Illustration of 2 butterflies, 8 bugs, and berries, both red and white.

Butterfly, Caterpillar, Moth, Insects, and Currants, about 1650–1655, Jan van Kessel II. Gouache and brown ink, over underdrawing in metalpoint, on vellum, 5 1/8 × 6 11/16 in. 92.GC.50. Digital image courtesy of Getty Open Content

English sculptor Henry Moore once said: “Drawing, even for people who cannot draw, even for people not trying to produce a good drawing, makes you look more intensely.” The practice of drawing can help us to see and understand our worlds better. Even young children start to draw as soon as they can drag their fingers through the sand.

Seventeenth-century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian used drawing to study the life cycles of insects starting when she was only 13 years old, and through her close-up explorations was one of the first naturalists to understand metamorphosis. Similarly, Michelangelo used drawing as a way to study the human body, making detailed sketches of muscles, bones, and even blood vessels.

Drawing together with your children is a great way to connect with each other and with your environment, to look and see together, and to build a little humor into your day. Whether you’re an experienced artist or someone who rarely picks up a pencil, you can see your world through a new lens by drawing—and also have some fun while you’re at it.

Concerned your drawings may not be very good? No worries—it’s a great opportunity to model persistence and patience for your children! Best of all? No need to go shopping—just a pencil or pen, and any scrap of paper will do!

Below, we share inspiration from art and artists in the Getty collection to guide you through five activities.

1. Draw a Hairdo

Cameo portrait of woman facing right, with long curly hair and a frilly striped top.

Portrait of a Young Lady in Profile, about 1783–1785, Henri-Pierre Danloux. Black chalk and gray wash, 9 5/16 × 8 1/16 in. 96.GB.21. Digital image courtesy of Getty Open Content

Draw a portrait of yourself or a member of your family—but add an imaginary or whimsical hairdo. Check out these portraits of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield and Louis XIV for hairstyling inspiration.

2. Find a Tiny Creature

Extreme closeup of a bug

Stag Beetle, 1505, Albrecht Dürer. Watercolor and gouache; upper left corner of paper added, with tip of left antenna painted in by a later hand, 5 9/16 × 4 1/2 in. 83.GC.214

Find a tiny creature outside your front door; you shouldn’t have to go far. Maybe it’s an ant or a spider. Take a photo with your phone—quick! before it crawls away—then try to sketch it from your photo. For inspiration, take a look at Maria Sibylla Merian’s The Caterpiller Book, Man Ray’s butterflies, and Durer’s stag beetle.

3. Celebrate Spring!

Illustration of three pink flowers with green stems and leaves

Studies of Peonies, about 1472–1473, Martin Schongauer. Gouache and watercolor, 10 1/8 × 13 in. 92.GC.80. Digital image courtesy of Getty Open Content

Draw a flower. No flowers nearby? Check out Monet’s Still Life with Flowers and Fruit or Martin Schongauer’s Studies of Peonies.

4. Draw your Pet (Real or Imaginary)

Large white horse with dappled gray hindquarters and a long mane and tail.

A Dappled Gray Stallion Tethered in a Landscape, about 1584–1587, central European. Watercolor and gouache, heightened with silver and gold, within gold framing lines, on vellum, 7 11/16 × 10 13/16 in. 2013.57. Digital image courtesy of Getty Open Content

Make a portrait of your pet—or the pet you wish you had. See how other artists celebrated their pets in this portrait of a majestic pet and this portrait of an extra cuddly friend. If you’re into horses, here’s some inspiration, and here’s a selection of some of the best cats in the Getty collection.

5. Use Short Lines

Head and shoulders of bearded man wearing a cap that says Postes across the band.

Portrait of Joseph Roulin, 1888, Vincent van Gogh. Reed and quill pen and brown ink, over black chalk, 12 5/8 × 9 5/8 in. 85.GA.299. Digital image courtesy of Getty Open Content

Pick an object in your home—any object will do! Now, try to draw it by using only a bunch of short parallel(-ish) lines. Observe how Vincent van Gogh made an entire portrait using only short lines. Be patient! This challenge may take a few tries.

Let us know how it goes, and share your inspiration in the comments!