for reflection. 23. Draw a mood art therapy ideas. Paint different moods (sad, cheerful, joyful, etc.). The exercise develops empathy. 24. Rainbow art therapy ideas. When doing this, apply each strip with a partner in turn. The exercise develops the emotional world, communication skills. 25. Group drawing in a circle art therapy ideas. Discuss the idea of the future drawing in the group. The picture must be drawn, alternately passing the task to the next participant. Exercise develops empathy, goodwill towards each other.

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26. Drawing with music art therapy ideas. While listening to Vivaldi's 4 Seasons Symphony, paint the landscape in large strokes. Exercise helps relieve emotional stress. 27. Finger drawing art therapy ideas. Draw a plot in the air with your fingers. Your opponent must guess the drawing. The exercise develops imagination, communication skills. 28. Draw your mandala art therapy ideas. Use a pencil to draw a circle with a diameter that matches the size of your head. Find a center and start drawing from it, depicting a specific figure, and let the composition of your drawing form by itself. Mandala exercise relieves stress, fatigue, tension. 29. Magic paint art therapy ideas. Paint a magical land with magical colors. Stir flour, salt, sunflower oil, gouache, water and create a drawing with your hands. Exercise helps to overcome emotional stress, develops imagination. 30. Colors Life Story art therapy ideas. Apply yellow on a sheet of paper, apply blue on top of it. So a new color was born, it's green. The exercise develops sensory abilities and imagination.

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31. Inner world map art therapy ideas. In the likeness of a geographic map, create a map of your inner world. To do this, think about what feelings, states prevail in you ("ocean of love", or "mountain of courage"). Leave the "undiscovered islands" to discover new qualities. The exercise forms an idea of yourself; helps to understand and express your feelings. 32. Envelopes of joy and sorrow art therapy ideas. A lot of different events take place during the day, both joyful and sad. Make two paper envelopes. In one of them, collect your joys, and in the other, hide your sorrows in the form of drawings. The exercise develops the ability to express your feelings in relation to various life situations. 33. Family poster art therapy ideas. Stick the envelope onto a large sheet of A3 paper. Place your family photos that show the brightest events in an envelope. Add a small symbolic drawing to each photo. This exercise brings family members together emotionally and helps to strengthen family values. 34. My emblem art therapy ideas. An emblem is a distinctive sign that depicts a symbol of an idea or person. Use plasticine to make your own emblem. The exercise forms an idea of oneself, awareness of one's interests and aspirations. 35. My family's coat of arms art therapy ideas. Look at family photos. Use generalized knowledge about the history of your family to make the coat of arms of your family. Exercise forms an understanding of family values, strengthens blood ties.

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36. Flower art therapy ideas. Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful flower. What does it look and smell like? Make your own unique flower using colored paper, glue, and scissors. This exercise trains imagination and helps to overcome stress. 37. Cheerful fingers art therapy ideas. Take a piece of paper and gouache. Put your fingers in colorful paints and create a pattern that matches your mood. The goal of such an exercise is to relieve emotional stress, train fine motor skills and imagination. 38. Postcard without addressee art therapy ideas. If emotions or feelings about a person are raging within you, release them in a letter. To enhance the therapeutic effect, draw an additional postcard. The purpose of the exercise is to pour out negative emotions. 39. Collage from a torn painting art therapy ideas. Draw a picture and then tear it apart. Use the pieces of the drawing along with other elements to create a new work as a collage. This exercise unlocks your creativity. 40. Creation of the altar art therapy ideas. Build an altar for someone who is important to you (this could be a deceased relative, your first school love, or a brother with whom you quarreled). Decorate it with shared memories: photos, souvenirs, gifts, letters, and crafts. This activity helps you to understand the value of human relationships, as well as helps to heal wounds and find comfort in difficult times.

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41. Alone in the dark art therapy ideas. Create a drawing in complete darkness. Creative tension comes from criticism and condemnation of the people around. This exercise will allow you to free yourself from perfectionism and enjoy the original creativity. 42. Color your physical condition art therapy ideas. Close your eyes, relax, and listen to your body. Using watercolors, paint your physical sensations: your pulse, breathing. This is your most authentic self-portrait. 43. Zentangle meditation art therapy ideas. Create a series of patterns and repeating ornaments in black and white zenteling technique. Such an activity reveals creative potential, giving the right to a creative mistake: nothing can be erased. 44. Allow yourself a mistake art therapy ideas. Think about the traits you don't like about yourself, the failures or mistakes you have made. Focus on one of these blunders and draw it in your artwork. In this way, you give yourself the right to make a mistake, forgive your being imperfect. 45. Poetic collage art therapy ideas. Cut out inspiring phrases from old letters, newspapers, or brochures and create a collage from them. You don't need to have an initial idea, you can come up with an idea as you create.

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46. Nominal drawing tool art therapy ideas. Come up with your own paint brush. It doesn't matter if you glue the toothpicks to a cardboard base or attach a skein of thread to a pencil. The purpose of the exercise is to free yourself from control over the drawing process. 47. Forgiveness box art therapy ideas. To get rid of negative emotions in relation to a person, you need to forgive him or her. Take any cardboard box and decorate it with calming patterns. You can add a letter or a photo of this person. The purpose of this activity is to create pleasant memories that connect you with this person. 48. Happiness card art therapy ideas. Choose and draw three habits for happiness. The purpose of the exercise is to become aware of your feelings, to understand where to move to improve the quality of your life. 49. My good sides art therapy ideas. To relax, relieve stress and fatigue, you can use light art exercises. Draw your good character traits. 50. Fingerprint art therapy ideas. Contour your hand (palms with fingers) and create unique patterns inside.

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51. Childhood memories art therapy ideas. Draw your childhood memory. This will help relieve stress and fatigue. 52. Happy moments art therapy ideas. Draw an abstraction of the positive moments in your life. 53. Kindness marathon art therapy ideas. Paint a stone or a brick, take part in the Kindness rocks marathon. 54. Collage of leaves art therapy ideas. Collect a collage of leaves, twigs, glue them to paper. Then finish painting the background, draw pictures around them. 55. Imitator art therapy ideas. Create your own interpretation of a famous painting.

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56. Dreams art therapy ideas. Draw your dreams using exactly the shapes and images in which they come to your mind. 57. Drawing with symbols and abstractions art therapy ideas. Use colors, lines, shapes to create images that express your understanding of feelings of guilt, grief, happiness. It is important to discuss the author's reasoning for the choice of color, shape, and composition. 58. The color of my mood art therapy ideas. Each member of the group is invited to walk through a drawn maze and stop in a zone which color matches his or her mood. Further, work is carried out on individual signs (images, symbols) of mood. 59. Image and mood plastic art therapy ideas. Each participant is asked to choose a piece of plasticine of a certain color and give it a suitable shape that is relevant to the topic. Exercise is useful when dealing with aggression, destructive behavior, fears. 60. Series of drawings art therapy ideas. 3-4 art exercises are performed at once. It is necessary to develop the background of the offered drawing: next to it, depict your condition. Don't analyze or criticize your drawings, allow yourself to do whatever you want.

