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What Colors Make Blue?

How to Make Blue?

If you want to know what colors make blue, you may get two very different answers. The first one is simple: you can’t make blue because it’s one of the three so-called primaries. The second is a bit more complicated, but actually very interesting. So if you want to start an interesting conversation about art, graphic design or are just being curious, read on to find out how to make the color blue!

The Basic Color Wheel Explained

There are numerous theories about the color, but most of us are familiar with at least one – the color wheel, developed in 1666 by Sir Isaac Newton (he actually became a Sir almost 40 years after that). This theory explains all the colors by three basic, primary hues: red, blue and yellow. None of them can be made from other colors and every other hue you might imagine can be made by mixing two or all three primaries in right proportions.

This color wheel can be presented with a simple diagram, a color wheel of primary colors:


The so-called secondary color wheel or 6 color wheel looks like this:


Sometimes it is also called a complementary color wheell because the collors, lying on the opposites of the circle make complementaries to each other. As you already noticed, there are three other colors added – green as a mix of yellow and blue, orange as a mix of red and yellow, and violet (purple) as a mix of blue and red.

We can proceed with a tertiary color wheel, a color wheel with 12 colors:


Here we got six additional colors (blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, and red-purple) all being made by mixing one primary and one secondary color. It’s obvious we can go on and on with that, making more and more new colors. With an addition of white, gray and black we got different tints, tones, and shades as well, what leads us to next color wheel:


This kind of mixing colors is called additive color model, but in practice, we often use a subtractive color model as well. This one is based on different, although still very logical premises. It starts with a white light, which is, as you probably already know, made of different colors. These can be individually seen thanks to the dispersion.


Each color has its own wavelength and each has different speed when passing the media (in the example above, it’s a glass prism). Instead of the white mixture, we are able to see its components and with appropriate filters, we can eliminate certain colors to see just one or more of them. The printing process at computer printing is based on this idea.

We start with a white sheet of paper and then apply series of filters, so only desired color(s) can be seen. Filters in common printing are called cyan, yellow and magenta. All of them are colors already but are used in mixtures to create hues that could be seen as the end result. You probably already heard of CMY abbreviation, called after first letters of these color filters, and we’ll get back to it later.


So What Two Colors Make Blue?

If we want to print blue color, we need two filters: cyan (it eliminates red) and magenta (it eliminates yellow). Similarly, other colors can be created:


To improve the quality of printing and reduce the costs another color was added into the CYM system – black, which could be otherwise created with an application of all three basic filters. This is how today’s most known printing standard CYMK was created. There are several theories what a K means, from being the last letter in black (B is already taken for blue – B in another system, called RGB) to the most believable K for Key, the color which is in most cases applied first for outlining.

But let’s get back to the color blue. Just like all other paints a blue paint is made from a pigment dissolved in a liquid vehicle (like water or oil). Typical paint made by classic procedures is a mixture of pigments (responsible for color), resins (keep pigments in place), solvent (to regulate the viscosity of paint) and additives (for fine tuning the properties of the paint).

Here how a blue pigment, called Fra Angelico, the starting point of so popular ultramarine blue color, is prepared:

This classic blue pigment is made from semi-precious stone Lapis Azuli and is the reason why blue color was for so many centuries reserved only for rich people. Today we have an enormous number of different pigments, some of natural, other of synthetic origin.

Do you need a list of blue pigments? Just read on!


Cobalt Blue

Cornflower Blue

Egyptian Blue

Han Blue


Manganese Blue

Maya Blue

Phthalocyanine Blue

Prussian Blue

Smalt (Saxon Blue)

Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli)


Please note, some of these pigments contain toxic chemicals, especially heavy metals, so don’t play with them without prior knowledge and skills to handle them. This article is of mainly informative nature and if you want to know more about blue hues, you can simply check this list of different blue colors.

When we already have a pigment (or more pigments), the procedure goes as follows:

Please be aware of possible fumes, so take safety precautions. With this, we conclude our a bit longish answer to the seemingly simple, yet tricky question: »What makes blue?« See, colors are more of ideas than absolute facts, and each similar question can bring several right answers, all of the different logical concepts based on different perceptions.

This should not stop you from exploring the fascinated world of different colors. Have fun!

