Posts Tagged ‘magna-doodle’

drawing book

as of late, N’s days and evenings are filled with line drawings. she has found her “favorite pencil” (just a regular old yellow #2 pencil) and it’s pretty much her go-to art material these days.

in september, she began to crank out an impressive volume of line drawing, usually totaling 5-15 per day. she draws them at her “art desk” in the kitchen, usually while i am preparing meals. as she draws, she narrates what is happening in the picture, she does voices for the characters in the picture, and she describes each image to me in detail afterwards. this has almost replaced her magna-doodle habit.

the papers were stacking up on her desk, my desk, the dining room table, the kitchen counter… i put the date on the back bottom right corner of each one because each is just such a gem — way too precious not to keep and cherish forever. but how?!

"this cat is an artist all day & all night"

many of you have written to me asking how to store your child’s art. we display N’s art around our house in a gallery format in her bedroom and in frames around our house. we also create cards, giftwrap, and gifts out of N’s art. the rest we do store. i keep much of it in a large portfolio (read: two pieces of posterboard taped together on 3 sides) in the playroom closet. but these drawings were just coming too fast and too brilliantly to do that. so i got a cute binder at target and a 3-hole punch and created a drawing book in which to store these masterpieces chronologically.

my intention was that all of N’s drawings for the remainder of 2010 would go in here. you can see that by the title i put on the spine.

however, this book — the stack you see here in the photo below — is the product of just 22 days of drawing! (and my own sketchbook project‘s book has 3 little pages done. i think i should commission my little artist-in-residence to help me with that!)

a serious body of work for 3 weeks time!

most of them are with her trusty pencil, but a few get colored in.

cinderella & the prince

N makes all sorts of other art during the day, but no matter what, she cranks out the line drawings. she says she’s “writing a movie.” i think she’s well on her way to illustrating a cartoon, a flip book, or a children’s novel at the very least. i think i’m going to get her a spiral sketchbook next. have any of you tried that with your 3-year-olds?

how do you archive your child’s art? do you keep it all? aaaand, how do you get your kid to draw on the backs of the pages? (as green as we try to be and as much as N respects trees, loves using cloth napkins, etc., she cannot bring herself to draw on the back of her pages. suggestions?)


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custom doodled apparel

if you’re a regular of this blog, you know that my daughter, N, is an avid magna-doodler. for real – she spends 45-120 minutes a day on that thing. she wears them out (really, the pen tips get scratchy.) we’re on our 5th or 6th (?) one in 2 years.

the time she spends magna-doodling is no joke… so we are turning these little masterpieces into gifts! for example, you may have seen the cool custom mug we made for father’s day from a magna-doodle image.


well, my mom and stepdad are celebrating their 20 year anniversary tomorrow (whoo hoo!) N calls my mom “gwee” and my stepdad “big daddy.” for their 20 year, we made them little anniversary hats. (and, of course, a handmade card.)

it’s easy to do this — i just took a digital photo of a magna-doodle image she drew a while back of “gwee and big daddy dancing.” i always take pics of these, for posterity’s sake. they’re so temporary and i’m not a good buddhist about such things.

the original

then i traced over her lines in pixelmator (my free version of a photoshoppy product) in order to make them less grainy. the magna-doodle has those weird cells in it that don’t translate well, so this would be better done with an actual paper and marker drawing, but i had to use what we had.

i saved that image and put it on a product of choice on — hats. they are boaters and tennis players, so albeit cheesy, i know they will actually wear these.

happily, N is doing a lot more doodling on actual paper, so the drawings aren’t as temporary as they were on the magna-doodle. in the future, i can skip the tracing step – yay!  happy 20 years, gwee & big daddy!

and seriously, if this keeps up, everyone we know will likely get a doodled tshirt or pair of boxers for the holidays this year. oh, and while you’re making cool artsy gifts on their site (no, i don’t get paid for this endorsement of cafepress or for anything else) hop over to the paintcutpaste shop on cafepress and show us some love… spread the word: you know you want a smock, tote, or sigg bottle!


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happy dad’s day!

we’ve been having fun preparing for father’s day over here…N made some papa portrait cards for her dad and grandfathers.

here are her portraits. (yep, she essentially has 4 grandfathers. modern families.)

we also turned a really cool magnadoodle image of hers…

(child's name covered for privacy)

into a great travel coffee mug for her dad on! (i love this idea of using your child’s art on everyday products. sure beats logos and advertising for other companies!)

(child's name covered for privacy)

N painted a wooden picture frame for her dad at preschool a couple of weeks ago, complete with a photo taken by her teacher.


we added the frame and the mug to a gift basket with lots of his favorite goodies.

one of N’s traditions is to make mom’s day and dad’s day signs… last year in 2009, her sign looked like this:

but this year, she was able to write and illustrate her own sign – hooray!


happy father’s day to all the dads, granddads, godfathers, uncles, and all of the amazing men who love & support our children!


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fleeting forms

i recently posted a poll on the facebook fan page (hello sweet fans! thank you for your support!!!) about what your child’s favorite art material is. my comment was that N’s favs are watercolors and crayons. what was i thinking?! most of the art done in my house is so very temporary… it’s on the MAGNA-DOODLE!

sun, person, flowers (36 months)

she adores this thing – has ever since she was about 18 months old, i recall. she has worn out the pens on at least three of them so far. by that, i mean that she draws so much with it that the coating comes off the tip of the pen and it starts to scratch the drawing surface.