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61. Drawing on wet paper art therapy ideas . Drawing on wet way actualizes the feelings associated with a person's attitude to himself, reflects a person's ability to relax, without control, to accept life as it is. 62. Drawing on crumpled paper art therapy ideas. Drawing on crumpled paper actualizes the topic of relationships with loved ones, growth and overcoming conflict. 63. Drawing on checkered paper art therapy ideas. Drawing on checkered paper actualizes the interaction of a person with the system, with society, finding his vocation. 64. Drawing on torn paper art therapy ideas. Torn paper artwork reflects a person's ability to recover, survive crisis periods, integrate, and change. 65. Drawing a name art therapy ideas. The focus of these therapeutic art projects is on the phenomena of identity and self-acceptance. With a wide brush and oil paint in your hand, write your name so that it takes up as much space as possible. Draw your name on a piece of paper with symbolism.

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66. Visualization art therapy ideas. Visualization exercise Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. The assistant pronounces separate phrases, and you should focus on their content. After that, you need to draw images of the words you heard. 67. Two randoms art therapy ideas. Take a dictionary and pick two random concepts at random. Match them up, come up with a crazy story with these concepts, and draw a picture. These art exercises is great for training the brain and helps develop creativity. 68. Crazy geneticist art therapy ideas. Draw something that combines as many features of all the animals you know as possible. The goal of the therapy drawing is to turn off logic by focusing on creativity. 69. Mad architect exercise. Choose any 10 words. Imagine that you are an architect and your client has set these 10 requirements. While drawing on paper, simultaneously imagine what it might look like in real life. 70. Five plus five art therapy ideas. Pick any noun and draw this object. Now come up with 5 adjectives that suit him and draw them. After that, come up with 5 more adjectives that do not fit, and draw them too.

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71. Naming art therapy ideas. Every time you are interested in an object, come up with a name and artistic symbol for it. Draw the symbol using paints. 72. Working with salt dough art therapy ideas. Such paint therapy ideas transform images, supplement them with new details, destroy and create again. You can mold your fear out of salt dough and destroy it, decorate it, or transform it into something else. 73. Metaphorical self-portrait art therapy ideas. Draw yourself as an object, plant, or animal that you want to be. Then write a short story about it. The therapy drawing develops flexible role-playing behavior, the formation of identity. 74. Day events art therapy ideas. Pick a day you would like to remember and draw its content in every detail. The task is to actualize the feelings; distance from negative events. 75. At the crossroads art therapy ideas. Divide the sheets into several rows, name each row one of the options for your behavior model. Model the result of solving your question in accordance with a certain model after 1 year and draw on the first sheet. Move all 5 rows this way, going further into the future each time. This is suitable for those in a situation of choice in making vital decisions.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

76. Protective amulet art therapy ideas. Collect all kinds of art materials and make yourself a personal amulet to protect you from your fears. The goal is to reduce psycho-emotional stress. 77. Emotional body atlas art therapy ideas. Write down five emotions on a piece of paper: fear, joy, anger, sadness, shame. To the right of the title, you need to make a note with paints of the color with which you associate these emotions. The purpose is to investigate a group of irritants that are most clearly manifested in bodily reactions. 78. The sun art therapy ideas. In the center of the sheet, write the subject (key word), find associations to a word that reveal its meaning. Write down each association and connect it to the word in the center with a line. This is how the sun appears with the rays coming from it, which you need to color. 79. This is me art therapy ideas . Paper and pens are distributed to all participants. Each one comes up with 10 phrases that characterize him or her and depicts it in the form of a picture. The purpose of the exercise is to help the participants get to know each other better, to establish cooperation. 80. What's in your heart art therapy ideas. Take your time, use art materials you like (pencils, crayons, markers, paints) and listen carefully to yourself. Fill the drawn heart with those emotions, feelings, experiences that live in your heart.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

81. The letter of anger art therapy ideas. Spill out on paper with the help of paints all negative emotions in relation to any person or event. This exercise helps to remove negativity and teaches you to understand your emotional state. 82. I'll give the pain to paper art therapy ideas. Use a straw to blow out your pain. Place diluted watercolor paint in a cocktail straw and blow onto a piece of paper. From now on, thoughts of love, not pain, live inside you. 83. Drawing the spasm art therapy ideas. If you are experiencing physical discomfort, draw a picture of the spasm. Completion of the item from separate details, in order to form new images, helps to overcome traumatic psychoemotional conditions. 84. Cast drawing art therapy ideas. One of the simple and effective therapeutic art ideas is liquid paint cast. This exercise makes it possible to blur the meaning of psycho emotional experiences symbolically. cast 85. Depth casts art therapy ideas. Completing monotypic casts on a separate sheet with a search for deep saving meanings is a very effective art therapy crafts.

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86. Colored sheets art therapy ideas. Sketch in any color as many sheets of paper as many negative words you can use to describe the pain. 87. Geometric figures art therapy ideas. Draw your pain in geometric shapes in different color range. 88. My life is like... art therapy ideas . Make a series of pictures on separate sheets. Draw your feelings today. The theme of the drawings: My life is like a road, river, mountain, game, fire. 89. Facets of myself art therapy ideas. Create a collage on the topic "The Facets of My Self" from magazine clippings and newspaper pictures. Draw the missing details. 90. Associations art therapy ideas. On a piece of paper, draw associations for your partner: if he were a color, an object, an animal, a musical composition, then how exactly do you see him or her.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

91. Fell the rhythm art therapy ideas. Play the rhythm of your choice by clapping your hands, tapping the table, clicking, etc. Draw what you feel along the way. When you get used to it, play it in a different way or choose a new rhythm. 92. Plasticine modeling art therapy ideas. Sculpt the image that first comes to your mind. Modeling from plasticine, dough, clay is an effective means of modeling a new self-image, productive relationships, values.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

93. The lacking person art therapy ideas. Remember childhood and draw a lacking person, thanks to whom your life could change for the better. 94. Man and the planet of one's treasures art therapy ideas . From pieces of dough, mold a sculpture of a person and the planet of his treasures. Place the sculpture in paper space (the universe). Paint the dried sculpture. The goal of such art therapy activities is to reflect and analyze your behavior. 95. The letter from the future art therapy ideas. Come up with a fictional written message to yourself from yourself from the future detailing the life you want. The drawing will complement the effect perfectly.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

96. Feeling to feeling art therapy ideas. Draw your feeling at the very moment (type, shape, color is determined by you). In each subsequent part of the sheet, it is necessary to draw an image of feeling in relation to the previous drawing. 97. Five wishes art therapy ideas. Write your wishes on 5 sheets. Choose the color and composition of the picture for each of them. The main thing is that the color combination matches your idea of the very desire. 98. Acceptance art therapy ideas. Cut the completed abstract drawing from a magazine or newspaper into pieces of any shape. A fragment of someone else's drawing must be integrated into your work. Glue the collage and paint the rest. 99. Reference geometric shapes art therapy ideas. Draw a circle around the point in the center of the sheet and continue spinning in a circle for one minute. In the same way, inscribe the star in the circle. Monitor your sensations as you exercise. 100. My house art therapy ideas. List all of your relatives on a piece of paper. Draw a house and place your family inside it. The goal of such art therapy techniques is to diagnose family relationships.

art therapy ideas-art therapy exercises- art therapy prompts- art therapy techniques- art therapy examples-therapeutic art-therapeutic activities- art therapy  projects

We offer to consider 100 simple exercises that will help you explore your inner self and unleash your creative potential. Perhaps not all of them will be useful or convenient to use specifically for you, but at least some of the list you can use on an ongoing basis. These simple art therapy techniques will help you open up new facets of yourself, as well as release stress, tension, and just relax after a hard working day.

