Wendy Mac’s Instagram classes teach kids how to draw during quarantine

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A girl shows off a drawing she learned to do via Wendy MacNaughton’s #DrawTogether class. Photo courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton.

One of the toughest things facing parents during the coronavirus shutdown is keeping kids occupied for hours on end inside the house. Wendy MacNaughton’s Instagram is helping keep them entertained and inspired. 

Wendy Mac, as she’s known, is a social worker turned graphic journalist and illustrator. She's done “drawn journalism” (stories in pictures) for The New York Times and has published a dozen books, including “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.” She's pledged to host a drawing class every week day through the end of the school year from her home in San Francisco.

“My wife Caroline and I were talking to my mom, and she [mom] suggested that drawing lessons would be a great way that we could help out. … It helps us pay attention to things that we otherwise overlook … even just the simple act of drawing and paying attention to how a bird's nest is built, and the kinds of things a bird might collect,” MacNaughton says. “A whole story can reveal itself there.” 

Not every family can readily access art materials, so MacNaughton has launched #DrawTogether, a nonprofit that provides drawing supplies to kids. 

A boy learned how to draw a rainbow thanks to Wendy MacNaughton’s #DrawTogether class. Photo courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton.

She says that drawing helps children cope with the disruption the coronavirus has created in their day-to-day lives. 

“Draw Together class has created an opportunity for them to slow down, kind of be in their bodies and use their hands and create something. And in our harried, busy, productivity-focused world, we don't always create space for ourselves in our homes like that. I think a lot of families are finding it really beneficial. A lot of kids are. I hope that we can continue this on after quarantine,” MacNaughton says. 

She thinks that online classes like hers could facilitate more arts education for children. “If we can get art supplies into kids’ homes, and we can also get the classes in there and create a supportive, exciting, fun place for them to draw, I'm excited about how this could maybe grow.” 

A boy shows off a drawing he learned to do via Wendy MacNaughton’s #DrawTogether class. Photo courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton. 
Girls hold signs that together say, “Everything is better when we draw together.” Photo courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton.

Credits

Host:

Larry Perel

Producer:

Cerise Castle