Monday, 4 March 2013

Try this! The split image drawing challenge

(Or a clever way to entertain your little ones on holiday or a rainy weekend).

Featured on The Crafty Crow!

I’m a keen pinner. 

One of the boards I curate is a collection of images that I know my daughter would love to see, she loves scrolling through, clicking on certain images to make them larger; she’ll often sit with paper and pencil in hand in front of the screen and try and draw what takes her fancy from Pinterest that day.

Some of the pins are activities.  I pin the images into her board and let Sylvie come upon them herself and ask me, “Mummy can we make this?”  We’ve done quite a few of the activities I’ve pinned for her and in the next little while I’ll publish the accounts of how we fared.  They certainly don’t look like the original pinned image, but we had fun taking on the challenge and Sylvie is always very proud of her efforts.

Please have a look at ‘Things to thrill Sylvie’ and follow this board if you're keen to see more happy projects to organise and make with your children.  I'm always collecting new ideas and things to do with Sylvie.

The original pin that inspired this project shows a small fraction of an animal and the challenge therefore is to expand the cutting into an entire image.  

                                                    Pinned from fellow pinner Alayna Wolf

I modified the challenge to a complete split down the centre of the image, and the instructions following explain how to prepare a split image challenge for your child.

Splitting an image down the centre is a traditional art school exercise designed to free the student artist from the topic (ie ‘what’ to draw/paint) and allow the student to concentrate and develop technique, that is, recreating the image accurately through line and colour.

Really this means that you could prepare two images and see how you, as a parent manages.  Adults are more particular about the line they create and in most cases, you’ll see the difference between the freedom of line in your child’s drawing and the tighter, more restricted style of an untrained adult’s drawing.  This will really give you an insight into the thrilling permission children give themselves when they draw.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Here is the first post of the results from Sylvie’s own projects inspired by Pinterest. 

The split image drawing challenge
(Suitable for ages 5 & up)

To make one split image you will need:

3 sheets of plain A4 copy paper
glue stick

Step 1
Find a suitable image in Google images (make it something that delights your child).  It needs to have a strong silhouette and nice clear lines and preferably be on a plain white background.  Examples here are a chameleon and a Chihuahua.  We also did a bee and a grasshopper, but this would work really well with ships and cars, trains and planes too.

Step 2
Re-size the image to the largest size that fits on an A4 sheet and print out (in colour is good if you think your child would like to take the second step and either paint/colour-in the image).

Step 3
Take a ruler and mark where to cut the image in half, and then cut the print out along this line (into 2 pieces).  You could also simply fold the image in half exactly and cut along the fold.

Step 4
Stick each cut out onto a piece of A4.

Step 5
Ask your child to draw the other half and have the print out of the other half nearby for them to work from.  Repeat for the other side.

Step 6
Paint with watercolour or colour in.

Step 7
Show them the magic trick of joining the images together by folding on the dividing lines between the child’s image and the print out.  You can see either a complete image of the print out, or more magically, a complete image of the child’s drawing.
Sylvie absolutely loved this!

You could also bookmark this project as something you could utilise as children’s amusement whilst travelling.  A few weeks ahead prepare a bundle of images and give your child one or two a day, they’re light, take very little space to pack, are inexpensive and best of all, are highly entertaining for your little one!

PS (If travelling, I would also pack a clipboard, lead pencil, coloured pencils and sharpener).


  1. Thanks for sharing this idea! I can't wait to try it with my students! Perhaps I'll try it tomorrow!

  2. :) great idea. will have to wait until kiddo is a bit older though

  3. Thank you for your kind words, I'd love to see the results. Best wishes, Lara Jane.

  4. Thanks for sharing this idea! It was a big hit with my kids, especially my eight year old.

    1. Hi Leslie, I would love to see what your 8 year old chose as a drawing subject... I'm delighted to hear this idea made for an enjoyable challenge for your child. Thank you for your feedback. Best wishes! Lara Jane.