How did you like our art therapy techniques? Which exercise did you remember the most

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How to Layer Acrylic Paint on canvas

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Simple Drawing (Or Painting) Exercises You Can Do Every Day

If you want to improve your drawing skills, then I believe it is important that you put in regular practice (daily if possible). In a previous post, I wrote about how I was doing daily gesture drawings . I have continued with this practice and it has greatly improved my instinctive drawing skills and understanding of the human form.

In this post, I discuss some other simple drawing exercises which you can do every day, no matter what your skill level is. These exercises do not require much time or resources, but you will improve if you stick to doing them regularly.

These exercises can also be done with paint – the medium does not matter.

Single Light Still Life

All white / all black, unusual angle, upside-down, negative space drawing, five minute burn, your off hand, blind contour, crumpled paper, value scales, want to learn more, thanks for reading.

Simple Drawing Exercises - Gesture Drawings

(Bonus:  Click here to download a PDF copy of my Color Theory Cheat Sheet .)

This is a classic drawing exercise that involves a simple still life setup illuminated by a single light source (usually a lamp as you can control the direction). Many of the exercises mentioned in this post are variations of the single light still life.

Here are some tips for this exercise:

Single Light Still Life Drawing Exercise

This exercise involves drawing an all-white  object against an all-white background, or an all-black object against an all-black background . Because everything has the same local color, you will need to rely on subtle changes in  value to indicate form.

Black On Black Drawing Exercise

Draw a standard object but from an unusual perspective. For example, draw a candle from directly above, or looking down at a sharp angle. This forces you to draw what you actually see , rather than what you think is there .

When we look at objects, we have preconceived ideas about what those objects are  meant to look like. A common problem in drawing is letting these preconceived ideas influence what you draw, rather than drawing what is actually in front of you. These exercises will help train you out of this.

Weird Angle Drawing Exercise

Take a standard object and draw just part of the object up close. Try to focus on interesting parts of the object like intersections or edges. Once you are done, you could see if someone is able to identify what the object is from just your zoomed-in drawing.

Zoom In Drawing Exercise

Take a reference photo of a standard object, turn it upside-down and draw it. I would start with a very basic object, like a vase or candle, then move on to more complex objects like a chair or even a person.

If you want to challenge yourself, you could even draw from life and flip the object in your head. Also, don’t worry about tone when you are just starting out. Focus on the contour of the object.

Upside Down Drawing Exercise

For a negative space drawing try to render the form of an object by only drawing the negative space (not the object itself).

For example, if you were doing a negative drawing of a chair, you would block in all the spaces which are not occupied by that chair. This exercise is designed at helping you learn how to appropriately use positive and negative space (negative space is frequently overlooked).

This is one of my favorite drawing exercises. Give yourself 5 minutes and draw whatever is in front of you. Focus on capturing as much information as possible and do not get caught up in all the details.

The benefits of this exercise are:

5 Minute Burn Drawing Exercise

Place your off hand (the one that is not drawing) in a comfortable position, then draw it. Start by resting your hand in a normal position on the table, then progress to more complex hand positions (clenched fist, open hand, etc).

This exercise is a great introduction to life drawing and it trains you to deal with slight movements of your hand and any distractions from your surroundings.

Tip: Break the hand into smaller shapes, then draw those shapes.

Off Hand Drawing Exercise

This is similar to the hand exercise. Look down and draw your own feet. I find this to be a great exercise for learning about foreshortening.

Again, try to break your feet down into basic shapes and draw those shapes. This helps you simplify the form and capture what is actually important.

Vincent van Gogh, Feet, 1886-87. Foot Drawing Exercise

This is a classic exercise which trains your hand-eye coordination. Look at an object and try to draw it without looking down at your drawing. It is a lot harder than it sounds, so make sure you start with simple objects and only focus on the contour rather than tone.

Drawing crumpled paper is a great way to learn about contours, edges and tones. Plus it is extremely easy to set up – just crumble some paper and draw it.

Draw your own value scale and aim to have an even jump between each value. The most common value scales have 3, 5 and 9 values. This is perhaps the most basic exercise, but it can be surprisingly challenging to get right.

To create your own value scale, draw a template on a piece of paper or canvas and fill in the values from pure black, to neutral gray, to pure white with equal value jumps in between. It does not matter if you do this with paint or pencil, as technique is not the focus of this exercise. The only thing that matters is how well you are able to render values.

I suggest that once you are done you compare your value scale to one you know is correct. I would be surprised if you are able to get all the values roughly accurate on your first attempt.

Drawing Exercise - Value Scales

These exercises are not essential by any means. The purpose of this post is just to give you some ideas for exercises you can practice regularly which  will improve your drawing ability over time.

But there is no substitute for just drawing regularly. The subject or type of exercise does not matter. Simple drawings like the ones below won’t win me any art awards but they help me constantly improve and provide me with inspiration for new ways to render subjects.

Wallete Drawing

You might be interested in my  Painting Academy  course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to share it with friends.

Happy painting!

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25 comments on “Simple Drawing (Or Painting) Exercises You Can Do Every Day”

This was great! I will certainly come back to it regularly. Thank you so much!

Glad to hear thanks Anita!

Hi Dan, I really like your practical advice how to work with a single light when paint any object and how changing the angle of the light source affects the light and shadow of the subject. And also the idea of a constant practice of drawing any objects is very cool. I would like to start doing it someday.

Thanks Larissa

Thank you for these ideas, I would call myself a person with blocked creativity always postponing and making excuses of trying to produce some art, although ultimately this is my dream. I need to set myself a challenge to do one of these exercises a day and hopefully this will move something with me. Thank you for inspiration!

No problem thanks Kasia, Dan

Great and very helpful..keep up the good work

Thanks Neil!

Hi Dan, really enjoyed this one. Thanks for your regular posts. Am enjoying them. Carolyn

Thanks. I draw every day, even if it’s just quick doodles. I keep a sketchbook and drawing pencils in my purse so whenever I have to wait or have spare time I can draw. It has helped me develop better drawing skills. I would get less drawing time if I only waited to spend time in the studio. It was a very good article. Have enjoyed all the articles I have read.

So looking forward to trying each of these art adventures listed above!

Will you be posting additions challenges? Fun to try again and again.

Thanks for sharing art drawing/painting tips.

I am wanting to paint and I feel I do not know enough to do so. It is just so nice to be able to read what you have written and the drawings and paintings that you share. It gives me hope that I can learn to be a good artist.. Thank you

Thanks, just happy to be helping! Dan

Great practice ideas. I will definitely do more every day.

