Professional Practice

Get Excited to Draw This Summer With These 8 Creative Exercises

boat drawing outside

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and alarm clocks are set for later or turned off completely. It’s summertime, and school is out for the season! Summer is the perfect time to get your creative juices flowing and make drawing a fun priority all season long. So why not break out the sunscreen and explore new ways to make drawing a blast this summer?

Keep reading for eight drawing activities to make your summer even more rejuvenating!

art supplies

Remember to keep your setup simple. Traveling with art supplies can be a hassle. Plus, overcomplicating what you may need can make it hard to start. Choose a few favorite supplies to have on the go, such as pencils, ink pens, alcohol markers, and colored pencils. You can always take reference photos for larger, messier works later. Likewise, the exercises below can lead to more in-depth pieces with more complex materials in your studio.

1. Mini Masterpieces

This July, join our Mini Masterpieces drawing challenge with Kayla Koslow and Katie Gray on Instagram! Stretch your creativity and get back into the practice of making art daily. Then, bring the drawing prompts back to your classroom this fall to engage your students. Save the prompt list below, grab a stack of sticky notes in your favorite color, swipe a drawing tool, and get ready to make your mini masterpieces! And stay tuned for some fun giveaways for art teachers who participate, tag @theartofed, and use the hashtag #aoeuminis.

mini masterpieces graphic

2. Drawing Delays

As fast-paced as life (and our classrooms!) can be, there are times we find ourselves waiting. We wait in lines or for service at airports, train stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Why not draw during these delays? Keep a small pad and pencil with you and draw your surroundings or the people you see. If you have a long car ride, draw some of the passing landmarks. Put some tracing paper over the window and quickly capture the contour lines of the landscape while you are moving.

sketchbook and pen

3. Stroll and Sketch

Summertime has longer daylight hours for more outdoor physical activity. Walking around the neighborhood can provide many opportunities for fun drawings. Have a blast discovering new or old things to draw as you get your steps in. While you stroll, try drawing your local town hall, old homes, and cemeteries, or keep up your perspective drawing skills.

nature trail drawing

4. Crunchy Composition

Are you hankering for a different type of drawing experience? Try out some delicious still-life drawing activities. Bake a cake or batch of cookies, or slice up some fruit! Lay them out on the table and invite some art friends over for a drawing party. After sketching, start snacking! Or, take your drawing materials to your favorite restaurant, cafe, or diner. Be sure to snap some pictures of your meal or drink for future reference.

milkshake sketch

5. Outdoor Outlines

The outdoors calls to us during the summer. Whether we are taking a vacation or just a simple walk in the park, we can use these outdoor adventures. Do you have a favorite spot to sit by the beach? Draw some plein air sketches of it. Are you a plant parent? Take a trip to your local botanical gardens and choose a favorite flower to draw. If you enjoy furry friends, visit your local dog park and create quick pet portraits for visiting dog owners.

boat drawing outside

6. Museum Models

Take a sketchbook to a museum during your summer vacation and draw the sculptures interacting with one another, or copy some paintings. Add funny hats, facial expressions, or outfits to famous works as you draw to keep things entertaining.

sculpture on pedestal

7. Discreet Doodles

Remember the days of gesture drawing during your undergraduate program? Gesture drawings are great for timed, quick drawing practice. Bring back these drawings and use people around you as models. Take your pencil and sketch pad to the mall, park, or library. Set a stopwatch or timer and pick someone to draw! You can choose to keep the drawings discreet or give them to the people as a gift after you finish sketching.

quick portrait drawings

8. Surprise Supplies

Summer can provide more downtime than during the chaotic school year. This gives us time to try new materials or reintroduce ourselves to old favorites. If you haven’t used oil pastel in a few months, break in a new set. If you’re new to the world of charcoal, watch the Drawing Using Charcoal Pack in PRO Learning and give it a go! We can even try unconventional materials or drawing practices for a fresh perspective and end product. Take a peek at this article for some supplies to kick off with.

neon oil pastels

For more artmaking activities that go beyond pen and paper, browse the Nourishing Your Inner Artist Playlist in PRO Learning. Use some of your summer break to catch up on your artistic practice and skills. Learn a new technique or brush up on a medium from your past. Then, take your discoveries into the classroom to your students this fall!

Nourishing Your Inner Artist

Summer is the ideal time for art teachers to relax, recharge, and get creative. Make drawing a fun priority to improve your skills, and have a blast while doing it. Whether you’re drawing with unexpected materials or exploring new outdoor locations, there are countless ways to keep your passion for art alive throughout the sunny season. So don’t let the summer sun fry your artistic ambitions—keep your cool, grab your sketchbook, try out some of these fun ideas, and let your creativity run free!

What drawing activities will you try this summer? 

How can drawing help us be stronger art teachers?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Rebekah Hower

Rebekah Hower, a middle school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about creating an engaging and relevant environment for students to discover and experiment.

More from Rebekah