Different Shades of Blue: A List With Color Names and Codes

Can You Name All The Blue Hues, Shades, Tints, Tones And Other Variations?

There are hundreds of blue shades and we have many examples of a certain color name assigned to different HEX codes. On the other hand several blue colors are known under more than one name. We’ll try to present as many blue tints and hues as possible in slightly different arrangement as you might expect. Each color carries its own story and this article is touching dozens of them.

Blue For Trust And Authority

Blue is used to express and emphasize authority for many centuries. It is no coincidence police uniforms are so often blue or mainly of blue color. Its effect on human psychology is in most cases calming and ancient culture associated it heaven and gods. The reason is obvious: while blue is not so widespread in nature as some other colors, it dominates sky and water, two major elements in nature, both closely associated with divinity.

When King of England (George III) needed color with strong impact to immediately express royalty, several clothiers across the country tried to develop the right color and shade. Ultimately Scutts Bridge Mill won the contest. Queen Charlotte wore the robe in this color, what gave the color an alternative name Queen Blue.


#2B60DE Royal Blue

#002366 Royal Blue (Traditional)

#4169E1 Royal Blue (Web or SVG)

#0038A8 Royal Azure

#7851A9 Royal Purple

With addition of white or black we can instantly create dozens of shades and tints for the same color and with different processes of production and addition of some red or yellow inevitably followed. Especially addition of red led to dramatic changes, what can be seen at royal purple above.

Around 1950 another, lighter shade of blue became known as royal and with an introduction of computer graphics (plus numerous limitations, which were gradually changed) and so called web safe colors, we got almost more than we can handle. Simply naming colors with numbers seemed a practical idea, yet it doesn’t guarantee the standardization.

Here are a few more examples of Royal Blue:


#4876FF Royal Blue 1

#436EEE Royal Blue 2

#3A5FCD Royal Blue 3

#27408B Royal Blue 4

#3333FF Royal Blue (Safe Hex3) aka Neon Blue

We are not finished with supreme authority yet. As we already mentioned, blue is named after the queen. Palate, president, celestial and imperium all belong to that category.


#4997D0 Celestial Blue

#002395 Imperial Blue

#273BE2 Palatinate Blue

#302B54 Presidential Blue

#436B95 Queen Blue

Let’s get back to Earth and repressive apparatus where blue instantly creates the feeling of respect and authority.


#39B7CD NYPD Blue

#0BB5FF Police Strobe

#5D8AA8 Air Force Blue

#000080 Navy Blue

#5F9EA0 Cadet Blue

There are actually five more Cadet Blue colors, their names being differentiated with numbers only:


#5F9F9F Cadet Blue 1

#98F5FF Cadet Blue 2

#8EE5EE Cadet Blue 3

#7AC5CD Cadet Blue 4

#53868B Cadet Blue 5

And we can present at least five examples officially belonging to the family of navy blue colors as well!


#1974D2 Bright Navy Blue (Crayola)

#091F92 Indigo Dye

#32127A Persian Indigo

#4E5180 Purple Navy

#1D2951 Space Cadet

There are very pragmatic reasons for so many different tints of blue (or other colors). British navy blue, originally called marine blue, was slowly accepted as official color for majority of navies all over the world. But using it in harsh environment with salted water and bright sun, it always faded a bit, so several navies started to use black (believe it or not, it is available in numerous shades, too) which is significantly more resistant to weather conditions.

The final result: everything you might imagine and more!

List of Universities and Schools with Blue Uniforms

For similar reasons Schools and Universities love to include different variations of blue in their coats of arms, uniforms and here we have a selection of ten blue colors named after the prestigious schools, where they are used:


#0070FF Brandeis Blue

#A3C1AD Cambridge Blue

#7BAFD4 Carolina Blue (University of North Carolina)

#9BDDFF Columbia Blue aka Jordy Blue

#001A57 Duke Blue aka Prussian Blue (we’ll find another color with the same name later under different code)

Most of listed colleges changed colors of uniforms during centuries, so don’t be angry if you find some discrepancies among listed blues. We tried to verify each one of them at official web sites, but some of them are not updated, others offer contradictory data, and some info is simply not available.