Sounds great Mabel! Dan

I enjoyed reading and will continue my progress through your literature am a self taught and you information if very well appreciated thank ypu and keep up the go work love to paint and want to become successful one day thank you

Starting today!

Wonderful Lisa! Good luck. Dan

Thank you for sharing drawing tips. Your posts about drawing were excellent. It will improve the drawings. Keep sharing more like this information. I have learned something new ideas from you. Your posts were very useful for me as a beginner. I love paintings, that’s why I have come here to read your posts. It’s really improved my knowledge of drawing. I’m sure that those exercises you told in your posts can make improvements in my paintings. Painting is almost everything. It is the painter’s style.

Glad to hear the post and information is helping you with your drawings James! Thanks, Dan

Well, my first read article where all most valuable exercises are covered. Now I’m cosidering about getting your ebook.

Love this going to start tomorrow when I get home and make a promise to myself to do it every day thank you so much

The best time for me to begin serious painting was 10 years ago, the second best time is now. Thanks for the head start man!! Gotta unblock my creativity……

You have prepared an article as a guide. These are all great ideas.

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An art blog about all things drawing and and painting: materials, techniques, artists, and of course lots of exercises.

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Feb 22 5 easy Drawing Exercises for Beginners and Pros

Drawing really is a lot like sports. If you haven't been working out for a while, or are a complete beginner, you'll always better start slow, rather than jumping straight in and running a full marathon without any training.

Regular exercise is also crucial in any training regime, whether you're new to it, back for it or never left at all. And it's the same with drawing.

These exercises will help you stretch all your drawing muscles muscles (aka your observation, spatial recognition, creativity...) for a serious workout/drawing session and teach you the fundamentals you need to excel.

1 Many roads lead to Rome

Sometimes you're drawing something you've seen many, many times before and your mind just goes on autopilot. Which can be a good thing, unless the image in your head doesn't conform with what you actually see.

You may be theoretically aware that there are many different shapes of eyes, for example. Someone of Hawaiian heritage will likely have a different eye shape than a native Russian, a baby usually has rounder eyes than an adult and so on.

But the mind may have decided on one single idea of ‘eye’ and will keep trying to pull you in that direction, like a jamming steering wheel, away from what you're actually aiming for, or see right in front of you.

In order to counteract that pull we can re-calibrate the mind to see shapes instead of whatever it thinks an eye (or cat or tree) looks like. Basically, we're preventing it from answering before it's heard the entire question.

Different shapes of eyes as part of a drawing exercise for beginners, called “Many ways lead to Rome”

What we'll do in this little exercise is just to draw several different-looking versions of the same thing. If your brain keeps telling you what a flower looks like, remind yourself that there are orchids, daisies, tulips and lilies. You can cast the net as wide as you like, it'll depend on how much time you have to draw it all.

Over time your mind will decide that it's probably better to look at what you actually see, rather than having a quick glimpse and making the rest up.

2 Don't look now!

This is an easy but fun exercise I do frequently when I feel like I worry too much about what my finished sketches look like. You know, when you keep wondering if you could hang it on the wall, show it to your friends or put it in your portfolio before you've even filled half the page.

Well, worry no more, this exercise will remove that unnecessary pressure. All you need is a subject and your drawing materials, be it pencil, pen or ink.

Look at your subject and try to draw it, like you always do. But with one little twist: don't look at your paper . At all. Not even a single glimpse. You're drawing half-blind, if you will.

You can look at your subject, but what the outcome might be should remain a secret until you're finished.

If you find you have trouble not peaking, you can put your sketchbook on your knees and draw underneath the table instead. Or stick your pencil through the middle of a paper plate, so it distracts your view as the pencil moves.

A table with plants as part of a drawing exercise for beginners where you don’t look at the paper until you’re finished.

A table with plants as part of a drawing exercise for beginners where you don’t look at the paper until you’re finished.

Of course, your sketch is going to look like a bad Picasso when you're done. And that's the point. If you know before you start that the finished piece is not going to be useful for exhibiting, you'll have a much easier time concentrating on the process of drawing itself.

If you do this regularly, you'll notice that your sketches are going to get better. Your bad Picasso will start to look more like a bad Matisse.

Because practising to draw ‘blind’ trains proportion and spatial recognition. Which in turn makes things easier for you once you go back to looking at the paper while you work.

3 Change of perspective

Perspective drawing can be quite intimidating, even when you have a simple subject to work with. Drawing without a reference is yet another step up from that and needs a good grasp on the principles as well as an extensive visual library.

With this exercise we're going to practice both, so that we can slowly work our way towards the ultimate goal of drawing whatever we have in our heads and having it look as realistic as possible.

Pick an object you want to work with. I suggest something simple, like a mug or your toothbrush. Now imagine how you would draw that object if you were to make a quick sketch of it. What perspective would you choose? Most often that's going to be a simple side view.

But not today. Instead of the easy way we're going to step up our game and pick a more difficult perspective.

Move your object in your hands or walk around it to find a perspective that you usually don't see it in, or don't notice much when you do. Anything that looks tricky to draw is what you're going to pick, because you can handle that.

Perspective drawing exercise for beginners where you draw an object from a different angle than you usually would

Now draw a simple sketch, nothing too detailed. Then change the perspective or move on to the next.

Practising this helps to understand the object better and it's a great thing to have in your visual library, because such ‘odd’ perspectives can be used in the future, to make a drawing more interesting.

4 One liner

This one is another classic, and for a reason. It's fun, it's quick and it's impossible to mess up. Your finished drawing will almost always look super skilful, so it's great for giving yourself a little confidence boost when you need it.

One-line-drawings have been around for forever and they're simple enough to do. All you need to remember is that once your pencil touches the paper you cannot lift it until the piece is finished. The entire drawing is one single line, every part of it is connected.

One-line drawing exercise for beginners

Tracing the entire subject with your pencil and moving it from one area to the next is a perfect way for your brain to learn distances and relationships between parts of the image.

It also forces you to draw quicker than you might usually do, because no one wants to hold their pencil for a half-hour straight without once lifting it off the paper.

Another one-line drawing exercise, this time of a dancer

This technique works well for a variety of subjects. It can also be fun to play around a little with the style. Try to vary pencil pressure, for example, or go for harder corners rather than a rounded look.

This is another great practice to learn how to distinguish between what is fundamental to the image and what can be left out. Especially with shadows it takes a while to understand which need to be hinted at for necessary depth.

5 Fire and water

Personal drawing style is like handwriting. It’s made up of the same parts, but the way these parts display is unique to the individual.

Whether your preferred genre is photorealism or caricature, the way you draw defines who you are (or want to be) as an artist, and it can make your work recognisable amongst other art.

But there's one difficulty. Unlike handwriting your drawings need not only portray your own style, they also have to depict the ‘feeling’ of the subject.

As an example, look at these two scenes, both from popular mangas. You'll notice that not only are the artists’ styles very different, they also show two very contrasting scenes that ought to portray contrasting moods: ‘love’ and ‘battle’.

