Tracing is so much more than just tracing

My son loves tracing pictures.  He will often stick a colouring page up on one of the sliding doors, stick a piece of paper over and trace the picture.  Now I know tracing is NOT the same as drawing, it is not a picture that he drew but I have always maintained that tracing a picture does “teach” him a lot.

He gets familiar with the shape of different items, the way the lines curve and join together, even how objects are bigger closer and smaller further away (yes he actually commented on that once while he was tracing a picture) and he often chats about what he is tracing – “Mom this must be a blue shark because it is ………..” or “Mom look I can  tell this is a whale because of its tail.” He has a tendency to chat away when he is happy so it is always a good indication that he is enjoying a task when he starts chatting and telling me facts.  But most importantly for me tracing an object, any object gives him confidence, confidence that the object he just traced is not that hard and that he could probably draw it himself.

This past week he asked me for Shark colouring pages that he could trace.  He wanted a whole bunch of different sharks.  I found this pack – Sharks colouring pages on Twinkl (part of their paid for subscription) and I also found an extra shark page included in their FREE to download Under the Sea colouring sheet set. And he was set.

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He ended up covering the entire sliding door with traced shark pictures (and yes he even traced over a few of them more than once and combined sharks from different colouring pages onto 1 of his own – so even though he was tracing the sharks he created his own composition)

Tracing lots of different shark pictures

And a few days later he decided it was time to draw his own.  In his first few attempts he kept making the shark’s body too straight and the fins too thin and long so he went back to his wall and took all the original colouring pages down and started drawing by looking at the pictures, sometimes even retracing the way the lines curved with his fingers.  Slowly each shark he tried improved.

drawing sharks using a colouring page as a starting point. Colouring page downloaded from Twinkl Rresources

And it still did not stop there, out came the watercolour paints and he started playing around with how he could paint the sharks and create a bit of depth with darker colours

shark picture

And once he was happy with the shark, it was the Seahorses turn

Seahorse picture created by copying a FREE to download colouring page with Twinkl Resources

So yes I know tracing over pictures might seem like the easy way out but sometimes what seems easy actually builds confidence and leads to so much more.

(For those of you interested this is the Shark page and the Seahorse page that is included in the FREE to download Under the Sea set – my son actually thinks this is the best shark picture because it looks so fierce)

Free to download Under the Sea colouring pages from Twinkl Resources include this shark page and the Seahorse page


Free to download Under the Sea colouring pages from Twinkl ResourcesTracing over colouring pictures builds confidence and leads to more art

I have been given been given a Twinkl Resources subscription so that we can use them in our home learning and share the pages we like.  The Sharks pages were selected by my son as part of his current Shark interest


About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
This entry was posted in Art and Craft Ideas and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tracing is so much more than just tracing

  1. Anne says:

    That’s a great process! What an interesting study in how your boy learns, and what beautiful final products!!


  2. Camie says:

    This is fantastic! I love the results of the watercolors, too. My mother was once a commercial artist and I remember her light table. I loved using it to trace.

    Liked by 1 person

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