Duke Blue offers only one of interesting stories, where they started with Yale Blue (their headmaster came from there, but after several changes decided to take #001A57 (Prussian Blue). To make things even more interesting Prussian Blue is also connected with different code (will be added later with its own story).

Columbia Blue, on the other hand, is also known under #9CDDFF and #C4D8E2 codes!


#96C8A2 Eton Blue

#002147 Oxford Blue aka Deep Cyan

#417DC1 Tufts Blue


#00356B Yale Blue

For instance, there are two HEX codes associated with it in the web: #0F4D92, also #0E4C92 for Yale Blue color. When we check the official site of Yale University, the answer is simple: #00356B, yet they allow to use blue in two pretty different shades too: #286DC0 in #63AAFF. Oxford Blue is also associated with #2F394D and #374853, and blue of University of California, Los Angeles, is connected with three more codes: #3A9AEC, #536895 in #3284BF.

To be honest – at least two of the presented colors look more green than blue to me, but, hey – who wants to get into disagreement with guys from Cambridge or Eton?

For different reasons several shades of blue color are associated with specific places or even countries.


#0072BB French Blue

#318CE7 Bleu de France

#1034A6 Egyptian Blue

#1C39BB Persain Blue

#0067A5 Medium Persian Blue

Not only countries, smaller entities like islands, harbours or even beaches gave name to specific colors of blue:


#062A78 Catalina Blue

#006DB0 Honolulu Blue

#0095B6 Bondi Blue

#517693 Malta Blue

#42C0FB Caribbean Blue

We’ll get back to water, but before that …

How to draw a rose?

So you wanna know how to draw roses, the most romantic flowers in the world?

There are several ways of drawing roses and all them are essentially pretty simple. We’ll explore some of them, going from the most easy to more difficult ones.


Have your pencil ready. You can start with a circle, continue with a spiral, add petals in several groups from inside out. Add a stem and don’t forget the thorns. Now you can erase unnecessary lines and draw the rose to the color of your choice. sounds too easy? Well, it actually is easy! If you are confident enough, you can skip the part with a pencil and go right with the pen. You can draw a rose in less than a minute!

There is another, a bit more complicated way to make internal part of the bloom, which is still very simple and perfectly suitable for beginners. Feel free to check next video as well:

If you would like to show your rose in different perspective, i have found another video with a great step by step presentation. Who said beginners can’t aim at astonishing results? Please note how much can be done with shadows!

We all know roses have kind of personality, which was explored in numerous ways in literature and other media. You can find out more about the roses with their amazing symbolism in the next article:

You can add a nice twist to your rose with application of so called kawaii style:

Although a rose is not a tiger, you can still add a little character to the picture! Cute, huh?


Or you can make it with next step by step tutorial, where you’ll find much more detailed explanations of individual steps with more in-depth instructions.


And finally one more a bit more demanding tutorial with more detailed instructions, first to draw a rose in pencil and ink, and after that with an upgrade – color it with different shades of color and red, to achieve really realistic and attractive result at the same time. Of course this tutorial is much more time consuming, but the rose will look spectacular!


Remember, there is no right or wrong way to draw a rose, because each one of them is unique and so is our perception of these gentle flowers. I hope you have find your favorite way of drawing a rose. If you decide to show it on-line, please let me know in comments section!

Colors that go well together

Colors that go together

So you wanna know what colors go good together? Well, it actually depends on the effect you want to achieve. But while in theory everything may work, in reality some colors proved to be great leading colors in certain situations (cleaning industry loves blue, which is a big no no in food industry, for instance) and same is true for certain combinations.

When you want to make a statement in sport dress, you will probably think about strong primary colors, but if you are choosing a wedding theme, anything pale (with a large addition of white) will probably work much better.

In any case, it is good to start with a color wheel. Here are the basics (and by the way, we’ll not go into details with RGB or CMY wheels, because this is way over the intention of this post):

Primary colors can’t be mixed from other colors. These are yellow, red and blue.

Secondary colors are made from two primary colors in 1 : 1 ratio. Orange is from yellow and red. Purple from red and blue. Green from blue and yellow. We can see them in color wheel exactly on the half way between yellow and red, red and blue, or blue and yellow.

Tertiary colors are combinations of two primary colors in 1 : 2 ratio. There is six combinations: orange and yellow (amber), yellow and green (chartreuse), green and blue (teal), blue and purple (violet), violet and red (magenta), or red and orange (vermilion).