The first is all soft and dream-like, while the second is harsh, fast and has a much darker shading. Do you think it would work if the two subjects were switched? It'd make for a very creepy wedding, that's for sure.

"Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon" kissing scene

But how do you manage to combine personal style and mood without sacrificing one in favour of the other? Well, it’s a step by step process that will develop with you as you grow as an artist.

And step one is to find out what your personal style is in the first place. There’s no better way for that than to try out different things and see what comes most natural.

For this exercise you're going to draw the same subject in the two contrasting styles, ‘water’ and ‘fire’. Choose any subject you like, a fruit bowl, your car, your spouse.

For the first style, try to simulate the ‘personality’ of water. Draw fluently, with soft, flowing, ornamental lines. Aim for something comfortable, relaxing, playful. You may find it helpful to hold your pencil (or brush) relatively far towards the back, so you have less control over it.

For the second sketch, think of fire. Go bold, edgy, harsh. Don't draw fire itself, draw what it feels like. Threatening, powerful, dangerous.

If you're having difficulty switching between styles, consider some matching music (Chopin versus Heavy Metal, for example...) or just leave more time between sketches.

Repeat this exercise regularly with different subjects. You can also try out other ‘moods’, of course. Adjectives, such as chaotic, scared or shy, are easiest to portray on paper, but almost any word that comes with a certain mood/personality will work (winter, butterfly, playground…).

If you consistently notice that soft, floaty lines don't come easy to you or your harsh, dark lines keep reverting to ornaments it'll give you a valuable clue as to which direction might be right for you going forward.

Of course this is just one exercise in the journey to find your own style in the arts . But once you get closer to knowing who you are as an artist it’ll become a lot easier to portray any feeling you like in your work but still staying recognisably true to yourself.

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5 Drawing Exercises for Beginners

These simple exercises are among the best one can practice as an artist..

Below, I’ll get into why, but first, let’s list these bad boys out:

Straight lines

Shape Spree

Perspective Practice

Gestural Thumbnails

Compositional Thumbnails

Now, why are these my favorite drawing exercises for beginners?

Because it’s most of what you need packed into 5 exercises.

Here’s the rub - they’ve all got varying levels of difficulty too,

Have you ever watched a musician play a scale?

There are hundreds of ways to play just ONE of them.

Each time you consciously and deliberately play the scale, you’re building neural connections that will foster greater ability. When it becomes too easy (the point where you can do it without looking or thinking, hold a vigorous conversation, etc…) then it’s time to amplify the difficulty level.

So below, I’m going to show you how to do each of these exercises, and then I’ll give you variants for how to make them harder once you master the early forms.

Lastly, I’ll show you HOW they apply to drawing what you actually want to draw. No, I won’t just leave you with a set a wonderful exercises, I’ll give you the connection points between what you’re practicing, and how it applies.

Let’s dive in.

1 - Loosing the lines

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 10.59.40 PM.png

One of the biggest complaints I hear from beginners or would-be artists is “I can’t even draw a straight line!” Turns out, they require practice…Who knew? Drawing a straight line is crucial for man-made objects like vehicles and buildings, and drawing curved lines is crucial for more organic forms. Learning your lines isn’t just for acting, it’s for drawing too. Once you’re able to confidently and easily make marks of all sorts, your drawing toolkit grows to accommodate constructing everything from a cup to a full-blown person. Lines make it all happen.

Added difficulty: curved lines, shaded lines, longer lines.

2 - Shape Spree

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 10.27.39 PM.png


then 100 cones

then 100 spheres, etc…

This is one of my favorites. After you’ve got some straight-line confidence, you can begin blasting out shapes all over your digital documents and sketchbook pages. Basic shapes are the forms that all forms reduce down to. Cones, Cylinders, Spheres, Half-Spheres, Pyramids, Circles, Triangles, Ovals, Cubes, etc… All of these will help you build the basis for the more complex forms that you’ll be drawing thereafter.

Added difficulty: More complex geometry, shaded shapes.

3 - Perspective Practice

Practice with 2point perspective

Practice with 2-point perspective

Perspective is integral. Really, it’s key. If you don’t learn perspective, your drawings will suffer. I promise. It hurts to spend hours on a drawing only to have deeply flaws perspective errors muddying the message of the work. That’s why we can do some simple drills to train our brains to work in accordance with this amazing fundamental.

Added difficulty: 2 point or 3 point perspective, all the way up to 4-point and fisheye perspectives.

4 - Gestural Thumbnails

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 10.18.24 PM.png


Fast & Easy

Who doesn’t like sketching little poses all over the page? With this technique, you can learn to get a powerful overview of human and animals forms in a matter of seconds. Having a small reference point will allow you to configure things like pose and proportion, making it way easier to blow the drawing up to something more rad and readable.

Added difficulty: Harder poses, complex animals, one pose at every angle.

5 - Compositional Thumbnails

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 11.01.07 PM.png

Ideas for later…

And skills for now!

The granddaddy of ‘em all is composition. It’s how you arrange shapes, lines, forms, subjects, objects, and everything in between on a picture plane (like a piece of paper.)

Added difficulty:

Try doing them exclusively in black and white, or even color thumbnails. Try to do one scene at various angles. Video Demo:


If you’re practicing these exercises for at least 15-25 minutes per time, and racking up 2-3 of those sessions each day, you’ll notice a new ease begin to take shape in your workflow. There’s no feeling like adding levels of skill with each passing day. Before diving into your work, just be sure to do the relevant kind of practice. If you’re working on a line-heavy piece, do the line exercises— or if you’re working on a figure drawing, the gestural ones will serve you well.

All it takes is a few weeks of being consistent to gain more proficiency, and once you’re feeling that you could use a new challenge, step it up a notch. Effectively, your work outside of your practices (the pieces you want to create) will challenge you enough, but having some strong exercises to warm and level you up makes drawing even more fun.


Exercises will guarantee results. They will propagate progress, but you’ll still need to study and apply the fundamentals to ascend from beyond beginnerhood.

That’s all for now. Happy Drawing!

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Sketchful / scribble team drawing game, draw battle team drawing game, gartic phone team drawing game, thisissand team drawing game, autodraw team drawing games, go beyond sketching with range.

I've been hearing from engineering leaders over and over again that on remote teams, people miss in-office social interactions, like:

How do we intentionally replicate some of that virtually with team building activities ?

Just because we are working remotely, doesn’t mean all your team interactions have to be strictly about work, or strictly with the team you work with.

Done drawing? Try the Icebreaker spinner.

Done drawing? Try the Icebreaker spinner.

Find an icebreaker question for your team, and then take a spin around the group before your meeting starts.

This has become a source of delight and a core part of our team culture and team bonding — online drawing games .

To make time to connect socially, we have weekly game time on Tuesdays 11:30-12:00 PT. We often also finish our hour-long remote team meetings a half hour early, and give people the option to stick around for a team building game.

If you don’t already have something scheduled, find a regular half-hour chunk of time that works for folks — perhaps right after a team meeting, or right before lunch — and get drawing!

