Draw What You See

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The object of this class is to impress on the kids the necessity to “draw what you see…not what you know,” when copying a print or photo.  One example I give the kids is, “You know that the animal has two eyes, but only one is shown, so only draw what you see.”  That sounds easy enough, but it’s surprising how “what we know” can get in the way.  I gave each of the kids a copy of an animal that they were to copy, but they had to draw it upside down with only half of the picture showing at a time.  Tell them that they can’t look at the picture right side up at any time—until their drawing is finished.  (This is not an easy rule to enforce, but keep insisting on the rule.)  The fifth grade students got really involved in this project, and were surprised at the results.

The site where I got these pictures is no longer available, but there are nice choices to use instead at Kids Coloring Pages  or  Super Coloring.  At the bottom of this article I have included a list of the pictures I used.  I cut off the bottom of the pictures, where they show close up views.  Then I folded each of the pictures in half, horizontally.


  • White paper (8 ½” x 9”)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser


  1. Measure down 4 1/4” down from the top of the white paper and lightly draw a line across the page.
  2. Fold the animal picture in half, horizontally.  With the bottom of the picture showing, start at the top of the white paper and draw “what you see.”  Don’t look at the image right side up until the drawing is completely finished.
  3. When you have finished drawing the bottom of the image, turn it over and continue drawing the rest of the image to the bottom half of the drawing paper.
  4. Optional:  At another art session, have the students draw the picture as they normally would, right side up.  Compare the two drawings.  Are they more aware of the lines in the drawing after having only drawn lines the first time—the second time they are drawing an animal.

5th Grade Projects Gallery:



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