Please note:
Colors on the outer circumference are fully saturated. Every inner step has higher percent of white (in this case 12,5%), what progressively makes lighter (pale) tints right to the center, where everything turns white. Red, for instance slowly turns to white through different shades of pink.

Now about the combinations. There is no definite answer, so look at the presented examples only as ideas and general directions to find you personal winner.

1. Achromatic

You don’t use colors in this case, only black, white and gray in different shades. The effect is elegant and classy, works great in business world and everywhere where we want to emphasize seriousness, loyalty and similar traditional values. It is easy on the eyes, but can soon become boring. So if we want to add a bit of drama, we can play with patterns.

2. Analogous

You take one dominant color and her closest neighbors from the color wheel. This is very often combination in nature and can work very natural on your walls, paintings or clothes. Red, orange and amber would be fine example. You need at least three colors and you have plenty of variations with saturation or tint to achieve similar effect to achromatic and monochromatic, yet having more place for playing with combinations to be more lively without sacrificing the harmony. Just don’t mix warm and cold colors or exaggerate with total number of used colors.


3. Complementary

Do you need some drama? Usage of colors which are direct opposites in the color wheel can give you exactly that. Think about red and green. Yellow and violet. Blue and orange. These color combinations are always vibrant and very effective if you want to stand out. If you want to be seen, wear green pants and red jacket. Go with pale shades of pants if you don’t want to be seen from more than one mile and use black belt to cut the contrast, if you are daring, but not showy.


4. Dichromatic

Any two colors can be used in dichromatic color scheme, but some work much better than the others. Positions in the color wheel are totally unimportant in this case. You should choose both colors after considering the final effect you want to achieve. Two color themes are quite popular for painting the walls of modern homes and most of the best combinations include pale shades of brown with other pastels (think green or purple or even blue). If you opt for more lively colors, you can very soon become too flashy.

5. Diadic

Didadic scheme is variation of dichromatic color scheme with one major limitation. You can use only colors which are separated by one (unused) color on the color wheel. Chartreuse and teal or red and purple are fine examples of this combination.


6. Monochromatic

It is  variation of achromatic scheme (or vice versa), but in this case we have one leading color (maybe blue, maybe teal, maybe green) combined with the same color in different shades or tints. This way we can achieve more lively effect than at achromatic scene or make some artistic statement. Sepia photos are great example of monochromatic scheme. Be careful – this combination lacks contrast. If you need more life in your final result, go for analogous scheme.


7. Neutral

This is combination of one neutral color (sometimes called earth tone color), what basically means brown and gray in different tints, with an addition of black or any other color which neutralize them. Neutral colors are easy on the eyes, have a soothing, relaxing effect and can go well together with almost any other color, if it is used wisely.

8. Trichromatic (and Tetrachromatic)

Any three colors from the color wheel can be used, but in reality the combination works well if one of the chosen colors is dominant and other two are used only as accent. One successful way is to have an energetic color with two (or three) pale colors to keep the balance. In this groups we can find several subgroups based on the relative positions of used colors in the color wheel: triadic or tetradic (perfect triangle or square), split complementary (two neighbors of the complimentary color to the dominant color), rectangle (like square, but with two complementary pairs), split analogous (all used colors are only separated by one unused color), primary (all three primary colors are used), secondary (all three secondary colors are used) etc.


Please note: one the picture above only the colors from the corners are used in every of the three presented situations.

We could go on and on, but you probably get the idea about the colors that go well together.

What is a mandala?

Who can define mandala?

Mandala is the expression of all life. It is the path of individuation.

Carl Jung, one of the most influential psychologist

In its simplified explanation a mandala is a symbolic representation of Universe. The word mandala comes from Sanskrit’s word for circle or completion.

kalachakra-mandala mandala-artwork

A circle always had strong symbolic meanings through human history. With its closed but also never ending line it represents limitations and infinity at the same time. The transience of one’s life which is is sentenced to end at the very moment when it begins and can also expand in virtual infinity through transfer of genes.


For many centuries a circle was and still is used as a protection symbol. Person standing inside a circle can’t be hurt by evil and unknown powers from the outside. Energy inside the circle also can’t be released across the line.