Here are our top 5 Range-team-approved online drawing game recommendations — the websites are all pretty good with onboarding, so no need for someone to read a 20-page board game manual beforehand:

crude drawing of an easter bunny

Of course, we started with sketchful , also available as skribbl . In this classic drawing game, it’s every person for themselves, creating some healthy competition. You take turns drawing, and everyone else guesses. The drawer gets points for how quickly someone guesses correctly, and guessers get points for how quickly they guess.

The most I’ve ever laughed this whole past year is when I tried to draw a nutcracker, but it looked so awful that I couldn’t stop laughing, and because I couldn’t stop laughing, I couldn’t steady my hand enough to improve my drawing.

My kids also love to join in, but I have to mute myself because they’re too busy loudly trash-talking Stephanie as she closes the gap between second and first place.

drawbattle image of cute drawings

Before DrawBattle , we used to rotate between sketchful , scattergories , sporcle , curvefever , and other games. Once DrawBattle made its debut, we played it straight for weeks.

DrawBattle is sketchful-like but with delightfully competitive team dynamics. You split into two teams, and each team has a drawer — drawers go head-to-head in a draw-off as everyone else guesses.

Speed is of the essence, and minimum viable drawing is the name of the game.

The final draw-off at the end is the cherry on top, but I won’t ruin that surprise for you. Expect elevated heart rates and hilarity all around. Learn which teammates can execute under pressure, and which ones crumble (just kidding).

Gartic Phone is one of our newer additions, and the classic version and all its variations have been a delight. One important feature of Gartic Phone is that the game doesn’t scale linearly to the number of players (though viewing the results does), so it’s a great one for if you suddenly have 8-10 people show up to game time!

Gartic Phone has a chill, collaborative vibe, and the final reveal of telephone-like results usually has some amazing gems (it also gives you the option to download results in handy gifs).

Not all drawing games have to be competitive! Thisissand is an online canvas for creating digital sand-scapes. It's one of the most relaxing websites I've ever seen. Just choose a color scheme, hold down your mouse, and let the sand pixels flow.

I'd recommend Thisissand as a midday break for remote teams. You could set up a quick meeting and queue up the "Chill Hits" playlist on Spotify while you play around with digital sand. What a great way to de-stress as a group!

If you want, you can download and share your sand-scapes with the whole team. (Hint: they can make great desktop backgrounds for Zoom!)

Like Thisissand, AutoDraw isn't technically a game — but it's a tool you can use to run creative, low-stakes drawing activities with your team. Developed by Google Creative Lab, AutoDraw uses machine learning to guess what you're trying to draw. You can turn your digital doodles into great pictures in seconds.

What I love about AutoDraw is the AI component, which makes drawing games fun & accessible for the whole team (not just designers and tablet-owners). There are so many ways to use AutoDraw with your team, but here are some ideas:

Range folks are very serious about these online drawing games — one coworker has upgraded to a wired mouse to level up his drawing game. Another has dusted off their drawing tablet. Whichever one you try out, you really can’t go wrong with any of these tried-and-true fun games for team meetings.

Added bonus for getting everyone into drawing? Our product manager, Bhavika, recently hosted a virtual sketching session to get some literal pens on paper to sketch out some exploratory ideas. After months of training with drawing games, all team members were warmed up and ready to go.

Laughter is so important for team building and connectedness, especially on remote teams, where spontaneous casual interactions are harder to come by. Laughter is also just as a powerful stress reliever.

And, well, it seems one of the funniest things is our terrible drawings.

While drawing games are a great way to bring teams closer together, they are just one small piece in the larger puzzle of fostering a healthy team culture.

In addition to drawing games, there are so many ways to take your team culture to the next level by encouraging daily practices that keep your team aware of what and how everyone is doing.

With Range, your team can:

Wherever, whenever your team is working, Range’s mood sharing and team-building questions create moments of connectedness that help teams build trust and achieve their full potential.

⭐️ Have you seen how Range helps with check-ins, culture, and better meetings?

⚡️ learn more ., try range for free.

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Drawing Therapy: 7 Art Therapy Techniques to Relieve Stress

exercise drawing with name

Drawing can be an act of self-care — releasing stress, boosting creativity, and promoting mindfulness.

Aerial view above boy drawing with sidewalk chalk

Drawing therapy, while not an official name, is essentially drawing as a form of coping and self-care.

Many believe that art (and other forms of creativity) can be healing. Drawing — and other forms of art — can help you release stress and anxiety.

You can draw at home to boost your imagination and creativity, be more mindful and grounded, and relieve anxious thoughts. You can also work with an art therapist to help you manage mental health conditions or trauma.

What is art therapy?

The phrase “art therapy” is often thrown around to describe art as therapy, but there’s also a type of psychotherapy called art therapy.

According to the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) , “art therapy uses art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork as a therapeutic and healing process.”

Anyone can use art as a form of self-care, mindfulness practice, or a way to cope with stress. But in art therapy, you’re typically working with a trained mental health professional to manage symptoms and conditions — often working on issues that are harder to express in words, like trauma.

Essentially, art therapy is art plus psychotherapy .

Benefits of art therapy

A lot of research of varying quality and size has explored the benefits of art and art therapy for mental health.

In a 2010 research review , researchers said that engaging in art had noteworthy positive benefits on health. When doing art, you’re exercising your creativity and imagination, which can help you find your identity and capacity to heal.

According to the ATCB , art therapy can benefit people by helping them:

Experts have also noted that creative art therapy can help with the burden of physical and mental health symptoms, and help you adapt in stressful situations.

Lots of research has shown potential benefits, including:

It’s important to note that most research does study art therapy — art activities under the guidance of a mental health professional. Still, you can find many personal benefits from doing art on your own.

‘Stress drawing’ for stress relief

With the amount of possible things you can do to relieve stress and prioritize self-care , you might wonder: Why choose drawing?

You may find that drawing helps you express yourself, grounds you, or just distracts you from ruminating thoughts.

How to use art and drawing as therapy

If you’re ready to draw to relieve stress or connect with your creativity, here are some ways to start:

7 art therapy techniques

The content of what you draw doesn’t really matter if it brings you joy or a moment of release. If you’re still not sure where to get started, here are a few options you can try at home.

1. Scribbling

Some people flourish with a blank canvas, while others may find the possibilities too overwhelming.

You might want to start with a blank piece of paper and see what happens. Try scribbling to your heart’s desire.

Just remember that you don’t have to create something beautiful. Think of it like stream of consciousness, but with shapes, squiggles, and words.

2. Drawing shapes

If scribbling without direction just doesn’t work for you, you could set yourself some shapes. You could draw tons of tiny circles in a large square, lines, or a mix of shapes like creating your own game of Tetris art.

Whatever shape (pun intended) your drawing takes, let it.

3. Drawing prompts

Whether you’re a professional artist or only have a #2 pencil, there are thousands of prompts online to give you some inspiration to draw.

Here are just a few that you can try:

4. Mandalas

Mandala drawing has a long history, but made its way into psychology with Carl Jung , founder of analytical psychology.

