Draw Write Now is a simple handwriting/drawing program. The program consists of eight books covering many topics (usually a few per book). Each ‘lesson’ includes step-by-step instructions for drawing something: an animal, vehicle, building, etc. After the drawing is finished, the student is encouraged to personalize the picture by adding color, a background or other detail. Then, the student writes four sentences about the subject they just drew. Each book costs around 15$, or you can get the box set for around 80$ (pictured above).
I love the concept of this program. It teaches the child to see shape and proportion, some of the most basic elements of drawing. Most of the lessons are pretty simple and cover subjects the child will have an interest in. Then, by adding the handwriting to the project, I feel that it blurs the line between the shapes of object and the shapes of letters. While the student is focused on size and shape, why not have them work on a few letters too? It also makes the handwriting more relevant. The handwriting becomes more than a drill, it’s a way to add to the work that the child is trying to create.
While the pictures can sometimes look childish and a bit ‘off’, I think it serves the series, rather than detracting. Keeping things simple is best for encouraging young artists. If the cow looks a bit blocky, that’s okay – the fine tuning will come later.
So far I have not seen my oldest become an artist with this program, but I feel it will pay off in the long run. He looks forward to his drawing lessons, and usually opens up the creative floodgates. His picture of an owl becomes an aerial battle between the lord of the owls and the king of the dragons. So the paragraph about the owl being nocturnal and hunting rodents has nothing to do with the picture he’s drawn, but he has a blast. Maybe in time I will not need so much explanation about what’s going on to figure out what he’s drawn.
While I would never use this as a primary handwriting instruction program, I think it works very well as what it is: a way to fine tune motor skills, a way to teach basic drawing principles, more handwriting practice, and a fun way to spend 20 minutes.
Pros: Fun, develops shape and proportion skills, sneaky handwriting practice
Cons: Can be costly, targeted toward younger students only