"just a guy" (32 months)

i find that documenting and keeping record of N’s magna-doodle art has allowed me to really see her chronological artistic development. because it is the simplest graphic medium – black lines on a grayish-white surface – i am able to really pay attention to how her lines and forms progress without a whole lot of variables. we leave N’s out on the coffee table at all times in our house, and often that’s where she can be found. sure, the art is meant to change and move and grow and be erased and redrawn, but i encourage parents and caregivers out there to maybe take photos every week or every month over time to really witness the beauty of your child’s visual language unfolding over time. so fascinating!

some of the first people she drew (31 months)

a person, 5 weeks later (32.5 months)

a person with features, holding flower, duck, sun, cloud, groundline, and text; 3.5 months later (36 months)

i also enjoy how N tells stories while drawing on the magna-doodle. it is fun to sit and listen to her creative process unfold, as she is still young enough that her internal dialog is expressed verbally. (oh how i’ll miss hearing that as she grows older!) some of the fun magna-doodle stories have been:

"this astronaut is flying with the birds!" (33 months)

"the mommy sun is feeding pomegranates to her baby suns" (32 months)

my personal fav: the day the "balloon boy" story broke, we told N about it and this was her depiction of what happened (32 months)

another fun piece of magna-doodling is how N is using it to practice writing her letters alllll the time. she makes up words quite a bit by stringing letters together on the screen and asking me what she spelled.


kinda like vitamin? (36 months)

i woke to this one morning. melted my heart. (36 months)

the amazing graduate school i attended to study transpersonal art therapy, naropa university, was buddhist-oriented. i consider myself somewhat buddhish; however, one of the many areas where i fall short of  the whole buddhist philosophy is how to handle the transient nature of a magna-doodle image. i just can’t let go of these masterpieces that N creates. thus the obsessive photographing of this little fischer price toy, and entire web photo albums dedicated to her magna-doodle pieces on our private family site.

happy doodling!



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scribble drawing

as an art therapist, one of my favorite art interventions to use with clients is the scribble drawing. two prominent art therapists (winnecott and cane) independently came up with this technique which uses a self-made scribble as a visual starter for an image.

a scribble drawing i made as an example for N

usually the scribble is made on a large sheet of paper, and sometimes with the artist’s eyes closed. N was way into this idea when i first told her about it, so she grabbed a crayon and went to it.

after your little one makes a scribble, encourage them to look at the scribble to see if they recognize any image in it. turn the paper to all four sides, and ask “what do you see?” when i asked N about this brown one, she said, “hmmm, what do i see? this is almost like making shapes out of the clouds!!!” it totally is. exactly.  sometimes there may be a concrete, representational figure that emerges for the child. or sometimes it might be an imaginal story that comes about, which can also be fun. N saw her first brown scribble and said, “there’s a snail in there!” because we already had the watercolor paints out, she wanted to paint in the image she saw. (it’s fine to just color it in with crayons, pencils, pastels, or whatever graphic medium you have around.)

she gave the snail a crazy name, too!

after the snail, we made several more scribble drawings…

she saw a bunny in the pink scribble! (i helped trace her lines with the paintbrush on this one)

hmm... what could it be?

a girl with a beach ball, of course!

the next day, i heard N playing with her magnadoodle in the other room, saying “hmmm…. what do i see? a mouse!” a few moments later, she called me in to see the magnadoodle scribble drawing she made of “a mouse making a dress with lots of thread.” (we watched “the mouse song” from cinderella on youtube earlier that day.)

for the past few days, N has been doing scribble drawings on her own all the time with her crayons and paper. it’s like a fun little puzzle for her to solve, and exercises the imagination.

in my art therapy practice a few years ago (before N’s birth,) i loved using scribble drawings with adult clients who were often intimidated to begin making art, stating the fear: “i can’t draw.” it’s a great way for any child or adult to warm up to art, and this activity uses the imagination and taps into the unconscious mind in finding and developing a picture from the scribble initially produced.

what a useful and fun art activity! scribble away!

psst – see that little gray badge over there at the top right? you can click it daily and vote for (find us on page 1) to keep our blog in the top 50 mom bloggers! thanks for all of the support!!!


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welcome, cephalopods!

hark, the cephalopods have arrived!

we're here!

we're here!

by this i do not mean octopus or squid, mind you. i mean it in the art-therapist-who-read-my-judy-rubin way. in rubin’s book, child art therapy, she refers to early human figure drawings as cephalopods because they have a shape that stands for a head/body and arms and legs that extend out from this shape. they often have eyes, nose, mouth, and ear features. you can click here to read the excerpt on page 38.

our family

our family

according to rubin, these cephalopods usually arrive between 4-6 years of age, though they decended upon the magna-doodles and papers in our home around N’s 2 year 7 month mark. (what is it about magna-doodles? my fellow artsy momma blogger & friend just posted her daughter’s first figure drawing on her blog, and it’s also on a magna-doodle! hey, maybe go get your kid one of these and watch the cephalopods come out to play!)

little one

little one

pretty exciting stuff, so i wanted to share. i’m all for the scribbles and abstract art that comes through children so authentically, AND it’s so much fun to see representational art emerge! let me know when they descend upon your home, too.

proud artist of a human figure




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