Mandalas are spiritual symbols, often in a circle with geometric shapes. The complexity of the patterns and repetition can promote mindfulness .

In a 2020 study , researchers concluded that mandala drawing could reduce negative emotions and improve spirituality. And according to a small study in 2005 , coloring a mandala was shown to reduce anxiety much more than coloring other designs or on a blank page.

You might want to color pre-drawn mandalas, or create your own (and then color them!). This can be a meditative act as well as a creative one.

You can search “mandala drawing prompts” for hundreds of ideas, or start here .

5. Sketching

If you’re done with shapes but are adamant that you can’t freehand, sketching might be a great option to try.

Sketching involves tracing images, often done with a lighter tracing paper placed on top of whatever you want to draw. You can sketch mandalas, magazines, photos — the limit doesn’t exist.

Consider coloring your sketch afterward for continued creativity.

6. Coloring

While some may argue that coloring is not drawing, art is art. Also, a lot of the research on art therapy involves coloring activities, so it can grant us the same stress relief without the need to draw something from scratch.

Coloring options are abundant, with pages you can print online and numerous adult coloring books . You could also color your own drawings, or add color to your drawings with colored markers, ink, or pencils.

7. Mixing mediums

Drawing is one of the most accessible types of art therapies, but you don’t have to stop with a pen or pencil. If you’ve got the supplies lying around or feel like you want to express yourself in more than one way, you can mix art mediums.

You can also add the benefits of music by playing something soothing or your favorite songs while you draw.

Let’s recap

Including more art in your life can be as easy as grabbing a pencil and paper.

Still, if you feel like you’d benefit from true art therapy, you can find an art therapist via the American Art Therapy Association’s art therapist locator or the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB)’s art therapist search .

If they’re certified through the ATCB, they’ll typically have the credentials ATR (registered art therapist) or ATCS (art therapy credentialed supervisor).

Last medically reviewed on January 25, 2022

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5 Drawing Exercises That Will Turn Anyone Into An Artist

exercise drawing with name

As an artist, creator or hobbyist, it is hard to always have creative ideas. We caught up with illustrator Whitney Sherman to get drawing exercises to spark your creativity when you are stuck. 

Whitney Sherman is an award-winning illustrator and director of the MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art. She is also author of  Playing with Sketches, 50 creative exercises for designers and artists (Rockport Publishers). We asked Sherman for advice on  how to draw and she offers up five drawing exercises from her book to help anyone get started.

If you’re looking for more resources on how to  hone your design skills , check out our classes on  Hand Lettering ,  Creating a Knockout Portfolio ,  Logo Design , and  Photoshop tutorials .

Get into the habit of making: draw inspiration from the every day. Drawing the Everyday Every Day is your guide to exploring your creativity and integrating a drawing habit into your daily routine. Learn more.

Why do you think it’s so hard for people to get started with drawing or figure drawing?

For non-artists, I think that the culture of drawing is not extended or continued with or for them beyond early childhood. Grade schools and high schools, for the most part, value math and science over the arts, which gets cut out when budgetary pressures arise. What is then neglected is the haptic qualities of “making,” which can contribute to retention of learning as well as foster communication. If a non-artist is only shown an example of classical or academic drawing, they will be thwarted by not having those skills. If encouraged to make native marks [draw in their own way] and be respected for that, most people would grow up with less doubt on their ability to draw and would enjoy the process, which is a very important part of drawing!

For creative people who are working in mediums other than drawing, some of the reasons are the same – recognizing and celebrating native marks, but I think it goes a bit farther to include practice. Creatively leaning people continue drawing beyond childhood for longer than most, yet their particular area of creative focus as an adult may have not required the use of drawing, and so it is left behind, unpracticed. In both cases, having permission [from a teacher, from one’s self] to draw as one does, to appreciate that and practice it will foster comfort and confidence with drawing.

I had a drawing teacher in college who said, “Draw what you see, not what you know.” Do you find that holds true for everyone?

Although I can’t say I know how everyone behaves, I do think that extended focus is very hard for most people. Numerous conditions and environments discourage this. Have you ever been bored because it feels like nothing is happening? If so, you are probably less likely to be able to focus on what is going on around you.

The ability to quiet your mind and observe is central to the theme your teacher was addressing.  Knowing  involves conceptual thinking with additional abstract qualities based on memories of the circumstances surrounding the knowledge (Was there a smell in the air that caused us to form an opinion?).  Seeing,  on the other hand, requires that we participate with what is currently happening, and letting go of memory. Time is a key ingredient of seeing, although like many things, practice helps our seeing happen faster. If you purposefully act to see, you can then make the observations that allow you to translate your seeing into mark making.

Here are five step by step exercises taken from  Playing with Sketches  to help anyone get started with their drawing skills:

1) Drawing Exercise: Doodling

Anyone can do this drawing exercise, doodle and create simple shapes. It’s as simple as putting pen or pencil to paper and randomly sketching anything that comes to mind. You don’t even have to make straight lines. Doodles come in any shape or form, and in any color. But don’t let the simplicity of this exercise fool you!

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Doodling increases your visual literacy and helps you process ideas, even when you are not trying! Experiment with different materials and drawing tools, and draw whatever comes to mind. You can also recruit your friend and co-workers to develop a doodle quilt using sticky notes in different colors.

2) Drawing Exercise: Entopic Graphomania

This drawing exercise is based on a Surrealist game. Simply grab a sheet of paper—it can be a page from an old paperback book, or anything with markings—and place dots on specific words or letters. You choose what set of marks, words, or letters you want. Then connect the dots with curved, zigzag or straight lines to create a pattern. These exercises reveal hidden patterns in negative space, show you how choices can make a difference and will help you engage in randomness to take your work a few steps further.

3) Drawing Exercise: Non-Dominant Hand 

If you have been drawing for some time and are feeling stuck or uninspired by your marks, it may be time to reinvent in order to discover something new. Years ago I had developed a great exercise that involved rendering minute and exact details using graphite pencils on a fine surfaced drawing paper (Strathmore Drawing paper). I was bored, and so I set out to change my habit by using tools and paper that were the exact opposite—ink in a faulty dip pen on hot press paper, which is slightly spongy. I also used my non-dominant hand and no photo reference.

This simple exercise lasted for a few months. It felt awkward and I didn’t expect anything massive to come from it, but it did! When I went back to drawing with familiar tools, I was breaking down the image in different ways and drawing with less restrictions.

4) Drawing Exercise: One Day, One Theme

For this drawing exercise, choose one theme or one kind of object, and only draw that thing during the course of a day. You can vary your approach to this by choosing an animate or inanimate object, a color, a size of something, things that are scary or make you laugh, or things that start with a specific letter.

You can also use synonyms, such as things that move you emotionally versus things that literally move you, like modes of transportation. The more thoughtful you can be, the more you exercise your concept-building abilities as well as you hand skills.

5) Drawing Exercise: Word Stacks

Take 25 blank index cards and cut them into thirds. On the first stack, print an adjective on each card, on the next stack, print a noun, and on the third stack print a verb on each card. Shuffle each stack separately, then draw one card from each pile and put them next to each other, forming a phrase such as Devilish/Book/Laughing. Then draw it! It might not turn into fine art but it will help cultivate basic skills and build your confidence in the craft.