Mandala is important part of spiritual and meditating rituals in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Especially in Tibetan Buddhism many sacral objects like temples are built as giant mandalas. We can think of mandala as a kind of palace with four gates, one on the each of four sides of the world. Mandala is always constructed of several layers around the center, each layer representing kind of protective barrier which should be passed to achieve a certain virtue behind. For instance: circle of fire represents wisdom.

tibetan-mandala japanese-mandala buddhist-mandala buddha-mandala

Mandalas can be drawn, painted or built with different materials on different surfaces, but with a bit of experience we can find  them in nature as well. The basic form with a circle around the center can be found in cells, blossoms, shells, crystals, solar systems and galaxies. Even the classic model of atom can be understood as kind of mandala.

Tibetan sand mandalas are well known by their beauty. A lot of time and a lot of skill is spend to construct such mandala and it is typically relatively short lived construction, but this fact is actually important part of its charm. Simple and very satisfying family activity can be picking the pebbles of different colors on the shore and using them to make a simple mandala. Alternative materials can be incorporated as well. Just check the one with shells in the photo below!


Lately mandalas are more and more used in therapy. A construction, painting and visualization of mandalas can be powerful tool to improve one’s creativity through concentration and meditation. Coloring sheets of mandalas are very popular among adults and children. Carl Jung explained mandalas as the expression of one’s intense personal grow and his most known follower Marie Louise von Franz associated them with a need to restore of something from past or creation of something new, with both being connected through kind of ascending spiral. With addition of symbolic meanings of colors we can make thing very complex in no time at all.


To make you even closer to the topic, maybe even convince you to create something new on your own, and of course to understand even better what is mandala, I conclude this post with few coloring pages of mandalas.

print mandala printable-mandala mandala-to-print mandala-to-color mandala-printable mandala-coloring-page

How to draw manga

How to draw manga for beginners

It seems some things are inevitable in certain areas. Just like a classic painter needs to learn about watercolors, everybody who learns about drawing, sooner or later bumps into manga, one of the most popular drawing styles in the world. It looks children are particularly fond of it. If you want to help your kid at drawing (you can read about numerous benefits here), it’s very likely manga with its distinguished and appealing style can be of big help.

To warm you up, I prepared some free manga clip art:


And some quick facts about manga:

Manga market is worth billions of dollars a year with constant growing in international markets where different variations of manga were developed.

Word manga is of Chinese origin and can be translated as ‘whimsical drawings’ and is used for comics originally published in Japan. But in Japan manga is used for all kinds of cartoons and anime is used for all kinds of animated movies.

Manga cartoons are typically published in magazines (first was published in 1874) with many different series, each presented with only single episode. The most popular episodes not only survive, but can be also republished in stand alone editions and animated (what produced so called anime).

Although most of people in the West experience manga in vibrant colors, majority of this genre is produced in black and white. To achieve more visually appealing and dramatic effect, different patterns are typically used for characters, backgrounds and details.
Classic manga (published in Japan) is by no means limited to kids-only market. It deals with many adult themes and even if the profile of the reader is a child, it can be much more complex and dark than the usual comic for kids in the West.

So you want to learn how to draw manga?

Web is full of lessons, but majority of good stuff is payable. Before you dive into unnecessary expenses, I prepared few useful links to help you started. I hope you can benefit from them.

Tips on drawing faces:

Drawing hair is never easy and manga has its own special rules:

To learn more about coloring and inking manga hair, visit:

And many details, like female eyes:

When you are ready, you can develop full characters:

Then put them in action:

Beware – the lesson above is only the first in the series (link to part two is included at the bottom of the page)

O.k., that’s for start. I wish you a lot of inspiration and have fun!

Meanings of colors

Meanings of colors  …

It’s hard to imagine anything related with drawing without asking few questions about colors and their meanings. It’s obvious they posses tremendous power on our moods and can even trigger certain emotions.

This means when we use particular color, we are consciously or unconsciously making several decisions. One of them is of course revealing how we feel in certain moment and about certain theme. Painting a sun black is definitely expression of positive feelings, for instance.


Another important decision is our message. Considering drawing or painting is sort of communication, we are talking to our audience. With some skill and right set of colors we can effect their emotions too. We can depress and we can inspire.

