I am part of Timberdoodle’s review team and received this copy of Cognitive Drawing for review purposes. I received no compensation for this post.
Why Drawing Should Be Taught as a Core Class
Now here’s an unpopular opinion. I think every school should teach drawing as a core subject and not as an elective or art. Think about it. Drawing is, essentially, communicating with marks on paper just like writing. We draw to communicate and to pass on information. How many times in your adult life have tried to explain something to someone and wished you could just draw it out, but you “aren’t good at drawing”?
We would have no building blueprints, clothing patterns, or patents without drawing.
But I’m No Good At Drawing. I’m Not Creative. I’m Not Artistic
If we can reframe drawing as communication, rather than some ephemeral gift some have and others don’t, we will all benefit. Think about it. We expect every student, barring some major issues, to learn to read and write at a basic level. Most adults can hold a pencil and communicate through writing. So why do we believe that drawing is a magical talent some have and some don’t? I’m not talking about award-winning art here, just the ability to communicate through drawing. I believe 100% that these skills can be taught because I’ve seen them work with my own children.
Cognitive Drawing Workbook
I am so excited to be reviewing the Cognitive Drawing Workbook. I have used a variety of books over the years to teach my children the basics of drawing. You can see both the books we’ve used and the amazing progress my children made in this post, The Best Books to Learn to Draw Realistic Portraits at Home.
The Cognitive Drawing Workbook takes the student through each step of the drawing process. You aren’t just picking up tips and tricks, but training your brain to see and recreate an object.
According to Timberdoodle’s website, “Suppose you want to develop long-term memory on a particular topic. A proven method is to replicate the facts or image from recall, check your work, and repeat as you progress through new information. Referred to as the testing effect, this is the basis of Cognitive Drawing, and it is a unique approach to learning to draw anything from memory. Developed by a former Hollywood artist, Cognitive Drawing will guide your teen through the steps necessary to quickly improve his drawing ability.”
How Cognitive Drawing Works
In the first lesson, you look at a drawing of a leaf and then cover it and draw it from memory (you can see Apollo’s first attempt in the photo above). Next, you draw the leaf again, this time looking at the picture. Then, you cover all of your previous drawings and draw it from memory again. Next, you draw it a final time looking at the example image. The progress 11-year-old Apollo made in a singe session was incredible!
Cognitive Drawing works on a combination of practice, brain training, and memory work. You (or your student) will make progress with this method.
Cognitive Drawing Workbook is a 90-day program, though you can certainly go through it faster or slower if you want. Each day is broken down into clearly laid out instructions. The comic book style is fun to look at keeps the mood light.
Special Features of Cognitive Drawing
One of the best features of this book is that you can jump right in and start with no prep. There are no long, complicated instructions to follow. Page one literally begins with four simple rules, and then the student is ready to begin drawing.
Age Recommendation for Cognitive Drawing
According to the Timberdoodle website, this book is appropriate for ages 8 and up. I personally think most eight-year-olds would struggle become frustrated. Not because the instructions are difficult, but because most don’t have the fine motor skills for this level of precision.
Easy-to-Follow Comic Book Type Instructions
My 11-year-old son, Apollo, is using this book. He could easily work through it on his own but prefers for me to work alongside him. Because of this, I read each section, and stay beside him as he draws. Having said that, a child age ten or old who is a confident reader could easily work through this course independently.
Built-In Flap on Cover
The cover of this book has a flap built in (see photo above) for you to use when the directions require you to cover an image and draw from memory.
This is a single-use workbook and I know you frugal mamas out there are doing the math in your head at $25 a pop…but when you compare this to the price of 90 art lessons, I think you will find this a bargain.
Because Cognitive Drawing is a bound workbook, your child will have a convenient portfolio as they work through the course. No need to store work or progress in a file somewhere, it is all right here in the book.
A Thorough Drawing Class
Cognitive Drawing is broken down into 90 daily lessons. As you probably know as a homeschooler, your child can work through the book faster or slower. The book does recommend not doing more than two lessons a day (and I agree) because you are literally training your brain to see and recreate images and the fatigue can be real. Apollo happily worked through the first two lessons on his first day.
As a homeschooling mom who has used many different art and drawing books over the years, I recommend this for ages 10 and older with no reservations. I think kids younger than ten will likely struggle, not with the instructions, but with their results.
Cognitive Drawing can be purchased alone, but is also part of Timberdoodle’s 11th Grade Curriculum Kit.