Teaching Kids With Disabilities to Paint With an Electric Toothbrush

For children who have multiple disabilities, sensory input and stimulation of certain muscles directly are essential towards helping them learn how to perform some physical activities on their own.

An example of this would be a child with Rett’s syndrome. They need massage therapy of the core muscles of the legs in order to assist them in going from a sitting to a standing position. By massaging and applying deep pressure, the muscles are encouraged to wake up and perform the job they were designed for. When a child has difficulty in recognizing their own hands and how to reach for thing, drawing and writing in different mediums can help stimulate the necessary muscles. One way in which therapists have success in this is with using an electric toothbrush to draw with as a precursor to developing other fine motor skills.

What You Will Need

If you think that your disabled child will benefit from this type of therapy, first purchase the following:

  • Electric toothbrush
  • Shaving cream
  • Paint
  • Toothpaste

Now you should choose the medium you think that your child will be most responsive to and place it in front of your child with the electric toothbrush. If your child can, have them turn the toothbrush on, if not you can do that step for them. Now have your child begin to “draw” using the electric paintbrush and the medium they chose. It is that vibrating feeling from the toothbrush that is helping to stimulate the muscles, so make sure you don’t use a regular toothbrush.


Other Variations of the Therapy to Try

As you continue with the therapy, and your child gets used to the sensation, you can try different variations for more benefit:

  • Use an easel to increase wrist extension and build leg muscle strength
  • Use rubber bands or a foam noodle around the handle to make the electric toothbrush easier to hold
  • If you use toothpaste you are also increasing the sensory experience because the minty smell gets stronger as your child brushes it
  • Add food dye to shaving cream to make it colorful
  • Change the paper and use things like bubble wrap, tin foil or even fabric
  • Keep your child engaged in the activity by treating each finished work as an art piece and displaying it prominently where all can see it.
  • Let your child see how the electric toothbrush is really supposed to work by mixing some soapy water and allowing them to clean something like a large rock.
  • Buy a separate electric toothbrush and let your child use that one on their teeth. You can check review sites for a good one that is specifically designed for children.

Before begin therapy at home, make sure you discuss it with your child’s primary physician. While this is a common way to help with motor development in the hands, each case is different and your child could have special health circumstances that do not fit with this type of therapy

Using Microsoft Paint to Help You Learn How to Draw

For laptop and PC owners who are relying on one of the Microsoft programs to run their computer systems, there is a neat accessory that many people don’t know about or don’t understand. The simple paint application found with Microsoft is actually a handy tool that you can use to help you learn how to draw anything your imagination thinks of.

What is Microsoft Paint?

With Microsoft Paint you are able to draw, color and edit a picture. Think of it like a digital sketchpad that can help you create a picture or creative project. It can even be used to add text and designs to your photographs that you have downloaded onto your computer.

You’ll find Microsoft Paint under accessories in the tool bar, or by clicking the start button, all programs and then accessories. Once opened, it will appear as an empty document, similar to a word document that has just been created with all of your tools located across the top of the page.

From here you can use a number of tools to help you create pictures. A pencil will work for example just like a real one would, except that you are controlling its movements through your mouse. You can even change its color in the tools menu or make it bolder for effect.

Why Use Microsoft Paint When Learning to Draw

A lot of learning how to draw realistically is figuring out how objects are proportioned and then putting that down on paper. For example, you may think you know what your dog looks like and can draw it well, but once you start most people find that the distances between key features is off. With Microsoft Paint you can experiment with those differences freely without wasting a ton of paper.

It is also extremely helping in developing your skill at changing expressions on people and animals. Going back to your dog, say you wanted to capture that moment when he is zapped by your wireless pet containment system. You can practice raising the eyes, and opening the mouth on the face to portray that momentary surprise. You can also practice abstract concepts, like drawing your dog as if he is wistfully looking past the best wireless dog fence in your yard to make his way past it. Here you can play with an entire drawing, adding a street and maybe a cat on the other side that the dog is trying to chase. For an animated picture you could even use small lightening bolts coming out of the ground to show the perimeter of the wireless pet containment fence.


What makes Microsoft Paint so great is its simplicity. You are able to draw, paint and erase at will and even save and print successes to reference to when you are ready for the real thing. Since your PC likely already has the program installed, why not take advantage of it to further your skills as an artist.

The Science Behind Drawing a Realistic Looking Face

Drawing a face that looks realistic is often a challenge for an artist, and one of the reasons why they are often seen in paintings as abstract or surreal. Portrait painters have a special knack for this, as they have studied extensively the make up of the human face.

Before stressing out about having to learn to draw something as complex as the face, consider that it is made up of simple shapes, just like anything else you draw or paint. Once you have identified those shapes, drawing faces will become much easier for you to accomplish.