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8 Drawing Exercises That Every Artist Should Practice

December 22, 2009 by Rainey - artist resources , drawing

exercise drawing with name

Wire Drawing Exercise

Example from – this example has been placed on a painted acrylic background With this exercise you are not going to be drawing at all. All you need is some wire and a pair of pliers with cutters. My favorite wire for this exercise is tie wire and you can get it almost any hardware store. The idea is to explore shapes and lines that you create by bending the wire. This exercise will force you to focus more on the line and less on the “drawing.” The nature of the wire also makes it more difficult to create tight corners. Don’t fight this and allow the properties of the wire to influence your piece.

Non-dominant Hand

Give your non-dominant hand a chance to shine. Control is not always a good thing and, unless you are ambidextrous, this exercise will require you to give up much of your learned control. By drawing with your non-dominant hand you are giving yourself the opportunity to be more free with your line. During this exercise you should notice your line becoming more loose and fluid.

Draw Vertically

you should be doing most of these drawing exercises vertically if you have an easel or drawing horse. Drawing vertically is a great way to loosen up your line. Focus on drawing with your entire arm and not just your hand. Drawing this way will also allow you to get your line recorded faster. Remember, focus on looking at what you are drawing as much as the drawing itself and do not stop moving your hand when you look up.


Continuous Contour Line Drawing

Examples from Draw and Paint Online A Continuous Contour Line Drawing is an exercise to help us focus on the line. The idea here is to create a drawing where you never lift your drawing utensil from the paper. I like to use a pen on this one to help me resist the urge of erasing mistakes. If you have never done this exercise you may find your drawings odd and “imperfect” but that is what makes them beautiful. Also focus on looking at what you are drawing as much as the drawing itself and do not stop moving your hand when you look up.


Continuous Blind Contour Line Drawing

Example from Anne Leuck Feldhaus If you enjoy the contour line exercise, then you should certainly try this one. In this exercise, look only at the subject that you are drawing and not at the paper. Yes, you read that correctly. Again, I use a pen in this exercise and try to coordinate your hand and eyes to work together, recording the lines as your eyes follow them. The idea here is to train your hand and eyes to work in unison. As you do more blind contour line drawings you will get better and begin seeing some wonderful, fluid lines.


Gesture Drawing

Example from – the one on the right is an example of tighter more expressive execution In this exercise you want to get as much information down on the paper in short amount of time. You will be doing a series of drawings here, so make sure you have plenty of paper and a timer on hand. The first drawings you only have 20 seconds to complete. Yes 20 seconds! Repeat the 20 second drawings about 10 times and increase the timer to 40 seconds. You want to be bold with these drawings and forget about the “mistakes” that you are making. Make sure you keep drawing like you were when you only had 20 seconds. Increase the time again to 2 minutes after you have completed about 10 drawings at 40 seconds. You should begin to notice improvement in your line quality as become more confident with your drawing. Also focus on looking at what you are drawing as much as the drawing itself and do not stop moving your hand when you look up.


Draw the Negative Space

Example from In this exercise you will be drawing the space around the object, negative space, rather than the object itself. First try using a solid marking as shown above to create a very flat looking finished product. I would also suggest doing some where you draw the negative space more realistically. And, don’t forget to focus on looking at what you are drawing as much as the drawing itself .


Value Drawing Exercise

Example from Julie’s Journal Usually when drawing we begin sketching the outline of the object we are drawing. In this exercise, do not drawing a single line. Instead, simply shade using your favorite drawing utensil and build the drawing up this way. I suggest using charcoal or something large that will allow you to put your shading down quickly. You can always erase or add white Conte if your shading gets too dark. You should still be looking at what you are drawing as much as the drawing itself and do not stop moving your hand when you look up.

I know that many of you know all of these as they are very common exercises. If they are new to you, hopefully these help and good luck to you with your drawings! If you have a favorite that I didn’t include, please add it in the comments.

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21 Responses to “8 Drawing Exercises That Every Artist Should Practice”

Thanks, good to be reminded of these sometimes. The craziest one that I ever heard of is stand on your head and draw with your non-dominent hand. I have not tried this though, not sure I am that coordinated.

I recommend reading Kaupelis’ “Experimental Drawing” for a ton of other fun and enriching exercises. Some very important ones i’d had to the list: – Smudge drawing (avoiding the use of lines, using charcoal and other blunt instruments, helps develop a sense of high contrast, but the approach may be more stylish than realist) – Positive drawing (the same technique for negative drawing, but with an enphasis on avoiding sillouette contours. try to draw only the inside of a model – very hard to master!) – Fast drawing (probably the best exercise and the hardest. time your drawings. 7sec ones are my favourites. You should get someone to model for you and change pose by the clock) that’s about all i can remember right now. I’m sure there’s more of course. Good work on this list. Nice to stumble upon it.

Thanks for the info! I will certainly check that out.

This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.

drawing white objects on white backgrounds is a great way to learn to see value … an egg on white paper for example…

Negative space drawings are really cool imho. A great start if you are sued to still life drawing, but want to branch out a bit.

I feel you really should be aware that the comment prior to me may be unsolicited mail.

@kup dom – thanks, I am getting a lot of that these days. My spam tools are only so good I guess. Thanks for the heads up!

The example for the value exercise is a real bad one, the pumpkin doesn’t appear to be in the third dimension. Why on earth would you practice with your weaker hand, when you already have a dominant. The continous blind contour Drawing is a joke, that doesn’t teack drawing, it teaches copying. Drawing is designing with a pencil, not drawing what one sees. Looking at great artists of the past (Raphael, Michaelangelo, Leonardo) noone ever drew what they saw. Copying what you see isn’t drawing, much less scribbling on paper without seeing what mess you’re causing

Re Alex Vablahblahblah (omit “Alex Verble-Diarrhea”) “A man with little learning is like the frog who thinks its puddle a great sea” —Burmese proverb

@Alex Vablahblahblah: I can understand where you are coming from and shared many of the same thoughts that you expressed before actually trying these exercises. Drawing came very natural to me at a young age and I felt confident in my skill, cringing when others would try to teach me anything.

When I was in college level drawing classes, my instructor forced me to do some of these exercises. I found that these exercises helped me loosen up and draw with my whole arm rather than just my hand. Also, my drawing scale grew in size and I could crank out dozens of drafts before settling on the composition, angle, etc. that I wanted to explore.

So, I would encourage you to try doing these. You will likely hate it at first so give it a few months. Buy large, cheap newsprint and go nuts.

I’m always up for experimentation. A wise man believes firmly in the benefits of getting outside your comfort zone. You can’t let your work/style stagnate.

A very useful summary. Thank you. Now for a try…

Some great stuff here. Another exercise I find really helpful is to deconstruct and simplify structures. Essentially you take a complex image or object and break it down into its simple shapes and geometry. Most things can be broken down into cubes, spheres and cylinders. This will help artist gain a great understanding of the object, and makes it easier to draw something in the future 🙂

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