All colors also carry important symbolism which is conditioned with history, geography and other factors. So I can provide only approximate list of colors with their meanings. Use it with caution.

List of colors with positive and negative meanings

Blue: calmness                             coldness

Red: action                                   aggression

Yellow: optimism                        childishness

Purple: luxury                             vanity

Orange: self-confidence             superficiality

Green: freshness                         inexperience

Brown: practicality                    predictability

Black: power                               evilness

Gray: timelessness                    boredom

White: purity                             emptiness

What about numerous tones and shades? Color wheels have so much more than basic colors to offer!


Well, this is certainly a theme for many hours of debate, but this post should cover the basics. Every color can be used and abused and there is time and place for both in our lives.

Thanks for your visit. Have a colorful day!

Drawing paper for kids

What kind of drawing paper is best for children?

Everything related with kids should be no brainer and choosing a paper for drawing is no exception. Quality first, right?

Well, kind of … Sure, quality is important and we all want to give only the best to our children, but in reality we almost always limited: with time, space, money, experience, … You name it!

So this post is not about the obvious theoretical part – give kids the best possible material, but rather how to make the best out of real life situation. Here are the main points to consider:

Quality counts

Yes, just like kids (and everybody else) need quality color pencils, they need quality paper too. One simple method to compare different sorts of paper is their weight. 80 g / m2 is standard office paper and it is probably a standard for children’s drawings as well. But this kind of paper is barely good for color pencils and it is not useful for markers or watercolors.


So always try to have something of better quality at least for special occasions. If you already know you need drawing sheets of better quality, try to buy them when they are on discount or get them in bulk or in roles where you can save a lot of money if you cut the sheets accordingly to your needs.

Less is more

Kids love to see a lot of different colors, but have too much at the same time will confuse them and they will make a mess of them. Twelve colors is good for start, twenty four is for advanced projects and some experiments.

Same is true with paper. Stick to one or two kinds and occasionally test something new. Sometimes try something fancy, but in most cases every change will be appreciated. Envelopes, colorful wrapping paper, old boxes, paper bags, old forms, … , everything counts!


Just don’t exaggerate. Too much of everything can be confusing.


Instead of adding new colors, you will very likely achieve more with addition of new drawing tools as crayons, chalks or temperas. Instead of adding new sorts of paper you should probably think about new surfaces like glass, pavement, wood, … All this can be endless source of inspiration.


Don’t forget collages. Kids love to explore new techniques, so a pair of scissors (well, we can make full article about them too, right?), scotch tape and some universal glue will make valuable addition to your drawing adventures. to make impressive collages, always have some old magazines handy and if you have some old playing cards, stickers and similar items, you are already on your way to create something memorable.

Drawing for beginners

“I can’t draw!” is no excuse. Everybody can learn drawing at any age. There is no guarantee he or she will become world famous artist, but just about everybody can learn to make beautiful pictures if he is only willing to put some effort in learning. Serious learning involves a teacher who can not only draw, but can also explain some basics of using the pencil and paper to produce satisfactory results.

If you want to start the adventure in the amazing world of graphic arts, try to focus on next areas:

1. Observation

Draw by observation of objects and people, not by the pictures of objects and people. Having a chance to touch the object, to follow the lines around it and than repeat the same moves with a pencil on the paper can be great practice. The most common mistake at drawing is, believe it or not, if we don’t look at object of drawing. Our brain is designed in the way we actually tend to draw the things as we think they look, not as they actually look.

Great exercise is drawing lines without watching at the paper while the pencil is still moving. With draw completely new things you can avoid ‘prejudices’ you brain already has on many everyday objects. After a while you will learn to observe known objects in completely new light.

observation is first step at learning to draw

2. Imagination

Encourage drawing of imaginary beings and events. Ability to draw is closely related with ability to observe. If you can’t notice the details, you really can’t draw them. This can be trained really well, but don’t forget the iamginary part without which a drawing can’t become an art piece. This means drawing from imagination, experimenting with shades and colors, using different drawing techniques …

Show great examples of the work only after practice. If you do that before, our mind is designed to copy and this will not help to imaginary part of the brain.