The Steps Towards Drawing a Face

In addition to common shapes, there are standard measurements that apply to almost all human faces. Once you combine that knowledge with the shapes, you will be wondering why you were ever so worried about drawing faces.

Start with a basic oval shape to make things easier for learning at first. Now place your eyes. Here is the first standard measurement, eyes are not located in the upper portion of a face, but rather right at the center. You can then use the eyes as a standard for the ears as the ears are always in line with them.

Now cut the bottom half of the oval in two and draw the nose in the top portion. The remaining piece should be halved one more time, with the mouth in the upper portion. This is the easiest way to draw a face that is symmetrically proportioned to the way a human face is. Once placed, you should see an equally sized triangle formed between the two eyes and the nose while the outer edges of the eyes fall in perfect line with the outer edges of the mouth.

how-to-draw-a-human-face-step-7_1_000000040809_3Now that you have the basics in place, you can add those extra characteristics that make each face unique. Play with the shape if your subject has a more round or heart shaped face. Add eyelashes and brows to the eyes, and the right curvature to the lips.

If you are drawing a man you may also need to be considering different types of moustache and beard styles they are wearing. Use your pencil like you would a beard trimmer in order to get the right look that your subject is wearing. For practice, you can just draw random faces you see on beard trimmer review sites, just to get a feel for how facial hair should look when drawn.

Instead of stressing yourself about drawing faces, take these guidelines and apply them to simple doodling at first. The more relaxed practice you get for drawing faces, the more it will begin to feel like second nature to you.

Step by Step Instructions for Drawing Food that Looks Good Enough to Eat

We have all seen the Fall cornucopia illustrations with delectable fruits spilling over, or the simple drawing of a glass of wine that makes your lips purse in thirst. How is it that an artist is able to make these portraits so appetizing with pencil, paper and water color? Drawing realistic food is not as easy as it seems, and requires months of practice before you can even begin to get it right.

In the real world, it is more than our eyes that look at food. All of the senses are affected, especially the sense of smell. In order to get your food painting right, you need to remember that and use is to your advantage.

As a subject for artwork, you really can’t beat food. It’s appealing universally and won’t move around when you are trying to capture its essence. Still it is can be a challenge. Just like with cooking it, sometimes you can create something that is recognizably mouthwatering, and other times you create nothing more than a hot mess.

There is a reason why there are no pictures of Brussels sprouts adorning the walls of fine art museums. Artists know that when drawing food, it is important to stick with what they know and like, and there are not too many of them extolling the virtues of that little green veggie. When choosing food for your subject, pick something you know and love and are intimately familiar with.

Southern American artists understandably have a knack for drawing fried foods that you just know are crispy if only you could touch it. That comes from their familiarity with anything that comes out of a deep fryer. These artists have brought genius to coming up with the varying shades of tan and brown that you see after dropping a battered chicken leg into a deep fryer.

pancakesWith some foods, like ice cream for example, you have to add some other elements to ensure that the viewer knows what it is they are looking at. A bowl of chocolate ice cream is not very appealing in print until you add some whipped cream and throw a cherry on top. Accessorizing your food drawings is often what will make them visually appealing.

Play with the colors and blend them to make the food more realistic looking. If you study a red apple, you are going to see that it is not entirely red all over. There are changes in the shades that you should emulate in your painting. Study your food subject carefully, with your eyes, hands and nose, to make it look as close to the real thing as possible when you put it down on paper.

Many artists view food drawing as simplistic and even amateurish, but that is far from the truth. Trying to capture the essence of something that we care so much about is a difficult feat to accomplish. Give yourself plenty of time to master this skill and you are going to more than pleased with your palate pleasing paintings.

Learn How to Draw Sensations Like Smell, Taste and Touch

Outside of what we can see are our sensations, which work at enhancing our physical world. These include smell, sound, touch and hearing. Excellent drawings are able to evoke these sensations, otherwise it would be a boring means of expression.

It may seem impossible to evoke the sound of a police siren, the feel of a hot bath, or the smell of fresh cut flowers, yet when we look at work from the masters, they are doing just that without us even realizing it. You can smell the green grass that lies in Mona Lisa’s background even as you are gazing on her relentless stare.

How Do You Draw Sensation?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the methodology will differ from artist to artist. But one of the most often used methods is to paint or draw as the sensation is being stimulated on you. Do you want to depict the sound of rain on a rooftop? Draw it during a summer storm. Are you trying to depict the soft feel of a bunny’s fur, pet one before you put pencil to paper.

Recently I wanted to paint an aromatic field of wildflowers as a gift for my mother. Being the middle of winter, I was not about to go out and sit in one, but I was able to evoke the smells using essential oils and a diffuser. Picking on a variety of floral essential oils like rose, lavender, and peony, I was able to close my eyes and imagine that I was dead center in the middle of this imaginary field. The second my eyes were opened, I was able to create that image on the canvas in such a way that the assumed aroma was intoxicating.

