Collaborative Turtle Drawing

My New Year’s Resolution of creating something at least once a week is chugging right along with great success.  Both kids went down for a nap at the same time (!) yesterday, and I managed to get started on a still life drawing in color pencil, which I will show you at a later time.  Greta came creeping down the stairs while I was about half way through this drawing.  She climbed up on a stool next to me, still dazed from sleep, to see what I was working on.  She proceeded to trace her finger over the areas I had already added color to, and ask me, “How you do this, Mommy?”  It was then I realized that she didn’t remember the last time she had seen me work on my own art.  I have only worked on my own art after she was in bed, and I have drawn things for her at her art table, but she did not recall Mom making her own art.

I explained to her that I make artwork on my own sometimes and that I was using color pencil and drawing from observation, meaning I was looking at a something while I drew it.  She asked me if she could draw something in my drawing book with my pencils.  I flipped to a new page and asked her what it was she wanted to draw.  Her reply was, “A turtle.”  Greta is just a little fascinated with turtles and even calls her brother a turtle.  She was also a turtle for Halloween this past year, and we created a detailed papier mâché turtle shell, something which I now realize I never did get around to posting.

She then asked me to find an image of a turtle on my phone, because, “It is easier to draw when I look at it.”  I found two turtle images for her to look at, one of which was eating a strawberry.


My sweet 3-year old used my drawing pencil to draw this outline.  Then, she told me I should color it in.  I was a proud art teacher mama to see how big and confidently she drew this turtle outline!

turtle.collabShe politely asked me to add the strawberry and asked if she could color in that part.  I obliged and colored in the remaining parts of the turtle.  I have to say, this was one of the more exciting artworks I have done in a long time.  I was thrilled to make this artwork with her and have been hoping for just this kind of collaboration for a couple of years now – ever since a friend directed me to the blog post on the Busy Mockingbird, on Collaborating with a 4-year old.


Published by Chelsea

Art teacher by day. Mother of 2 - day and night. Thrifter, crafter, artist, baker, chef, and DIYer in free time.

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