3. Use proper tools

There are many drawing tools available and some of them are designed to make the process of drawing as easy as possible. But you should never skip the basics. This means graphite pencils grade B (B stands for soft, H for hard pencils), soft white plastic eraser and white paper.

Charcoal, chalk, water colors, crayons, markers, color pencils are all great, all can serve different purposes, but learning in general starts with a graphite pencil. It is as simple as that.

When you master the basics, the world is your oyster. You may even try yourself at silverpoint technique!

4. Help

Good teacher will help pupils with asking questions, not giving explicit instructions. Children who acquired skills through answering the questions (which should not be too direct), will improve faster and become much more self confident.

It is of course absolutely clear there will be no progress without some criticism. Good critic will always find a way to praise at least some aspect of the work before he draw attention to mistakes. Devastating criticism in never constructive, it can only demoralize the student.

5. Practice

More is still better. But you should always make it fun, never boring. Practice details, every great picture is made of tiny details, so there is always a way to find small, doable projects, where improvement can be visible and useful in relatively short time.

Don’t spend too much time on correcting mistakes. Try to use them as a source of inspiration. Errors initiated many great inventions!

How to improve pencil grip?

Improving pencil grip…

Correct pencil grip is one of most important factors in developing fine motor skills of every child. For wide variety of reasons many kids hold pencils and other drawing tools awkwardly, with too many fingers, with wrongly placed fingers (for instance with a thumb on the top or bottom of other fingers), with crooked wrist and so on.

All these incorrect techniques learned in early age can be a problem in later developmental stages, typically shown in grade school at learning to write letters. Children with incorrect pencil grasp development can have pretty hard time in school for very simple reason – their hands become tired much sooner than they should be.

Most parents know about tripod pencil grip which can be easier to achieve with triangle pencils pencils. There is also quadropod pencil grip (with additional support of the pencil by ring finger) which is also marked as ‘correct’, although it allows slightly lower mobility.

How to help a kid with crooked grasp or any other problematic sort of grip?

First we should know how old is a child. If it already knows how to write, if doesn’t have problems with speed, if the grip is not painful or limit child’s abilities to write in any other way, don’t waste time and energy on fixing something what apparently already works well.

For younger children is probably worth a try to improve the grip. But there is still one simple rule: don’t force, make it playful. There are numerous tools (triangle pencil is just a start) which can be used to achieve the ultimate goal and couple of nice little helpers are shown in the video below:

In the same video you can also learn how to make one of these powerful tools in very simple way.

And there are few specific exercises which proved to help improving pencil grip through many years of experience. Remember, this is only a small selection. You probably already know how can making different objects from playdough or stringing beads improve a grasp. All hand play activities can be helpful and every child is a specific story.

1. Use clothes pegs, plastic tweezers to pick small objects like beans, grains, coins or pebbles. Pick them from the tale and release them in a bottle. This should be done with thumb and index finger, not with thumb and any of other fingers! If you want to make it more difficult, mix two sorts of objects and tell the kid to sort two bottles. Something similar Cinderella had to do if she wanted to the ball.

2. Tearing and crumpling paper is great exercise for strengthening different groups of muscles of one’s hand. Pieces of paper can be used it all sorts of projects. Kids will make a ball spontaneously. To add a bit of difficultness, encourage him to make it with one hand only. Then with the other hand. And finally with fingers only.

3. With scissors a whole new world of activities opens. Kids love to cut out different shapes from magazines, or simply cut paper to pieces. Next step is of course to sort small pieces by colors and shapes and glue them into interesting mosaics.

mking mosaics can improve different hand skills

4. Talking about mosaics – collect a lot of pebbles, sort them by colors and try to make a mandala. You can start with a nice picture, drawn with a chalk. Drawing with chalks on the pavement or similar surface is great to develop proper hand movements with a whole hand what can be gradually transferred in fine motor skills.

make mandala for exercise

5. Transfer water from full container to the empty container with a sponge or more sponges. This is great exercise for strengthen a wrist. Toys like Lego bricks, playing cards, puzzles will improve fine motor skills in variety of ways as well.

6. Coloring pages are great way to measure the progress. If you can put them on vertical surface, different muscles will have to cooperate and fine motor skills will improve accordingly. Using short pencils or crayons will force children to use their fingers more efficiently.

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