Drawing textures for the sense of touch can be difficult as well, and best achieved by physically handling a similar object. Beach painters for example do this all of the time, gripping sand and letting it trickle out of the fingers in order to evoke the way it feels between your toes.

As you practice in your drawing, you will get better at drawing sensations. Just keep at it, and try working on only one at a time. You are going to find that once you do master a sensation, the others will be easier as you have now developed a process.

Use your imagination and let it flow from your art medium, and you will find that over time, these skills become second nature. This may not be an easy feat to master, but once you do it will never leave you.

How To Learn To Draw

Being able to draw is a talent a lot of us would like to have. Many of us think that being able to draw is just a talent you are born with, when it fact most of us can learn to draw with just a little bit of time and effort. If you would like to learn how to draw, I have come up with some simple steps that I think will help you to get started. By following the steps below you should be well on your way to mastering the craft of drawing.

1. Take A Class – When it comes to learning to draw, nothing beats getting personal instructions. If you can find a class in your area, I highly suggest taking it. The instructors will be able to give you advice on how to improve your technique, and others around you will be able to assist you as well. If you don’t have the money, or can’t find, a class near you, there are online classes that you can take that will assist you. Most of these can be found for free, and can offer a wide range of helpful instructions.

2. Practice – Once you start drawing, keep going! You are not going to master this craft over night, so you have to keep up with it. When you go out, take a sketchpad and a pencil with you so that you can draw right away if you see something interesting. Or bring a camera along, and draw the pictures when you get back home. The more time you can put into learning to draw, the better you will get at it.

3. Experiment – You don’t have to be an amazing drawer the first time out. Don’t worry if what you draw looks awful. Experiment with new tools and techniques and see which you prefer. As you experiment more, you’ll gain more practice, which will help you even further.

4. Read Books – There are many books out there that can help you to learn to draw. Check out a local bookstore or the library and see if any there interest you. Books can help you to learn about techniques such as shading, texture, and reflecting. Mastering all the different areas of drawing will help you to combine them all into one great picture.

5. Show Your Work – Once you complete a drawing, show it to others. Even if you don’t think that it is that good, others may disagree. Their positive feedback will encourage you to keep going and continue drawing. And if they have any criticisms, you will know which areas of your skills that you need to work on. Don’t be afraid of feedback, as it can be one of your best tools as a new artist.

And there you have it! 5 simple tips that will help you to learn to draw. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you just start out small and keep with it, you will have developed the skill before you know it. Good luck and happy drawing!

Best Illustration Software

For any illustrator out there, having the right software can make a big difference. Without the proper tools to get the job done, your work will become harder and the quality might not be as good. To help you out, I have come up with a list of some of the best software options out there when it comes to illustrating. By using one of the programs mentioned below, you will have the right program to make your work look great.

1. Xara – This program may not be that well known, but it offers some great perks. It is fast, easy to use, and it comes at a reasonable price. Xara is available for both Windows systems and Linux systems, but those of you on a Mac will have to look elsewhere. Another bonus of this program is that it comes with a ton of different tutorials so you can easily figure out how to do amazing things with the program.

"Adobe Illustrator CS5 icon" by Metalindustrien - Metalindustrien. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 icon” by Metalindustrien – Metalindustrien. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Adobe Illustrator – Illustrator, much like its sister-program Photoshop, is one of the most used programs in the area. This is not without reason. Illustrator provides its users with a wide range of features and tools so that you can do just about anything. This biggest drawback with this program is that it can be a little expensive and hard to learn. However, since most industry professionals are using this program, it may benefit you to learn how to use it.

3. Serif Draw Plus – This program, only available on Windows, is one of the better vector-drawing programs out there. It is also one of the more popular programs, as it is usually seen on the top of a lot of lists like this one. Best of all is that you can now get a version of it for free, so you can try it out and see if you like it.

4. Inkscape – If you need a program that can be run on any operating system, Inkscape is a good one to look at. One of the major benefits of this program is that it is entirely free since it is the open-source alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator. It comes packed with a ton of features, especially when you consider the cost. I can’t recommend trying out Inkscape enough, as I am sure you will love it.

5. Microsoft Expression – Lastly, we have Microsoft Expression. It is a little different than the programs mentioned above, so it may not be able to replace your other vector-based programs. If you are looking for a way to add a unique touch to some of your designs, this program may be able to help you do that.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to choosing an illustrating software. Your best bet is to read the reviews for several of the programs mentioned above, and then decide which one that you like the best. Each program has its own features and drawbacks, and not all of them will be right for you.