Observational drawing of a peacock feather inspired by Ursula Kolbe


I have attended the presentation of, and read the books of Ursula Kolbe ursulakolbe.com. In her book she has this example of drawing an item from observation. It’s a peacock feather!


She talks about how drawing from observation develops the child’s ability to look intently. That they may be drawing in order to learn and understand.

Their marks may be direct and precise, no longer random but meaningful. We see the development of figurative drawing as shapes begin to resemble people, animals and things.

For a child drawing can be the quickest and most direct way a child can make their ideas visible. It becomes a language that enables children to share their thoughts with others.

They can also experiment with a variety of mixed media to reproduce what they see.

Gather a variety of peacock items to put on display which could include peacock feathers, photos, watercolour paintings and a drawing of peacocks. This is in addition to an ongoing collection of bird feathers.


The colours and textures invite the children to really look at the feathers. They can be offered the opportunity to draw what they see. Ask the question …”How would you draw that?” as an invitation.


If a child is examining something, either visually or physically I often ask. “How would you draw/make that?” If the media is to hand and attractivly presented (or just a simple pencil and paper)  the child may take up the opportunity.

img_9456 Cut out paper shapes.

Who have you been inspired by recently?

Lucy x



One thought on “Observational drawing of a peacock feather inspired by Ursula Kolbe

  1. There is something so very charming about the drawings of young children! I did an activity a while ago where I invited Cycle One children to draw the tall flowering spike of an aloe plant. I gave them tall, thin scraps of thick black card and soaked chalk. As I watched each child in my group drawing, with deep concentration and intense focus on their subject, I was reminded, just as you say in your post, of the value of observational drawing for young children. For me, that heart of that value is in the way observational drawing encourages the young child to look…really look… quietly and carefully. Great post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s