Mentoring a 10 year old

So…My cousin’s 10 year old son has shown great interest in art. Unfortunately he is in NC and I am in NJ but is looking to me for mentoring on sketching and drawing. The issue I am having is that his school has drastically reduce their art program. The kid is extremely talented and I want to do my best to build his skills. He has great interest at the moment in cartoon characters which crazy to say, was my path up until college. I have sent him videos on how to draw and build a character out of basic shapes. I’m running into the issue that because he has no hands on art teacher he is having problems understand basic things like construction lines, shading and perspective. Although he has natural talent and has start to do some of this on his own, I feel like I need to teach him the basics to get him going down the right path but don’t know how to do that remote

The question I have for you guys is how do I do this 500 miles away?! The kid has quite a bit of talent and I do not want to see this get lost in a school system that has a narrow focus on creative studies. His parents have looked for art classes outside of school, but of course this cost money and time which with other out of school activities makes it challenging. I really want to inspire this kid and propel him to be the most creative kid he can be. The problem I am having is that I keep going back to my ID basics (drawing from the shoulder, quick and move on, and sketch sketch sketch). Is this correct?

I gave him some cartoon and illustration books to show him how characters are created. I have told him that characters are built through basic shapes like circles and ovals and the built upon from there. I have told him to draw from his shoulder loosen up, draw light, etc… The issue is to a 10 year old this is a bit hard to grasp without someone sitting with you.

Any help you can give would be great. I will post some of his art but I want to make sure it is ok with his mom and dad.


I think I had 1 art class between 10 years old and 17 years old. He’ll be fine.

The biggest thing is time to practice. Second is inspiration/competition. I hope he has some friends that he shares his drawings with on a daily basis. I remember my friends and I would constantly try to outdo each other. It made us all better. If he doesn’t have that, maybe that is where you could help. Do some cartoons that are just a notch above his ability. Enough to inspire, but not discourage.

Maybe you guys should Skype as a weekly lesson?

I’ve been mentoring my cousin who showed a natural aptitude for art since he was 4. Bought him a new sketchbook moleskine for his birthday every year since. I try to stimulate by just keeping the encouragement flowing to draw. At this age you don’t have to worry about the fundamentals and skills. If he can love drawing, that’s enough. Have him draw different things. From different views (from an ants view, from a birds view, etc.). Expose him to different media and different styles. Let him see and do. That’s the best kind of mentoring you can do.

It shouldn’t be work or practice but fun. There’s plenty of time to learn naturally. His own brain with your encouragement is the best mentor there is.

You should enjoy it too! Don’t take it too seriously or look at like a job.


Ps. Unfortunately my cousin no longer draws as much. But I’m not worried as he’s the kinda kid who can do anything when he grows up. He’s into science, music, reading, etc. I’m just happy I planted a seed of creativity and still draw with him when I can. He’s 11 now. He was drawing in perspective with no lessons when he was 8.

Thanks guys.

R - Thats kind of how it started with me. He showed interest, and his parents asked if I knew anywhere for him to take art classes. I didn’t because we live in different states, but I sent him some books that I used to draw out of at his age. He then kept sending me pictures of his drawing and then we started chatting. I love it!! Its nice to have fun with it!!

I keep think about Michael’s quote about wanting to draw things from the future. I think I may ask him to draw me something from the future.


A really simple video series would be great. Youtube it and send him the link.

If you think it’s good, post it on here.

I love Spencer Nugents vids on youtube. Maybe send him links to a few of those.