Take a gander around your home or studio. I bet you have some great objects sitting on your shelves. Well, grab them and your sketchbook because today we’re making art with everyday objects.
Let’s create fun, whimsical artwork by combining two-dimensional drawings with three-dimensional toys, sculptures, and more!
Be prepared to let your imagination run wild. I’d recommend finding an object that’s not too big and not too small. Something that already has some personality to it. After all, we’re essentially going to turn this thing into the subject of a story. I’ve picked a small vinyl toy of a child who sits on the ground. But, even as something as simple as pencil, Stapler, or paperclip will work.
There’s not a ton of prep work when it comes to this exercise. Use drawing tools that you’re comfortable with and paper that you like. If you want to use markers, pens, pencils or even paint, go ahead! There’s a lot of freedom in this exercise.
Before you begin sketching, take the time to consider the following:
Is your object the subject, or the drawing the subject?
I’ve decided to make my toy the subject of a few drawings, meaning that I’ll use the same object and place it in different imagined situations.
But, you don’t have to do it that way! You can always pick multiple objects and create a 2-D character who interacts with each of them in their own special ways. (We’ll see examples of this later).
What’s your object’s story?
Even if you don’t write it down, you could come up with a short back story about your object. This will help you flesh out the drawing and make it more interesting. For my little kid, I imagined that they were around six years old. Then, I thought about all the things they’d probably like to do (and things I liked to do when I was that age). It was best if they were all “sitting” activities since my character has legs out in front of her.
Without words, you still get an idea of what my character is doing and where they are. I added an environment that provides context clues for the viewer. That’s what you’ll want to do: make an image that’s clear enough so people understand it quickly.
I had a lot of fun drawing these scenes, but feel free to get as wacky as you like with your drawings. Imagine how hilarious they can be by using everyday objects in unexpected ways!
Another exercise example
Bangladesh-based illustrators (and twin brothers!) Manik n Ratan enjoy spending their free time doodling. Here, delightful dragons, children and even robots interact with a ton of different things. A USB drive becomes a jetpack, a LEGO toy becomes an operational vehicle and stapler is a four-legged menace! They post one doodle a day to their popular Instagram account.
Here are some of the creative pieces they’ve shared with us:
Photos via Manik n Ratan
Based on the drawings, you can tell that they gave some careful thought to how their two-dimensional character is affected by the objects that they use. Manik n Ratan have even thought about how squishy things are — check out that pencil indentation!